Tips for Keeping the Joy In and the Debt Out of Christmas
by Naomi Knudsen,  Healthy Living




Related Resources: Advent Index
Christian Christmas Coloring Pictures

Christmas is supposed to be joyful, filled with the
spirit of giving, a celebration of God's love for his
people.  Keep the joy in Christmas by avoiding the debt
monster that terrorizes many families for the next year.
With a little planning and creativity, you can give and
celebrate this Christmas without going over your budget.
Here are some ideas to help.

Tip 1.
Make gifts.  Cookies, candies, Christmas or other
decorations, "gifts-in-a-jar", plants, are just some of the
creative and unique gifts you could give instead of buying

Tip 2.
Give coupons for needed services. Babysitting, car washing,
 yard care, snow shoveling, house cleaning, window
washing, back rubs, are just some of the thoughtful services
someone would appreciate.

Tip 3.
Give a family gift.  Instead of giving gifts to each individual,
give a gift the whole family could enjoy such as baked
goods, a framed picture, a special book, or a service
(See Tip 2.).

Tip 4.
Make a list of the people you want to buy for and other
Christmas items you will need.  Set a predetermined amount
that you can afford to spend for each item and stick to it.
Don't allow guilt buying and advertising hype to determine
your gift purchases.

Tip 5.
Christmas spending should be a planned part of your
budget.  Set aside a little money for Christmas each week
 during the summer, or if you are really organized,
purchase gifts, cards, and decorations a little at a time
 well beforehand when they are on sale.

Tip 6.
Give your children little jobs or help them find jobs in the
neighborhood so that they can earn money to purchase gifts.
This allows them to experience the joy of giving and helps
them to learn to manage their money.

Tip 7.
Shop alone.  Statistics show that if you shop with a
friend, spouse, or worst of all your children, you will
spend more and buy more impulse items.  Take your list
and follow it, and when you are finished, go home.  The
longer you are in the store, the more impulse items
 will jump into your cart.

Tip 8.
Eat before you go shopping.  This will help you avoid
the high cost of eating at the mall or in a restaurant.

Tip 9.
Make your own Christmas cards.  Using decorative paper
or card stock which you can find at office supply stores,
create your own unique cards or Christmas letters.  Save
postage by hand delivering as many as possible, or you
can even email a cheery Christmas message.

Tip 10.
Shop in unusual or out-of-the-way places.  Be creative
and look for useful inexpensive gifts in out-of-the
ordinary places such as garden stores; office, fabric,
pet, art, auto, or restaurant supply stores; coffee
shops, used bookstores, auctions, craft shows.  The list
 is as long as your imagination.

Article by Naomi Knudsen
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