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The holidays aren’t always the magical time that greeting card companies would have us believe; for those struggling financially it can be a season of increased stress, anxiety and penny-pinching. If you’re in this category, you’re certainly not alone. Plenty of people get through the holidays on a budget with careful planning and a few money saving tips, so don’t fear.
- Set your budget
The first step to your frugal holiday season is budgeting. Having no set limits can lead quickly to debt and panic in the new year, so make a list of what you’ll need to spend and work out what you can afford. Remember to include things outside of the obvious present expenses, like travel and food, and set aside particular amounts for particular people’s gifts. If you find that your list of gift recipients is far exceeding your budget limits, consider cutting back on the number of people on your list. While it’s of course important to remember family and close friends, you can probably send many of those people a card, and make up for it another year when your budget is less tight.
- Think outside the box
Gift shopping doesn’t have to involve last second impulse buys in department stores; that’s where the costs will really add up. Start looking ahead of time for deals and sales online for your presents, and save money where you can. If you have siblings, consider going in on a group gift for parents or other family members to help cut costs for everyone.
- Get creative
Often, the more heartfelt gift isn’t the one that has thinned your wallet out. Utilize some of your personal skills: homemade food, craft projects and knitted scarves may all be more appreciated than overpriced store buys, and will have a more personal touch. When it comes to your holiday cards, get the family together to make your own personalized greeting cards to send out to family and friends; this can be a great bonding activity for you and your kids, and will save you money.