Some people call it being "frugal" others "cheap",
I call it, "Being Smart". No matter how you look at it, Christmas should
be a time of Good Cheer, not a depressing budget buster.
The 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.
Do 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 the heart.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Establish 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 dinner.
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, pine cones...
Friends - a great source for learning new crafts, or to barter
Agree on price limits.
Make a list of everyone, and
how much you want to spend.
Buy or make one nice gift for
a family, that every one will enjoy.
something for co-workers, or have a pot luck with an ornament exchange.
Don't forget about size &
weight for gifts that must be shipped
Have gifts dropped shipped.Most
online, catalog, TV shopping (QVC & HomeShopping) companies offer this,
also some larger department stores. This saves you the cost of shipping
the item twice, as well as time.
Shop alone. If
taking someone take only what cash you will need. No checks, AMT card,
or credit cards.
Eat before you shop. Cuts
down on that chance of buying all those great looking snacks.
If the store doesn't offer free
wrapping, ask for a box (if needed) and
wrap it yourself.
Keep emergency gifts on hand.
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 of water.
Place bowl in freezer.
Thaw in February.
Department store offering
a free gift and discount for applying for a credit card.
Go for it, take the gift, charge one gift.
Immediately write a check for the amount.
When the bill comes in rip out the check and mail it.
Either cut or freeze card.
Stocking stuffers can be
handled two ways.
1. Set aside how much you want to spend and buy in one trip.
2. Start in the summer, buy an item here and there and put
in the stash box.
Buy the right size! It may
be on close out, and a great deal, but only if the person can wear it.
If the person lives in the house, (your wife) look at
the tags in her clothing. Check jackets, sweaters, skirt, and paints. WRITE
this information down.
Women's Suits and Dresses
Christmas 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 photographers.
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 family, 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.
Spread the cost over the
Buy Christmas wrapping paper, and craft supplies the day
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 purchase.
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
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