Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate this time of year, shelling out serious cash is somewhat a given, or is it? As a population, the United States is not out of the recession, and spending big bucks is still out of the question. So how can it be avoided? What pro-active steps can you take to cut spending, enjoy your holiday’s and not go into cardiac arrest when you open the credit card bills in January?
Here we go…grab a pencil and just like Santa, we are going to make a list, check it twice, and make a little extra just in case we forgot someone.
For your IMMEDIATE family, spouse, kids, and relatives LIVING IN YOUR HOME get more attention and better stuff. Sorry, that is just the way it is. With Excel, or a sheet of paper in a planner, or on your phone, first make a list of the people. The next step is obvious, but overlooked almost every year, set a FIRM budget. No, not a “Well, I can fudge the number if X goes on sale on Black Friday.” Firm means what you will spend based on current prices. If you can get it cheaper on Black Friday, well, fantastic save that money, don’t get more stuff just for more stuff sake.
Next list your siblings, and parents. Again, set a budget, and create a list based on what you can afford, not what you want to get. The third tier of gift recipients are for aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews, and grandparents. Close relationship and close proximatey should be the gauge on the gift price. I recommend coffee for those that live far away as it will ship nicely; (http://www.nectaroflife.com has a sample pack that includes shipping for only $12.00!). A great inexpensive choice for the female relatives are scarves (T.J. Maxx has a great selection), live plants (try http://www.gurneys.com for a gift that will last and provide food like berries, flowers and more!), or chocolate. Most men will like things like BBQ tools, fishing supplies (there is a great portable and small fishing rod at Big 5 that would make a great choice!), other idea’s include a gift certificate for $10-$50.00 for family gifts to a resturant they frequent, dry-cleaning, or spa’s. Teenagers are actually very easy to please, with a gift card for music, or a subscription to Game-Fly, Netflix, or Magazines.com, you can give them something that won’t generate an eye-roll.
Again, budget, and stick with the numbers even if you find a great deal.
Next, with the list of people in place, figure out who you can give home-made gifts to. Things like a basket of baked goods can go to neigbors, a stack of 6 homemade cards can go to sisters, or friends, knit items like hats and scarfs can go to kids, and co-workers. There is no reason to spend money if you can make something. Home-canned goods, and layered cakes/cookies in a jar can go to just about anyone.
For those that have everything, consider making a donation in their honor to an organization that is doing something awesome. I highly recommend World Vision, and CRS. Many have gifts that will provide food, shelter, water, and other basic necessities in the most impoverished regions of the world.
Do not be afraid to use the clearance rack items, like t’shirts, picture frames, and candles to fill in gaps. Peel off the discount sticker and wrap the item with beautiful wrap, no one is going to know the difference. I recommend the selection at Kohls because the products are always in great condition, the clearance is well-organized, and the return policy is stellar!
Between now and Christmas, I will be posting my great finds on our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Couponingclass/215809338450200 so check there often to find adorable gift ideas for BELOW budget prices.