• Giving from the heart and spending smartly


    SUDDENLY it’s 17 days before Christmas and you’re not yet done checking your gift list. To avoid overspending due to rush shopping, here are ways to keep your gifts worthy and save money for the holidays.

    Make a holiday spending planner and stick to it. This will help you stay on budget and track spending over the holidays. This can also help you decide what to give to your loved ones next holiday season.

    Next year, shop early and often. In 2017, buy gifts throughout the year, specially during the sale season. This way, you’ll enjoy the holidays better.

    Your services can be your best gift. If you can’t decide what to give or you have limited budget, you can offer your services like babysitting, cleaning the room or walking the dog.

    Introduce the concept of potluck. Avoid spending too much money in hosting the party just to please everybody. Make a list of dish categories and ask people who will attend the gathering to bring a particular dish. That way, you can relax and truly enjoy the gathering.

    Do your own gift wrapping and use your creativity. It does not have to be perfect. What really matters is that you remember your loved ones on this very special occasion.

    Do group gifting. Group gifting is perfect for members of the family or your close friends because you know them very well. There are times when it is better to receive one expensive gift you need than multiple expensive gifts that you don’t really need. Convince two or three persons to join you in getting a group gift.

    Online shopping is the best alternative. There are so many online deals available in the Internet. Check them first before heading to the stores. Many malls are now into online shopping these days and you can buy them at lower prices plus more selection.

    Focus on giving quality time. First and foremost, holidays are about spending time with the ones we love. Take a friend out for coffee or lunch and catch up with them. Reach out to family you have not seen in a while and invite them over lunch or dinner.

    Avoid spending a lot of money on Christmas cards. Buying an individual card for everyone can be expensive. Buy cards in bulk or just send an e-card or just make your own card.

    Manage your gift to your loved ones. Discuss with friends and family your holiday plans for gift giving, travel and other activities for the holidays.

    Save on travel expenses. Going home for the holidays may require a plane ticket or bus fare. These costs can be lower by doing the following: booking your travel at least three months in advance; booking with long layovers or connecting routes but be sure to bring a book that you can read while waiting; and show ID for discounts. Some companies offer discounts to students and seniors when travelling.

    Create your gift. Consider making a gift that has meaning and sentimental value. Examples: photo and video slideshow, scrapbook, decorate a wooden box or other object for them to store items.

    Make unique tree decorations. If you have young kids, this can be an enjoyable activity for them. Print images online of tree ornaments, have them color the ornaments, add stickers, glitter and other confetti, hole punch the top of the ornament and hang it on the tree.

    Make use of old wrappers. Reuse gift bags, bows and even wrapping paper. These expenses might seem small, but they can quickly add up as your gift giving lists grows.

    Learn to shop using your cold cash. Shopping with cash will keep from going over budget.

    Share your gifts to those who need it most. If you received an unopened gift that you think someone else can get a better use of, you may want to consider re-gifting. Just be sure to avoid re-gifting to the same circle of friends.

    When eating in the restaurant, choose buffet menu. Some people may decide to eat at a restaurant during the holidays and avoid the cooking and cleaning all together. If so, opt for the buffet menu and avoid leaving with a hefty and unexpected bill at the end of the night.

    Decorate three to four focal points in your home. Decorating the home for the holidays can get expensive. Minimize the cost by focusing on a few areas in the home. Some great places to decorate include the front door, sala, dining room area, and stairway.

    Choose inexpensive holiday activities with the family. Videoke singing, caroling and game night are great and inexpensive ways to spend the evening with the ones you care about.

    Volunteer your time with the community. Decide as a group to volunteer your time for a cause you believe in. This is a great way to save money, give back to the community and feel good.

    Set a price limit on gift giving. Decide in advance the maximum amount of money you will spend on gifts this year. Then decide how you will spend this money betwen the people on your list.

    Modify gift giving for people on your list. If you can’t buy gifts for everyone on your list this year, then make a note of it and plan to buy gifts for those people next year.

    Chill, spend wisely and have fun.


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