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How to expand gifts when money is tightcomment (0)

December 5, 2013

By Judy Woodward Bates

The Bargainomics Lady 

How can families find creative ways to expand Christmas gifts when money is tight? Consider these tips:

  • Most of your friends and family members would be thrilled to hear you suggest not exchanging gifts this Christmas. Let gifts be for children only and the adults simply enjoy the fun and fellowship together.
  • Think out of season. Many stores still have spring/summer merchandise on sale racks and tables. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean your friend Amy wouldn’t love a beach tote or flip-flops. For my beach-loving sisters-in-law last year, I bought beach totes, beach towels, flip-flops and sunglasses. I put each “set” together for just $6.
  • Homemade gift certificates make wonderful Christmas presents. Give a day of chauffeuring to someone who doesn’t drive or doesn’t drive beyond his or her local area. How about a day of yard work or house work; a certificate for dinner and a movie at your house; or a day trip gift certificate with an itinerary and/or brochures included where you treat the recipient to a trip to a free museum or other attraction and an inexpensive lunch spot.
  • Homemade baked goods are always a hit; just be mindful of those who have eating restrictions such as those with allergies and diabetes.
  • Hit the dollar store. You can put wonderful gift sets together for under $5 with bath products, nail polish, etc. For men, there are car care products, tools and other gadgets. Many dollar stores also stock an impressive amount of “remainder” hardcover books, including some bestsellers, plus crossword books, word searches, etc.
  • Do Christmas after Christmas. Set a date a few days after Christmas — maybe even combine a New Year’s party with your Christmas gathering and exchange gifts then so everyone can hit the after Christmas sales to buy bargains.

Occasions list

  • Start an occasions list. Every year as soon as Christmas is over, I start a new occasions list, a piece of paper on which I list the names of everyone I’m going to buy a gift for all year. I even include at the bottom these three categories: misc. bridal teas, baby teas and graduations. Out beside names or categories, I list people’s sizes, colors, birthdays, etc. Then all year long as I shop, I’m carrying along my occasions list and looking for items suitable for the people on the list. As I buy something, I note it beside the person’s name. I’ve been teaching this for years and the people I hear from tell me this has cut their gift spending by at least 75 percent.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Judy Woodward Bates, The Bargainomics Lady on Fox-6 TV in Birmingham, is an author, columnist, freelance writer, speaker and member of Gardendale First Baptist Church. For more money-stretching tips, visit www.bargainomics.blogspot.com. 

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