Do you have to go broke or run up debt to enjoy the holidays? This is a tough time of year. Just when many of us are facing a stack of tax bills, we also feel obligated to run up large bills to make everybody happy with our holiday presents.
But I have found ways to curb materialism, and make people happy, by being a total cheapskate. I still give people presents, and actually reach a lot of people, but I try to do it with some thought.
Set a budget first. If you can spare $100, $300, or $3,000, it is good to have this figure in mind before you buy that first music player or sweater.
If possible, take this amount of money out of the bank in cash. Spending cash is a much better way to really feel yourself spending money than sliding a plastic debit or credit card is. You can always count the money to see how much you have left.
If you can’t take out the cash, make sure you keep records of how much you are spending. Keep a memo pad on you so you can record each purchase.
Gift exchages are a great way to have fun, make everybody happy, and spend less money. If you have a big holiday party, like we do, try to get everybody to agree to bring one wrapped gift with a set maximum price. You may want to slip in a couple of extra children’s gifts for kids who will be too young to understand how this works.
Then have everybody take a number and choose their gift. All guests who brought a gift are free to exchange it with anybody who is willing.
That way Aunt Sally can trade a silk tie for a spice rack if Uncle Bob will agree. Cousin Sally can trade men’s cologne with Cousin Todd who picked up a famile manicure set.
This is a fun and engaging party activity, and it allows everybody to go home with something. And most of the time, the adults are happy because the party did not break their budget!
Again, you may want to set aside gifts for younger kids who will not realy enjoy this type of exchange. But younger kids are usually content with less expensive gifts anyway.
You can also make gifts!
You can buy some holiday plates at the dollar store. Make holiday candy or cookies. Arrange them on the plate, and then cover it with colored plastic wrap and a bow. You will be able to provide thoughtful gifts for everybody at work or the soccer team without depleting your budget.
Most of the time, people are just happy to be thought of. If you don’t want to make food, you can also come up with some simple gift baskets or bags.
Come up with a theme like movie night. Include popcorn, a video rental gift certificate, and a box of candy. You should be able to produce this for about $5, and it makes a thoughtful gift.
Another theme might be coffee, and that bag could include a small bag of nice coffee, a mug, and a box of cookies. Again, you can do this on the cheap!
Holiday Gift Giving Should Not Drive you to Debt. Just engage your brain, and you can come up with some clever ways to please your family and friends while sticking ot a budget.
Source by Marilyn Katz