Holidays on a Shoestring Budget

October 27, 2008 · Posted in Personal Finance 

It’s only a few more weeks before the commercials and advertisements about holiday gifts will begin. Many of you dread this time of year for the simple reason that there is never enough money to get loved ones “nice” things. The thing you have to remember is that just because the television and newspapers say there are only certain things that are “nice enough,” that is not necessarily true.

First of all, the world is so inundated with all the newest in electronic toys and gizmos, that it has forgotten just what the true spirit of the holiday season is all about. People have not always had lots of money to spend on gifts, just as the world has not always had the shiny new things it has today. It IS possible to have a perfectly wonderful holiday by going back to basics.

Of course, if you have children, they may expect the newest in video or computer games. This is possible if you begin planning many months ahead of time for the gift you will buy for them. Putting back a small amount of money each week or month may just provide enough money to buy that one special present by the end of the year. It takes some strict budgeting and discipline, but it CAN be done.

Use any talents or abilities to create gifts that come from the heart. Everyone seems to have become so competitive about who can spend the most money on the coolest presents. Don’t let yourself get caught up in that. Instead, break out the crochet hook, or sewing machine. Some of the most beautiful gifts cost only the money for supplies, and your time. If you happen to excel in baking, keep in mind that this is the time of year that people love baked goodies.

You can also give the gift of your time. Create some appropriate “coupons” to provide anything from baby sitting services, to house cleaning, to cooking some meals. These are especially appreciated by older people who may not be able to get around as much as they need to. You can offer chauffer services, or shopping for them. These mean so much when presented to the right people, and they don’t cost you anything but some of your time, and possibly some gas in your car.

Decorating can also be done from home made items. This is something the entire family can become a part of. Things such as popcorn strings for the tree, and hand made ornaments will not only save money, but provide for family togetherness, which is after all, the true spirit of the holidays.


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