Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ways to cut down on the cost of gift giving.


Isn't it crazy that Christmas is 21 days away, Hanukkah begins in 17 days, and Kwanzaa begins in 22 days? And it seems like the holiday season couldn't have come at a worst time. Everyone is strapped for cash these days, and spending hundreds of dollars on gifts for our family and friend may not be realistic this season.

So, I developed a list of ways to curb the bite of holiday shopping to your wallet:

- Try homemade goods. I'm actually knitting scarves myself for gifts instead of buying them. Can you bake? Why not make fudge or Christmas cookies? Get creative! Check out this guide to making cookie dough in a jar.

- Give your time versus your money. Sometimes the best present you can give to a person is your time. "Give “coupons” for babysitting, house cleaning, errand running, etc. As the mother of two very young children, babysitting coupons are among my favorite gifts to receive!" according to this eHow.com guide to frugal gift giving.

- Skip department stores and head to second-hand stores. According to Erin Huffstetler of About.com, "There's no rule that says gifts have to be bought new. Scour thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources for gift-worthy items at prices well below retail."

- Buy a gift for an entire family instead of individually. From the same eHow.com guide the second bulletin, "If there is a family of two, three, four, or more on your list, you can save a lot of money by purchasing one gift for all of them. Consider the gift of a movie night with a $5 Blockbuster gift card packaged in a basket with a bag of microwave popcorn, a couple of sodas, and some movie-size candy. This is a great family gift for $10 or less."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

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