Monday, December 6, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Chri$tmas...

Christmas is NOT a frugal time of the year and you don't need this BLOG to tell you that...but it can be done in moderation.

10 ways to keep the season under control

1) Exchange ornaments ONLY with adult members of your family (we give kids who have graduated from college on up a special ornament to commemorate some "event" that occurred during the year.
for example:
in 2001 to commemorate 9-11 we gave Fireman ornaments, USA Flag and eagle ornaments
For graduations, weddings and births we give commemorative dated ornaments
This is fun and spreads the expense out across the year as we purchase from where we vacation, visit or travel through

2) Create a budget and stick to it!

3) Limit stocking stuffers to items you purchase at the dollar store (this really works and can be done all year long)

4) Stockpile you gifts in one location so you don't lose it and have to replace it on Christmas ever.

5) Keep a spreadsheet of gifts: I include the recipients name, the gift (or gift idea) and the cost.
The spreadsheet tallys the sum of all the money spent and is easily printed when shopping must be done to assure I don't purchase another gift for Aunt Betty when when is already stored under the bed.

6) Be creative and give a hand crafted gift. Do you knit, sew, bake, garden? Put your talents to use and create a one of a kind gift!

7) Cut down your list (WARNING--This needs to be done early in the year so feeling are not hurt) If your finances dictate you need to cut back, gently explain to your family and friends. They will understand, trust me! They want you to be financially healthy and are delighted to be a partner with you in this. They have probably wanted to do the same thing and have not had an idea of how to proceed--so you are doing them a favor too!

8) Save a small stipend each pay day of the year. I put aside $25 each payday in an envelope. That way I always have CASH to spend throughout the year when I find the perfect gift. $25 saved each of my 26 pay periods results in $650 for Christmas!

9) Give gifts that require your time not your money (rake the yard, clean the gutters, wash windows, read to an elderly aunt, prepare a meal once a month and eat with the recipient, take walks together...etc)

10) Write a letter to those that mean the most you you. A heartfelt letter will be their most treasured gift! Try it and see for yourself!

Consider only giving gifts to the BIRTHDAY BOY, Jesus...Give to the charity of your choice, in service hours. After all, Christmas is the ONLY Birthday party where EVERYONE but the Birthday boy gets a gift! Remember the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas and enjoy it more!

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