December 14, 2010

Thrifty Tips: How We Save Cash Around the Holidays

The holidays are approaching quickly and we have been doing quite a bit of thinking about Christmas shopping lately. Our families are both huge, so buying gifts for everyone is quite the task! With the new budget in place, our holiday spending has starting shrinking which makes shopping for lots of people even harder. We love giving gifts, so not shopping at all is out of the question. We have, however, come up with some sneaky strategies to save cash AND still play Santa to our family and friends.

1) Make a list and stick to it! Seriously. Estimate how much you will spend and budget for your gifts as far in advance as you can -we budget in January and then split the total between 12 months. Every month, we contribute to our Christmas gift fund. This really takes the financial burden off of you when December comes rolling around.

2) We escape the "stuff" trap by giving "experience gifts". Tickets to the opera, dinner at a nice restaurant, a certificate for manicures, etc. Things that you can do together  are what the holidays are really about, right??

3) Be realistic. As much as we LOVE to give during the holidays, we need to manage our expectations of that giving. Instead of a ton of small gifts, we try and pick out one gift per person that is useful and thoughtful. Our families know that we are trying to save up to buy a home- they know that we aren't going to be able to give extravagantly and guess what? They're just as happy to have us home for the holidays as they are to get mountains of stuff.

4) Get creative. With a little time and a little effort, you can craft, bake or sew tons of amazing and thoughtful gifts for friends and family. Do a little digging around the internet and see what other people have created for inspiration. Here are some of our favorite Christmas recipes to get you started.

How do you save cash around the holidays? Are you a Black Friday shopper? A last minute bargain hunter?

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