We all know how Christmas costs can add up. There are presents for the kids and the relatives. Maybe you are wanting to give a little something to the mailman and the refuse collectors. And how about your neighbors? What if your resources aren’t keeping up with your level of Christmas cheer?
Make a Budget
Most people are too busy to think about shopping the sales for Christmas presents all year long. If you can do this, you’ve won half the battle. But, who does this? Not me.
Your second-best plan is to make a budget at Christmastime and stick to it. Sit your kids down and tell them that this year you are only able to spend a certain amount on presents for all of them. Also tell them that the economy is so bad that some children won’t get any Christmas presents at all. This isn’t intended to guilt them, but it is intended to give the kids a little bit of reality therapy. If you allot a certain amount of money for each child, say $50 or $100, everybody will be treated equally.
Don’t Use the Charge Cards
Try not to charge anything. Besides, who wants to start out the New Year in debt?. Give yourself a cash-only Christmas.
Set Up a Christmas Account
A Christmas account is nothing more than a savings account set aside for Christmas presents. In fact, this was one of the things that people used to take advantage of before credit cards became the norm.
Put something into your Christmas account from EVERY SINGLE PAYCHECK. You will be amazed at how much more fun Christmastime will be the following year, when you have money in the bank to pay cash for Christmas presents.
Take advantage of layaway. You won’t be paying interest on your gifts, and on Christmas everything will be paid for. Then you can dedicate what you used to dump into credit card payments — into your Christmas account, instead. If you do that, PLUS allot a regular payment from each paycheck, you will be way ahead of the game. Use automatic deposit straight from your paycheck. After awhile, you won’t even miss the money that you are saving.
Make Presents for Neighbors, the Mailman, Etc.
You don’t have to invest a lot of money into small gifts for your neighbors, the mailman, the trash collectors, and your children’s teachers.
Here are some nifty, money-saving ideas:
- Buy small gifts from the dollar store, such as books, picture frames, potporri, little trinket boxes, etc.
- Put each present in its own gift bag with some tissue paper.
This will only cost you a couple of dollars per gift.
- Buy soap-making supplies (glycerin, plastic molds and a couple of scents). You can also use cinnamon, oatmeal and a tiny bit of food dye in the glycerine after it has been heated in your microwave. Put your custom-made soap in a brown paper bag with tissue paper and tie the top with raffia. This will be less than $5.00 per gift.
- The dollar store also sells very pretty candles and candlesticks. Make a present of votive candles or larger candles.
These will cost you less than $3.00 each, gift bag and tissue paper included.
People will really appreciate your thoughtfulness and the time you spent on making your personalized Christmas gifts.
Christmastime is for celebrating Christ’s birth and drawing our families closer together. It does not have to be about expensive gifts. Use your imagination to spark your creativity and put together a happy holiday for those you love — without breaking the bank.
On December 26th, you’ll be very glad that you did.
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