Plan For An Affordable, Creative Holiday
Amy Hannold, 247Moms Frugal Living Editor
Here are a few “Survival Tactics” and “Creativity Inspirers”
Coordinate Your Calendars:
Sit down now with your family to pencil in both a budget and a calendar of events. “Pen-In” some “Family Dates” to enjoy family traditions and the creation of homemade gifts.
Prepare to Prepare:
With your coordinated calendar, make a separate list of “meals”, “gifts” and “to-do’s” which correspond to each date. Search your home inventories for gifts you may already purchased. Find sales on the supplies you need. Planning avoids last-minute spending emergencies.
Store-specific credit cards usually have the highest interest rate and the most damaging to your credit score. Refuse offers of extra discounts or free gifts to open department store credit lines. What you gain in the short term, for that “discount or gift” is minuscule compared to what you’ll pay for that limited credit later. Don’t consider your credit card limits to be your limits.
Giving Gifts Which Are “Outside the Box”
Even if you’re not creatively talented, you can customize theme gift baskets. Think of the gift recipients. What do they like, need or would enjoy as little luxury?
Coupons for Your Time and Talents:
Give of yourself to someone in the coming year. Offer to babysit, shop for, treat to lunch, help or assist them with a home project.
Emergency Preparedness Tools and Other Necessities:
Students need a replenishing of school supplies and everyone can use something that will help them in an emergency. Flashlights, batteries, car blankets, first aid kits, plastic storage boxes and other items make great, affordable gifts. Practical gifts created from items households commonly run out of (markers, tape, safety pins, school lunch supplies, scissors, an extra hammer, etc) – put together in a functional container (bucket, shelf organizer, tool box, basket, or storage bags.
Give a gift that delights all year. Bestdealmagazines.com, Tanga.com and amazon.com offer frequent promotions/discounts for magazine subscriptions. Buy a current issue of the magazine or include a card announcing the magazine gift.
Your local radio/television station may offer “Half-Price” gift certificate promotions for spas, accommodations, services, and dining. An Entertainment Book makes a great gift (Entertainment.com) or consider tickets/memberships to local attractions or theatres. Support the arts and give “Experience” gifts!
Walmart, Walgreens and a number of online photo companies can help you create affordable photo books/gifts and calendars. Search your attics (or the attic of a loved one) for photos that would enjoy a new life on display. Retailmenot.com CouponChief.com are two sources of discount codes. Begin your internet shopping with “Swagbucks” search engine (to earn more gift cards). Utilize Ebates/FatWallet/Upromise/Cashbaq to earn rebates from your online purchases.