Let’s face it. The economy stinks, and we’ve all seen our wallets and bank balances shrink over the past few months. This year, it’s important for us to focus on the essentials during the holidays, and to refrain from the excess that has become the norm for most Americans. Whether it’s Christmas or Chanukah, Kwaanza or New Year’s, here is a list of ideas to stay on budget and keep the season simple:
* Skip expensive store-bought cards! Gotfreecards.com has a card for every occasion, and they don’t charge a cent to send good wishes to friends and family. You will find an excellent selection of cards, ranging from humorous to sincere. Whatever your requirements for the perfect holiday card, you will be satisfied with our free christmas e-cards!
* Buy small, thoughtful gifts that send a caring message. While extravagant gift displays are nice, the best gifts are truly the ones that come from the heart. Purchase an inexpensive item and have it monogrammed for a personal touch. The purpose behind a gift is to show love and sincere appreciation toward the recipient. This can be achieved without spending large amounts of money.
* Make a budget and stick to it. Treat the holiday budget just as you would your household. Make a list of recipients, plan a gift for each person, set a ceiling on the amount you can spend and stay with it. Saving receipts will also keep you from overspending.
* Use your knack for baking or crafts to create a homemade gift. A plate of warm, home-baked chocolate chip cookies is often more appreciated than a gift card!
* Plan ahead. Often we spend more money when we wait too long to buy a present. Knowing in advance what you have in mind for each person on your gift list will keep you on your budget.
My final bit of advice is to appreciate your loved ones during the holidays. Remember that this season is about friendship and family, togetherness and love. Avoid thinking that an expensive present will replace your presence at holiday celebrations. Time is extremely valuable, and each moment you spend with your loved ones is more precious than anything else. Happy Holidays!