Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly Holiday Season

12 Days of Christmas: Day 4

  1. Don't wait until the holiday season to start buying. I am normally 90% done with my Christmas shopping, if not more, by October.  I buy things when I find them at a good deal throughout the year or when people mention little things that they would like to have. It's not such a huge chunk of spending all at once, and you get more meaningful gifts this way. Plus, keep in mind that things may be out of season - if you are buying for someone who lives in FL for instance, those hats and earmuffs that go on sale on Black Friday aren't really appropriate gifts, and you can't find beach towels and swimsuits in December in most places.
  2. Host a gift exchange instead of buying gifts for every person. Most people in your family will be all for this...less headache and fun exchanging. Plus, you have more time to spend picking out the one special gift for one person instead of checking items off a huge list in a hurry to get done.
  3. Oh, just go ahead and have the holiday party!  The best part of the holidays is spending time with the people that we love...so host your party! But to avoid going breaking the bank, and more importantly, to take stress off of you at the busiest time of the year, ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday dish, or a bottle of wine for tasting!
  4. Pay in cash.  Resist the urge to pull out your credit card and pay it off later. Think of it as a Christmas present to yourself...no bills to pay in January. It's not worth it...a gift does not have to be expensive to be heartfelt.
  5. Get creative.  Handmade gifts are always heartfelt, and they don't necessarily have to be time consuming. (Remember, you're talking to a full time wife, employee, and law student here...I get it, time is precious.)  For example, instead of spending $25 on each member of a family of 5, or buying a $50 gift card to Outback, put together something they can do as a family like a movie night basket or game night basket. Throw in some popcorn, candy, and movies from the $5 bin at Wal-mart! (There are some cool movies in there normally! Give it a shot!) Or, pick up a $10 board game, snacks, and hot cocoa. The ideas are endless...just think about the family that you're giving it to and what they might like to do together. You can do this for $20 or less if you have to...the Dollar Tree is a great option for the basket and fillers.  (Disclaimer: If the family you are buying for really likes Outback, then by all means get the gift card...just know it's not your only option :)  )

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