How to Stay out of the Poor House During the Holidays

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Buyers, General Information, Sellers
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The countdown has begun and with only three weeks left before Christmas the madness is looming at the mall. Drivers are hastily trying to find that last parking place close enough to the  main doors so they don’t get their toupee in a whirlwind as winter sneaks out to show us who’s boss. You’ve got the credit cards so you’re good to go. Sort of!

Remember last year? Has your financial situation improved or worsened since then? Get real with your finances and crunch the numbers. The first thing to do is probably to take your new year resolution early to get a  healthy financial status come January. Start with a little jogging of the memory and remember that unless you make six figure income buying $700 worth of gifts for every person in your entourage is just plain asking for it.  Who’s affection  are you trying to buy? Your kids? Within a week they’ll forget the hoopla!

How about making a difference in your family traditions. After all, when all is said and done and  you’re gone, nobody will remember the gifts you overspent on but they will remember the kindness and loving gestures you did. So, make a plan of action to stay out of debt. Think out your list first.  The mail carrier really doesn’t need a gift from you and unless the neighbour is a really close buddy, with whom you hang out all the time, a simple “Thinking of You at Christmas” card will do.

Work out the budget per person and stick to it as much as possible. Buy for the kids first and if budget permits then those that you absolutely must buy a gift for. It’s always better and certainly more fun to open up a well thought gift than just a gift card and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It says: “I care” and I took the time to do something special for you, and not just an “If I have to” gift. People can tell the difference.

If the credit cards are your demons during the holidays leave them home but if you are responsible enough to stick to the plan by all means go for it. Especially if you have a dividend type card which gives you rewards for using it.

The best way to help our economy is to shop local, small businesses. For goodness sake stay out of the dollar stores as much as possible. China doesn’t need anymore growth. So you might pay a couple of bucks more but the benefits are huge to our cities and our country. Head for the racks that are marked down and look with an open mind. Think of what that person might like and don’t be so judgemental. Sometimes we have a tendency of talking ourselves out of buying the perfect gift.

Consider a make it yourself gift. Can you bake? Do woodwork? Drawing? Painting? How about a food basket or a favorite recipe attached to some of the ingredients in a cool bowl and  cello wrapped with a big red bow? You can imitate some of those expensive gift packaging for half the price. You can do a knitter’s package with some wool and needles. How about a BBQ package with a favorite specialty sauce, some mitts and an apron. Put your imagination to work. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with for way less than the prepackaged stuff.

Remember the needy. So if uncle Joe has everything why not donate to a local charity in their honour. The out of the cold program, the Salvation Army  and the local food banks are always looking for donations at this time of year. Create a new tradition with your family and adopt a poor family where you buy gifts for them instead of yourselves. Your local social services will have a list of people who you can sponsor.

Don’t overlook some of the gift certificates offered by online companies such as Groupons, Wag Jag, Living Social to name a few. You can get some amazing deals and at the same time support local small businesses. I just bought this amazing ….oooppppsss sorry I can’t tell you that,  the recipient might be reading this.

Hope you get the idea that there is a better way to celebrate Christmas that doesn’t need to stress you out and bring you down to the poor house. Remember what Christmas is all about in the first place. Peace and good will towards all men.

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