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How can I manage my holiday spending?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are ways to cut back and still enjoy holiday merriment:

Make the holidays for the kids: It's expensive enough to buy gifts for your kids, but when you consider purchasing gifts for everyone else that you know, (friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, etc.) you can quickly blow your holiday budget before you even get to purchasing gifts for kids.

Instead of shopping for that mile-long list of friends and relatives, forgo the gift exchange and put that money towards the kid gifts.

Your friends and family will understand and might even be relieved that they won't have to buy you something in return. After all, most of us wouldn't really miss receiving another tie from Aunt Harriet or bath powder from your sister.

Draw names: If forgoing the gift exchange with your extended family is not an option, you could propose that instead everyone draw the name of just one family member to buy a gift for. You could also set a ten dollar gift limit. This goes for both adults and kids. Having a price limit will make sure that kids have to be creative in their gift-giving and will teach them about sticking to a budget.

Check out thrift stores: The best gifts don't always have to come wrapped in their original packaging, and you don't have to pay full price to give someone a thoughtful gift that they will love. When shopping for gifts, don't overlook the dollar stores, garage sales, book sales at the library, thrift stores, discount stores, and e-Bay. By shopping around, you can find great sale items and perfect stocking stuffers at greatly reduced prices.

Emphasize together time: Suggest that family members give the gift of time to your kids instead of purchased gifts. Have a family outing to a zoo, skating rink, or to the beach. You can even go berry picking or kite flying.

Teaching your kids a specific skill such as how to fish, bake an apple cobbler, knit a scarf, or throw a football is also a fantastic way to give your "time gift." The point is that you are spending time together, and whatever you choose to do, being together often proves to be more memorable than opening up that "it" toy or electronic device that will soon be forgotten.

Suggest handmade instead of store bought: While preparing for that gift exchange, specify that a certain number should be no-cost items. Doing so makes Christmas less consumer-driven and brings back the true spirit of giving.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.