Saving money during the holidays

Money saving gift tips during the expensive holiday season.

Now is the time to plan for Christmas and the giving that comes with it. Here are some tips from Michigan State University Extension for keeping the joy in, while keeping the cost out!

  • Make gifts using inexpensive materials and skills you possess such as sewing or baking. There are many recipes for things besides food items, like baking tree ornaments, sewing a hot pad or knitting a dish rag that take little time.
  • Consider giving gifts of your time and/or services instead of gifts that cost money. A coupon good for babysitting would be a great gift for a young family – coupons for housework or even backrubs are greatly appreciated.
  • Talk with friends and family about not exchanging gifts or about drawing names so you give fewer gifts. It might not be just you who is feeling the money pinch and they may love this idea.
  • Set an affordable spending limit for your holiday gift giving and stick to it.
  • Think twice before buying a gift with credit. Ask yourself if you can really afford it. It’s very easy to overspend when using plastic. If you won’t have the money to pay for it in January, don’t buy it – the interest you pay then makes the gift much more expensive.
  • If you qualify, take advantage of programs like Holiday Food Baskets or Toys for Tots.
  • Avoid expensive wrapping paper by using the Sunday comics to wrap your gifts. Foil and/or plastic wrap can be used to dress up the package. Gift tags can be made by cutting up old cards; making them can bring a one-of-a-kind creation.

Try to remember that the best memories come from spending time together, not the gifts that are given. Many millions are spent on marketing, hoping you will buy more than what you need; but if you can remember what you have in your budget, you can have a Merry Christmas and a less-stressed January.

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