Christmas time is supposed to be a holiday filled with spirit and good cheer but this year in particular, many families may be feeling less enthusiastic about the holiday season. With the economy so unsteady and with many families losing jobs and having lesser incomes with more expenses, the Christmas season may seem more filled with frustration and worry than with cheer.
Here are some valuable tips for making it a great holiday without the expense:
Start shopping early so you are not hit with a lump sum expense closer to the holidays. Many stores are putting out Christmas stock much earlier than usual to aid those living on a budget. Spread out spending and reduce the amount of impulse or desperation purchases of last minute shopping.
Go With the Handmade Decorations
Who doesn’t love a sparkling Christmas tree, filled with twinkle lights and decorations full of past memories? There is no need to go out and spend a fortune on a ton of decorations and it is a perfect time to start new family traditions. Christmas is a great time to create your family history. Start constructing your own decorations from common household items. You and your children can make homemade clay which can be painted and decorated and notated with the date. You can also have kids string popcorn or make homemade garland with construction paper. Search the internet for free ideas and get to work, happy to spend quality time with your kids.
Remember It Is the Thought That Counts
As the nation becomes more frugal, most folks will certainly not mind toning down the gift exchange. Instead of spending hundred or thousands of dollars for gifts that may not even be useful, take the time to think about that person and the things they like. Don’t feel obligated to spend $50 when a $10 gift has more meaning. Handmade gifts can be even more appreciated because of the love that has gone into the making of the gift. Food gifts are always a good idea. It should come from the heart and not the wallet. Set limits on gifts and stick to the budget.
Limit Gift Exchanges
Many work environments and organizations like to host a gift exchange for employees or group members. It can get very costly quickly. If you have been invited to participate in too many exchanges politely bow out or suggest an alternative that will save everyone money, such as a holiday potluck luncheon in the office. Many people who are afraid to speak up themselves may be happy for the suggestion and support your idea.
It Is the Quality Not the Quantity
For little kids, the more the merrier. They want to see and be able to open lots of gifts Christmas morning. But kids are more easy to appease so simple dollar gifts wrapped up is great for them, along with the pricier items. For the adults on your list, choose one quality gift that will mean something or be useful to the gift recipient, instead of shelling out more money on several lesser quality things.
Open A Christmas Club Today
Start tucking $5.00 away right now and every week until next Christmas. That $5 may not mean too much to you now but next year, when you get a check for your shopping needs, you will be thrilled! Then do it all over again. A Great way to do this is with automatic transfers from your checking account to a no-fee ING Direct savings account. I have one for Christmas savings, birthday savings and plane tickets.
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