people call it being "frugal" others "cheap" and for some,
"Being Smart". No matter how you look at it, Christmas should be a
time of Good Cheer, not a depressing budget buster. Here are some tips that you
can use in order for you to have a great holiday!
first thing to remember is "Your attitude"! Focus
on the true meaning of Christmas, attitudes are contagious, if you are positive
so will others. If you are a competitive type of person, look at the season as a
competition, just how much can you save? Then use your winnings (savings) for
something important like something special you wouldn't normally buy, or pay off
an old bill.
an inventory. Sit
down with a notepad and write down what you need to accomplish and what have to
work with, what skills do you have, what do you have around the house to work
with? How much can you really afford to spend? Homemade gifts are NOT considered
being cheap. It's a way of letting a person know they are worth one of your most
valuable comities, "Your Time". A homemade gift is a gift from
are some ideas to get you started:
Skills - basic sewing,
crafts, baking, write poems
Home stuff - old clothing
or fabric scraps that can be made in to decorations, stuffed toys... Odd
cups make neat candles, broken or chipped dishes for mosaics.
Outside - Fall leaves,
Friends - a great source
for learning new crafts, or to barter with
traditions that don't cost a lot. Family
night making decorations is much cheaper than shopping for them. Have
"pot-luck" dinner party for friends, in place of a formal sit down
on price limits.
a list of everyone, and how much you want to spend.
or make one nice gift for a family, which every one will enjoy.
something for co-workers, or have a pot-luck with an ornament exchange.
forget about size & weight for gifts that must be shipped
gifts dropped shipped. Most
online, catalog, TV shopping companies offer this, also some larger department
stores. This saves you the cost of shipping the item twice, as well as time.
taking someone, take only what cash you will need. No checks, AMT card, or
before you shop. Cuts
down on that chance of buying all those great looking snacks.
the store doesn't offer free wrapping, ask
for a box (if needed) and wrap it yourself.
emergency gifts on hand. For
those folks who decided to surprise you with a gift, you didn't expect, and for
hostess gifts. These can be from a wide ranged of items, from bottle of domestic
wine, to handmade Christmas decorations. A nice one is to keep some sugar cookie
or gingerbread dough in the freezer and a decorated box. With only a few hours
notice you can have fresh holiday cookies.
Choose which credit card
you want to use.
Place all others in a
zip-lock freezer bag.
Place the bag in a bowl
Place bowl in freezer.
Thaw in February.
store offering a free gift and discount for applying for a credit card.
Go for it, take the gift,
charge one gift.
When the bill comes in,
immediately pay them.
Either cut or freeze
stuffers can be handled two ways:
Set aside how much you want to spend and buy in one trip.
Start in the summer, buy an item
here and there and put in the stash box.
Portraits are very traditional and nice gifts. However can be very stressful,
here are a few tips to ensure you get a portrait fit for giving.
Use a real studio,
especially if you have children. Portable ones may save a couple of dollars, but
there is a BIG trade off. Long lines make for cranky kids. Also many use poor
quality supplies, there is nothing worse than a couple of years down the road
seeing you portrait fade. Also many of these companies don't hire trained
If your family includes a
young child, set the appointment during your child's best time of day. Hungry
and/or tired kids spell disaster.
If you don't feel
conformable with the photographer, request a different one. After all they are
humans, and not every photographer will "click" with every customer.
If the portrait is only
of your child, bring a favorite toy from home. This adds a personal touch, and
much more personal than the studio's toys. Also if they are wearing clothing
with a print, choose a solid background, or vice versa.
For family portraits, try
to make sure everyone is dressed in the same color. Also avoid loud prints.
If you family has more
than 4 people, let the studio know when you make the appointment. Most are set
up for 4 and under, and may have to arrange things for a larger group.
If your studio has a
digital monitor reject the photos that are not perfect. The camera picks up more
than the monitor actually shows.
the cost over the year.
Buy Christmas wrapping
paper, and craft supplies the day after Christmas.
For people you know you
will need to buy for next year, keep an eye out for out of season sales. January
is a great time for buying sweaters, coats, mittens, and other winter gifts.
Keep an eye out for
stores going out of business or moving. Warning watch out for electronics or
other items that the warranty is important. Since many of these start the day of
Hit spring and summer
rummage and garage sales. Many times you will find great bargains for arts and
crafts ideas, as well as Christmas decorations. To put you in the mood place a
Christmas CD in the car, after all what could be more cooling than "White
Christmas" on a 100o day?