Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Frugal Files: Easy Ideas, Breezy Christmas

Happy December to you!!

It's definitely that time of year isn't it? It's snowing, the streets are buzzing and the chimneys are smoking. This is one of my favorite time of the year because it promotes so much family and friends time. All during the year we hustle and bustle for our jobs, and outside people, but the holiday period allows us to come back inside and wine and dine the people closest to us.

I love that there are more home cooked meals shared with more than just immediate family; also that the thinking focus is turned toward someone other than ourselves. We reach out and use our hearts. However, for some, it is still a stressful time. One of the reasons I especially like family geared holiday time is because it is a sometimes difficult time for those who have lost loved ones, thus losing traditions we may have once known.

The good news is that new traditions can start anytime. One of the reasons I find that people find holiday time stressful is because they try to uphold an unrealistic image of themselves, their families and their bank accounts. Over the years I would watch the habits of my family members, as well as my own, once I was old enough to take on my own responsibilities. There were years I found it easily and exercised both good judgment and planning. Other years, it was complicated and hard to manage. Finally, I decided to stop stressing myself out about Christmas and didn't put too much focus on it.

I know many of you took advantage of those great Black Friday "sales" and it is my hope that you were able to get all the gifts you wanted to buy and within your budget. While I know that can be realistic for my truly Frugalicious folks, I know that's idealistic for the masses. It is inevitable that we will spend money, but if we're spending less each time; now that's frugalicious! Here are some other ideas to keep from overspending this holiday:

The Trusty Gift Exchange – Throw everyone's name in a hat and pick one. Set a dollar amount and have the monitor write down a few things that you'd like in that price range. You are then only responsible for buying ONE gift; the person you chose. For added fun and frugaliciousness, agree to only buy gifts from the Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savers or whatever second hand store in your area. This can be a fun way to celebrate the season without throwing your wallet in the fireplace. All those stores benefit someone else too, so you're achieving a community service in your purchase. As far as your family goes, everyone will get a gift, in fact, they get a gift they want!!

Talent Time – If you are an artistic person or have a special knack for baking or working with your hands, this is your calling this Christmas. Give out as many heartfelt gift that you can make. Getting specialized gifts, made with your own hands are sure to make any recipient feel special.

Debt-To-Income Plan – In this plan, you realize you have too much debt and not enough income, so you spend nothing. This idea dares you to say NO to the monetary side of Christmas, while saying YES to the promise of paying off debt; a true gift to your family. Your bonus is that you skip the shopping lines, the fighting in traffic and your money goes to a useful place that just might ensure better Christmases in the future!!

Enjoy your week!!

Frugalicious Diva

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