We asked, you answered. Last month, we asked our readers to share their budget friendly, money saving holiday ideas. We were excited by the many great responses we received, encouraged by your efforts to stick to your budgets (even during the holidays), tickled by your creativity and heartened by your expressions of care, concern and love for your families, friends and neighbors. From all of your responses, we chose to share those we thought were the most innovative and functional.
For the December issue of Defeat Debt’s The Real Story here are your responses. Presented first: our judges’ favorite.
Dear Michaela -
I am on a very tight budget like many others. I decided to buy gift cards that are rechargeable from a well-known store. I started out with putting $10 and will add as much as I can till Christmas. My son lives in another state and when I send him the card he will keep it. I have the number so I can put more money on for his birthday. This way I don’t have postage to send him gifts and if he moves he can use it at any store. You just have to scratch off so you can write down the numbers only if you will be recharging without the card. The store can manually put in the numbers if you don’t have the card. No more spending more than you should. No more paying postage. No more returned gifts. A picture and/or letter from the heart is more important than the gift, the gift is just an extra.
cards can make gift
giving easier on
Dear Cindy -
This is such a fabulous idea on so many fronts - ease of use, ability to stretch it out over time and work it into a budget, no ongoing postage expense, can be used at any location (including a web site in this day), and no worries about fit or color matches. (I might suggest, instead of scratching off to see the card number, ask store personnel for the card number at the time it is charged so you can have it for later - better yet, tell them what you are doing and go by the store recommendation.) Most importantly, your last line is what people seem to forget. How many of us would love to have that letter from those closest to us, letting us know what is in their hearts? Thank you so much for your reply. I’m certain your holiday season will bring you happiness and not stress due to your planning in advance and creative use of your resources.
Michaela Harper, Program Director.
Other ideas received from Defeat Debt readers and Credit Advisors Foundation staff:
Dress up 'supplies'
are a fun gift for
a youngster on
- Visit thrift stores like the Salvation Army. Find fun, wild dresses, uniforms, hats and jewelry. Put these treasures in a box (decorated or wrapped) and give as ’dress up’ supplies to a young one on your list.
- Draw or prepare a ’coupon’ for an activity you will do with your children after Christmas - skating, sledding, hiking, catch or a game of tag. Wrap it up and put under tree. (What kid wouldn’t like to get a coupon with a one time free room cleaning by you?)
- Make a Joy Journal - Buy an attractive blank book (on sale). Have group write some of their favorite memories with the recipient in the book as a gift - Grandma, Aunt Sue, or Dad. No need to fill in all the pages - this leaves opportunity for future additions. You may be surprised by what some consider "the great memories" - especially the kids.
- Buy an inexpensive clay pot. Paint with primer - then add your children’s handprints in bright colors. Fill at least half way with play sand. Add a bright, pretty candle (from a dollar store) and decorate sand with pinecones or holly berries (inexpensive at craft shop). Great gift for grandmas, godparents and others, plus, easy enough for kids to do and costs probably less than $5.00.
- Save the holiday cards you receive this year and use for gift tags next year.
- Buy gift-wrap and accessories at after holiday sales for next year.
- Instead of buying individual gifts buy family gifts - games, skating or movie tickets and such that they can use together.
Give them a try for a budget friendly, money saving holiday!