How to save at the holidays
Posted November 18, 2008 4:35 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2008 11:27 a.m. EST
Holiday entertaining and gift-giving can be expensive. Here are some ideas to trim costs:
- Search estate sales and flea markets for inexpensive mismatched dishes. They make the perfect vessels for delivering home-baked goodies to co-workers, friends and neighbors. Best of all, there's no need to ask them to return the plate.
- Set a spending limit on gifts from your spouse or closest friends, says Sara Noel, who runs frugalvillage.net. You could do a second-hand gift exchange. Or only swap stocking stuffers. Noel and her husband give each other the same "favorite things" each year. She gets a box of chocolates and he chooses nuts and cheeses.
- Talk to your family about volunteering or giving charitable gifts to take the focus off of buying and wanting. Help out at a food bank or soup kitchen. Or agree to exchange gifts that support charities.
- Give the gift of time. Make gift certificates or coupons to offer free baby-sitting to your friends or to prepare a home-cooked meal for them. Kids could give breakfast in bed to their parents. A husband might offer candlelight dinner at home.
- Let the kids make wrapping paper. Stock up on inexpensive butcher paper or newsprint and let your young artists go to town with fingerpaints, rubber stamps, even stickers. Each package will be a one-of-a-kind.
- Get thrifty with decorations. Use branches, pine cones, wire and ribbon to create your own holiday wreaths. Let kids work on cut paper snowflakes (embellished with glitter glue for extra sparkle) or other decorations.