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Be Wise With Money

Avoid the Christmas 'Ho-Ho-Argh!'

smart Christmas spending

This time of year is full of anticipation, preparation, excitement and celebration. Traditions are honored, new ones are created and gifts are purchased – but it doesn’t have to come with a big price tag. Here are some tips to help you avoid the Christmas “ho-ho-argh!” when the credit card bill arrives in January.

1. Don’t sweat – or spend on – the small stuff

  • Determine what’s significant for your family and cut back on everything else.
  • Pick a gift-giving theme and set a budget. It’s a fun way to narrow down your gift search and spending.
  • Invite your friends and family to donate to a cause important to them instead of purchasing a gift for you.
     

2. Decorate the “old-fashioned” way.

  • Instead of lights everywhere, choose one focal point, like your Christmas tree.
  • Purchase LED lights. They not only save on electricity (1/3 cost to run), but they also last 10 times longer. Another benefit – the lights never get hot!
  • Create your own garland with a string of popcorn and cranberries – everyone can make one to hang on the tree.


3. Plan your Christmas shopping.

  • Think about what gifts you want to buy. A little planning can save you $$ in the end.  Less chance to overspend.
  • Check websites for flyers, coupons and online-only deals.
  • Use comparison shopping sites to make sure you are getting the best deal such as PriceGrabber.com, Bizrate.com or Amazon.com.
     

4. Create your own Christmas magic.

  • Bake and decorate cookies with your kids, family and friends.
  • Make your own luminaries – invite your neighbors to join in and pick a date to light up the neighborhood.
  • Volunteer to collect food for your local food shelf. Need is high this time of year.
  • Do a random act of kindness and bring joy to someone.


A little forethought and planning can help reduce seasonal stress and the sticker shock when the bill comes due in January. Enjoy the wonders of the season instead of stressing over your to-do list.

What one thing can you do to make a positive difference for yourself during this Christmas season?

 

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