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Saving Money During the Holidays

Holiday costs have a funny way of adding up very quickly. You may tell yourself that you’re not going to spend too much this year, but once you get past the gifts, the wrapping paper, cards, decorations, and all those other things, you’ll find that you’ve spent much more than you expected to. If you stop and think about it, there are many ways you can scale back your holiday costs.

Buy for fewer people. It’s nice to give gifts – even small ones – to as many people as you can, but it can get expensive. Even worse, there may be people on your gift list who really don’t appreciate receiving gifts. So why not go through the list of people you buy for and see if there are any names you can remove – or people who would be happier to get something like baked goods?

Give to charity. Another way you can simplify giving is to make a gift to a special charity or cause in the name of your friends and family. That way, your gift will help those in need, and you won’t spend hours and hours shopping.

Costly cards? Many people use Christmas cards as a way to keep in touch once a year, but as your Christmas list and postage costs climb, that can get expensive. If you want to mail something, why not send a holiday letter? Or consider sending postcards, which can be mailed for less money and may also give you the opportunity to write a short note.

Host a party. Instead of giving gifts to all your friends, invite them over for an informal get-together. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. You can sing Christmas carols or watch a favorite movie while sharing popcorn and cookies. You’ll find that the gift of time together probably means more to them than something wrapped.

Do favors. If you can’t really afford to give gifts, do something special to help your friends out. Help them clean house. Surprise them with a casserole or a cake. Seniors especially appreciate help with bigger household chores or being given rides to the store.

Budget wraps. Speaking of wrapping, why spend a fortune on pretty wrapping paper that will be shredded and discarded? You’ll find that old grocery bags, Sunday newspaper comics, and discarded magazines can provide creative materials for gift wraps that stand out.



Posted: 11/8/2011 with 1 comments

Categories: Budgeting, Finances, Saving, Spending



Comments
Elen Sia
During the first few years of our marriage, my husband I learned very quickly that when you do Christmas shopping at the last minute, the tendency to overspend is VERY high.

We got really tired of welcoming a new year with credit card debt, so two years ago I decided Christmas shopping would have to be done months earlier. It's worked out well for us. We also have a tab in our accounts spreadsheet that's named "Christmas". I keep track of each item bought for each individual, and stay with a monthly budget. Shopping stays under control when you buy ONE gift for ONE individual, and keep to a maximum number of people and budget each month.

We started Christmas shopping in September this year and have already completed everything. Another helpful tip: if you like shopping online, try to buy everything from one website alone. Many websites offer free shipping with a minimum purchase.
11/15/2011 at 9:40 AM

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