Saturday, December 13, 2008

9 Tips to Cut Holiday Expenses

Does the idea of spending a lot of money this holiday season make you cringe? Have you been trying to save money during this tough economic time? Are you afraid the holidays will put your family further into debt? Fortunately, Frugal Family Fun Blog is here to show you how to celebrate the holidays with friends and family without breaking the bank. Here are some ways to cut expenses during the holidays.
  1. Host a Potluck -- If you provide the turkey or ham, ask friends and family to each bring a side dish or dessert to share. A potluck can be an ideal solution for a vegetarian or other guests with special dietary needs. This will not only save money, but will also save valuable time.
  2. Draw up a Budget -- To save money this holiday season, make up a list of all the people you typically shop for and determine how much to spend on each person. Also, include ideas for gifts for each person. When you go shopping, take your list with you and stick to it!
  3. Plan Ahead -- The best way to cut expenses is always to plan ahead. Take advantage of sales and start shopping early in the season to spread out the expenses over time. With a little planning, you may be able to include other non-department stores such as CVS, Walgreens, or Big Lots to get some great deals.
  4. Shop Online -- This is also a great time saver. Shopping online means you are less likely to over-spend, thanks to the shopping cart which keeps a running total of expenses. Go to to find coupon codes for some of the most popular online stores. Also, consider shopping through uPromise for additional college savings.
  5. Pick One Thing -- If your family needs an organic Christmas tree, consider purchasing it. Then find ways to cut costs in other areas. You could make your own ornaments, for example.
  6. Homemade Gifts -- Some of the best gifts I have received have been homemade. If you know how to knit or sew, take advantage of these talents to make gifts for the people on your list. A scrapbook can make a terrific gift as well. Even dry ingredients for your favorite cookies in a mason jar can make a nice gift, while saving you some cash.
  7. Wrapping Ideas -- Get creative with wrapping paper. Use holiday stamps and rolls of craft paper to make your own, or re-use comics, newspaper print, or old maps. You can use inexpensive raffia, yarn, or string instead of ribbons for a more rustic look.
  8. Gift Exchange -- Put all the family members names into a hat and have each person pick one name. Each family member only shops for the name he/she picked. This way everyone gets a gift without having to shop for the entire family.
  9. Volunteer -- While many families are struggling with money this holiday season, you may be able to give more of your time. Get the family out to a soup kitchen and volunteer some time there. This will help cultivate a sense of gratitude for the things you do have.

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