We may or may not be in a recession, but every year things get tight during holidays. Here are some tips for more careful spending through the holidays.
1. Plan early. Make a list, figure out a budget and stick to it. You can save money, not necessarily just by buying cheap holiday gifts, but by taking advantage of early-bird sales and avoiding last-minute shipping premiums.
2. Bake your own. There are literally thousand of things you and your kids can bake that are often better than store-bought items, especially when it comes to baked goods and candy.
3. Make your own. FamilyFun.com has lots of kid-friendly crafts projects for holiday gifts. We especially like the House Keys holder (http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/feature/famf117gift/famf117gift2.html) It’s simple ideas like these that can really make both kid-giver and recipient beam.
4. Have family make a gift list. There’s nothing that wastes money faster than buying useless items you find in the check-out aisle just so you have a present on Christmas. Everyone would rather get something they really want, even if it’s not a surprise, than an item they have to return, or worse, throw away a few weeks after the holiday.
5. Recycle. Wrappings and ribbons costs add up. 2008 will be the year that reusing wrapping paper doesn’t look stingy, but smart and energy-conscious.
Even with cost-cutting, there’s no reason to eliminate holiday giving entirely but there are simple ways to make it cheaper this year.