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Christmas on a Tight Budget

It’s that time of year again – December is nearing and you start to worry about how you are going to be able to afford gifts for everyone on your list. Before you start charging purchase after purchase to your credit card, consider the following tips, which will help you save money this Christmas.

Work Perks?

Depending on where you work, you probably have access to a significant employee discount, or even some free merchandise. Use this to your full advantage and shop at work before shopping anywhere else. How many people can you scratch off the list with the help of your bookstore or café job? Similarly, if you have friends who can offer you a discount from their workplaces, you can arrange to share your work perks with one another to double or triple the possibilities!

Go Homemade

When you hear the word “homemade”, you might think of a tacky, glued-together Christmas card, or some recycled clothing. But remember, you have many more useful skills than you think, and most of them can be converted into fabulous Christmas gifts!

Can you knit or sew? Christmas is usually an ideal time for new scarves and mittens. Do you play any instruments? Offer guitar lessons to your aspiring rockstar of a nephew! Do you bake? Create beautiful gift baskets with a variety of goodies for a whole family to enjoy. Even a few hours of free babysitting would be a welcome gift to any new parent!

Gift Baskets

If the idea of a gift basket is appealing to you, think about building your own, rather than buying pre-packaged. Retail stores often hike the prices of pre-made gift baskets simply because they can – what you really end up paying for is cellophane and ribbon, which can be purchased for very little from a dollar store. On top of everything, if you choose to make your own gift basket, you can cater specifically to anyone’s favourite flavours, scents, and colours.

Try combining some fresh homemade goodies with a couple of beautiful handmade soaps and a gift certificate for a free backrub or babysitting and you have a thoughtful and delicious Christmas gift for a family member or friend.

Budget Beforehand

Finally, when it comes to actually getting out there and shopping, make sure that you do the following:

  1. Make a specific list to keep yourself from impulse purchases and gifts that you think you need, but won’t end up giving. One of the many perils of Christmas shopping is that there are so many gifts out there that look fantastic for someone, but not for the people on your list.
  2. Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on each person you are buying for, and how much you want to spend overall. If you keep this is mind before and while you are shopping, you are more likely to stick with it! If you plan to spread your shopping out over more than a few days, make sure that you keep tabs on your spending so that you know where your budget stands every time you go out.

Remember, it is not about how much you spend, but how much thought you put into each gift. Good luck, and happy holidays!

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