For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Streamlining Your Holiday Season

September 2nd, 2008

holiday-shopping.jpgWith most Americans returning to work today after the Labor Day weekend, those who have managed to break the habit of last-minute holiday shopping may be starting to think about what they are going to buy in preparation for the upcoming winter celebrations. However, because of the recent rise in fuel costs and the ongoing general inflation that is increasing the cost of almost everything else, many people may have less money to spend this year. This article by Angela Baca provides some suggestions for how to enjoy the holiday season while staying within a reasonable budget.

As Americans face a tough economy, there arises a need to save money whenever possible. The holiday season presents a great opportunity to save as winter approaches and heating costs strain your monthly budget. You can streamline your spending for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here’s how.

The first strategy is to celebrate the holidays at home this year, at your home or with loved ones. You can save money by cooking all of the Thanksgiving and Christmas fixings at home instead of buying products from the supermarket deli and bakery or eating out at a restaurant. The Internet offers many recipes to create any dish you want. For travelers, the high cost of travel is a great reason to make a relative’s home your holiday destination.

Your next strategy is strategic gift shopping. When you enter through the real (or virtual) doors of any American retailer that sells Christmas products, you breathe in an atmosphere so heavy and thick that you can reach out and touch it. In fact, retailers intend for you to feel that way. They want you to be entranced by Christmas charm in a winter palace of holiday wares. Whether you have stumbled into a fireside setting or a glitzy, silver emporium, retailers make it difficult not to fall in love with what you see for sale.

When you walk into a store for holiday shopping, it helps to have a specific list of what you need to buy and notes on what you will spend for each item. Creative sales schemes (30% off here and 60% off there) are designed to make you spend more than planned.

Another way to save over the holidays is to spend your Thanksgiving or Christmas volunteering in a soup kitchen giving food to the disadvantaged of your community. If you are visiting relatives, you can volunteer somewhere with them. When you go home to your home-cooked meal, you will more likely appreciate it after serving people who have nothing but the clothes on their back. After a Christmas meal, your family can exchange small gifts and share stories, games, or movies in front of the tree. The fellowship of loved ones during the holidays is free.

Although some aspects of holiday spending will be necessary like buying a gift for your child’s teacher, cutting down on costs will help your budget. Your family can scale back. There is always a future Christmas to spend more when finances improve.

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