A Frugal Christmas Can Still be a Merry Christmas

 





The holiday season is rolling around again. For many, it seems like it comes faster and faster every year. “Didn’t we just get done paying off the credit cards from last year?” is practically the new Merry Christmas.

So, what do you do when you don’t want to be the Grinch, but you don’t want to run up credit card debt that will keep you shackled long after you’ve vacuumed up the last piece of tinsel sometime in early May? Try these suggestions and you just may be able to have a Merry Christmas without putting yourself in the poor house:

  • Online shopping. Not only can you find lower prices, but you can also save a small fortune in gas. Many online retailers even offer free shipping and delivery.
  • Keep close tabs on the travel budget. Limit how many trips you take. When you do travel, plan ahead. You’ll be surprised how much you save on airfare by buying in advance. If you plan on driving long distances, consider renting a fuel efficient vehicle. An extra 10 or 15 miles per gallon may cover the rental costs over a 1,000 mile trip.
  • Make gifts to exchange. Instead of giving the kids a budget to spend on gifts, spend some quality time together making gifts. The memories will last much longer than anything you would have purchased and you’ll save money.
  • Christmas cards, lots of Christmas cards. The best Christmas cards are less expensive than most Christmas gifts. Better yet, buy a box of inexpensive Christmas cards and write heartfelt letters. In the Internet age, few people handwrite letters anymore. This makes them a very cost efficient way to spread holiday cheer.  
  • Start planning for next year. Think about it. Most of us run up credit card bills Christmas shopping and then spend the rest of the year paying installments, usually with high interest rates. Why not make those payments to a Christmas Club savings account instead? You avoid paying interest-in fact, you earn interest-and you get to splurge a little over the holidays, too.
Of course, these are just a few of the many ways you can keep the budget under control over the holiday season. What does your family do to stick to the budget over the holidays?


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