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Money-Saving Mama: Gift buying doesn't have to be expensive

Posted: December 10, 2013 - 5:15pm
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As the song says, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. But is you are stressed out about buying gifts you can’t afford, here are some tips that might help:

First, be honest with yourself and others. If you can’t afford to buy lots of gifts, tell others that you are scaling back on your gift buying this year. Come up with an agreement to buy just one gift each or put a dollar limit on it within your budget. Don’t feel as if you have to match gifts price for price, either. Taking the time to put some thought into the gift is what is most important.

For adults, go for the heartfelt gifts. If you have the program on your computer or if you have access to a computer that has it, use the movie-maker program and create a DVD of family pictures with music. Through one of the photo places in town, create a wall or desk calendar with family and kid pictures. This doesn’t cost a lot and you can even use coupons to save even more. They even have other photo memory items that are fairly inexpensive as well.

For the men in your life there are many options. If they are movie fans, either a Fandango gift card or a set of movies or TV shows could be on the list. If they love to work on things, tools are always a great option. If they love sports, a T-shirt of their favorite team is always a hit.

Teenagers are perfectly happy with a gift card to their favorite store, to iTunes, or even with money.

The kids seem to put down 90 percent of what they get within 10 minutes of playing with it. Pick the top two or three items to purchase and then fill in with some smaller, less-expensive items. While you don’t want to disappoint them, explain that you love them but you will be cutting back and buying the main things Christmas. The children will understand and that will lessen your stress.

If you like to go to the stores and buy in person, look for sales. If you are shopping online, always look up a coupon code for that store before you purchase. There are many places to find them, like RetailMeNot.com, but you can also Google “coupon codes.”

Making homemade gifts is another option. You can take a picture and frame it to give. Baking cookies, cakes and bread is another great gift. If you can knit and crochet, scarves are a terrific option. If you can’t do those things but still want it to have a homemade feel, use your coupons and buy grocery items, such as jams, jellies, and deli bread for a basket or pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast item for a breakfast basket. The sky is the limit of what you can create by using your imagination.

Do you even have to buy a gift to show your love for family and friends? The best gift someone can give is their time. I think you will find that, when you suggest just visiting, that will be a relief to them as well.

The best thing that you can do is to make sure not to overspend. This causes stress now and later when you have the bills. Sit back and celebrate Christmas with those that you love. Here is wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

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