Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saving Series: Celebrating Christmas on budget Tip #2 Decrease your expenses

Saving Series: Celebrating Christmas on budget Tip #2 Decrease your expenses

Now that you have a budget, its time to add it all up and realistically look at the number. Is this something you can afford? Will setting aside a set amount for the next 6 months make your budget do able? If the numbers for your budget scare you- there are two things you can do to get everything in line-decrease your expenses or increase your holiday income. Start NOW so the numbers work in December.

Today, I'll be sharing tips on decreasing your holiday expenses.

Every family is different, but I think we can all agree that extravagant spending doesn’t make the holidays any more special. How much you’ll spend has nothing to do with how much fun your season will be, and the amount you spend on gifts certainly has nothing to do with how much you love the gifts’ recipient.

Stay on budget- If you set aside X amount for someone, STICK TO IT. During the holidays its easy to get roped into sales. If something is a "good deal" but puts you over budget, then its not a good deal after all.

Cut down on who you are purchasing gifts for- Why not draw names in your family and purchase one gift instead of a gift for everyone? This cuts down on who you need to buy for.

Take advantage of sales all year- Waiting until the December puts the pressure on and doesn't give you time to compare prices. Shop year round for the best discounts and use coupons, rebates, etc to sweeten the deal. Clearance racks and end of season sales provide great discounts. It may be summer here, but you can find 75-90% off on winter clothing RIGHT NOW on a variety of online store. JC Penney has a bunch of infant and toddler Christmas dresses and suits for $10 each-a sweet deal-as well as adult and children winter clothing.

Keep your eye out for coupons, discounts and rebates-Every little bit helps.

Make your own gifts- Gifts for teachers, Sunday School teachers, the mailman, etc can really add up. Why not make your own? Can you sew, knit, create jewelry, make candles? Why not create gifts now and have gifts checked off your list in July? Now that is SMART and thrifty.

Consider purchasing used items-Some people may squirm at this, but I think its smart. For my son's first Christmas we really wanted to get him a particular baby toy. I found the exact item on Craigslist for $10, regular price is $60. After a thorough cleaning, it looked brand new and he was none the wiser.

Cut out unnecessary items- Its nice to purchase a new wreath or ornament from time to time..but do you really need it? Fancy wrapping paper and bows just get tossed in the trash. Expensive floral centerpieces for the table are also disposable. Have a huge Christmas card list? Cut it down to only those you don't see on a regular basis.

Reuse what you already have- Take a few minutes and evaluate what you already have leftover from last year. If you have cards left over from last year-use them. No one will remember. Use decor items around your home in new and creative ways to create centerpieces.

Rethink the celebration of Christmas entirely- Instead of doing a traditional gift Christmas, why not consider a Jesus Birthday celebration instead? Get a birthday cake, exchange small gifts, play games and celebrate the birth of Christ.

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