admin Posted on 7:07 pm

You don’t have to be a Scrooge to give your wallet a reason to be thankful.

While the holiday season can be very exciting and magical for children, adults face expenses in the last two months of the year that can put a huge strain on family finances. Whether it’s travel expenses, gifts, food or decorations, it’s easy to take your wallet and credit cards for granted.

Set a vacation budget. Sit down and calculate your vacation expenses. Make a list of all your anticipated expenses so you’re prepared to spend wisely and avoid a post-holiday hangover. If you have a savings account to cover your vacation expenses, then you’re ready to go. But, if you need to tap into your savings, or worse yet, find yourself in debt, then you need to find some ways to reduce your vacation spending.

Consider making a few changes this year that will take the stress out of your budget and your wallet will thank you when the holidays are over.

Use credit card rewardsNote: If you have a credit card that offers rewards points, try redeeming your points to cover the cost of some of your gifts.

draw names: Limit how many people you’re shopping for this year, as well as how much you’re spending on each gift. Your friends or family may appreciate this gift-buying approach.

buy bargains– Check online sites like Ben’s Bargains, DealNews, DealPlus, Slickdeals, GottaDeal.com, DealCatcher, or FatWallet to find the best holiday deals. Also, if you shop online a lot, consider signing up for Amazon Prime to save money on shipping. Amazon Prime is an annual cost with unlimited FREE 2-day shipping and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Remember that books are FREE software for the brain!

give homemade things: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be creative and crafty. Homemade gifts can be really meaningful. The time you spend giving a gift shows the recipient how much you care and takes the stress out of your holiday budget.

buy early: Buying gifts before the holiday rush is a perfect way to avoid reckless spending. Buying early also makes those last minute purchases easier no matter the price.

Use natural decorations instead of store-bought items: Gather fallen leaves, pine cones, tree branches, or other natural objects to use for centerpieces and mantel decorations.

Get creative with your packaging: Clever DIY ideas are sure to impress everyone on your Christmas gift list without breaking the bank. Kraft paper or inexpensive butcher paper can be used. Create a blank canvas perfect for stenciled holiday designs. Place some fresh greenery under the bow for a Christmas scent. Did you know that a map could be a trendy decoration theme? To make the wrapper more personal, use a map that shows the recipient’s place of birth or favorite travel destination. Going green can also be wallet-friendly. Wrap small gifts in wrapping paper and cover them with bits of twine or greenery from your own backyard.

Make your Christmas dinner memorable: Instead of preparing and paying for all the holiday food, why not host a potluck? This will allow your guests to show off their culinary skills and even share recipes with all of your guests.

Are you ready to start the Christmas shopping season? If you take advantage of some of these tips, it will hopefully relieve some stress and help you avoid overspending, while keeping your budget intact. Your wallet will thank you.

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