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Enjoy the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

Here are a few tips to help keep your budget under control when choosing gifts for family and friends.

With and behind us, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. The stress of trying to stay within your budget when shopping for gifts can put a damper on your holidays.

Set up a budget for yourself, and set reasonable guidelines for what you can spend. It’s also a good opportunity to talk to your kids about the value of money, spending and the importance of smart spending, even in the holiday rush.  

With a little bit of creativity and some smart shopping, you can still have a great holiday season without stretching your funds too thin.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Create your own gift:

  • There are plenty of websites offering ideas, so check them out for a great gift idea or just for inspiration for your own!
  • Go to the local arts and crafts store, even with nothing in mind there sure to be something there to spark your (or your kid’s) creativity.
  • Personal photos are always make a unique gift, and when it comes from kids to parents, grandparents, relatives, etc, it’s sure to be a hit. Think of different ways to use the photos to create personalized gifts.
  • Homemade jewelry is also something that is simple, inexpensive and is a great art project for kids that they can make for their friends and family members.
  • Some places in Bowie to get supplies are:

Shop ahead, shop online:

  • There are an increasing amount of websites offering daily deals, check them out for gift certificates, discounted activity rates and more.  Make sure to double-check the dates, rates and terms before purchasing anything online.
    • Patch Deals
    • Groupon
    • Living Social
    • Google Offers
    • While retailers tend to have more sales the closer we get to the holidays, it’s still a good idea to beat the crowds and shop early. Plan ahead, know what you want, and do online research before heading out to a retailer.
    • There are also a ton of apps for smartphones that allow you to scan the barcodes of products in the store that will let you compare with the prices online, and some of them will even give you prices from nearby retailers.
    • Be sure to take into account shipping costs when making your decisions about where to buy your big-ticket items. If something is heavy, chances are the shipping costs involved may negate any savings you’d be getting by purchasing online.

No matter what you decide to do to cut down the financial burden of the holiday shopping season, think about all of those gifts you’ve received, and probably given, that end up collecting dust after the first few months. You may find that the best gifts are they one that take a little more effort and though, but a lot less strain on your wallet.

Leslie December 01, 2011 at 01:54 PM
A. C. Moore has a large and diverse offering of craft supplies. If you check out their web site before you go, there are coupons you can print.

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