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Monday, December 8, 2008

How to Afford Christmas on a Tight Budget

If you are like my family, money can get tight around the holidays. For instance, the majority of our Christmas savings money went to get 4 new tires for our car, after one blew out, and 2 others were constantly going flat.

First, scope out the sales ads. Many times you can find awesome sales on toys. Look in the unexpected places- like pharmacy stores(Walgreens, CVS, etc) many times these stores have specials such as Buy One Get One Free, or Buy 2 Get One Free. Many times they are more than reasonably priced. Honestly, does your child need a $100+ video game system? No.

Check out what stores have layaway. If you don't have enough money to pay for it outright, wait until there is a great sale, put it on layaway(most stores have you put down a minimum of 10%) and pay for it over a couple of weeks, or pay for the remainder when you do get the funds.

Get creative. The only people I have bought gifts for this year are my kids. Everyone else is getting homemade creations. For the women, I am making cookie, pasta, chili, and cocoa mixes in the jars. Everything to make those costs me less than $20, and it will make enough for the 8 women we are giving gifts to. I got all the jars at Goodwill, gave them a bleach and hot water bath, add some cute holiday fabric and ribbon around the lid for great decoration. The men are getting handsewn leather multitool holders with belt loops, and small wooden tool boxes for their cars. Each box has been engraved with their name, then finished in an oak stain. For the 5 men, the total cost for all the supplies was $27.

If you are ordering online, call and request a 10% discount code and/or free shipping code. All it takes is asking, and more often than not they will give you your option of which you would like to use. A lot of the time, I have been given a code for both free shipping and 10%.

Consider babysitting for a small fee for the parents of small children, so that they may go shopping child-free for a few hours. This is how I raised the money to buy my childrens' toys.

For extra cash, try selling things on ebay or amazon. Things like books, and movies sell really well this time of year. They are both great places to find cheap gifts too.

A way to save money year round, is to always use coupons. You can save lots of money using them. On average, I save 75% or more on my grocery bills, spending about an hour clipping coupons each week.



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