“Thrifty Ways: Making More Memories, Spending Less Money”

Welcome to this weeks Thrifty Thursday’s with our Thrifty blogger
Amy Hannold, “Family Time and Money” Writer:

Eighty-degree temperatures and gardens in bloom may not trigger thoughts of December holidays in everyone’s mind, but it should; if you expect to survive the upcoming (yes, they’re coming) holidays.

Summer is full of “milepost” holidays, shopping events which signal to us that the warm, lazy days are dwindling. Sure, it’s the time to stock up on soda pop and condiments, but are you thinking about the December holidays yet?

I think it’s a growing merchandiser ploy to keep us so busy shopping all summer for picnic and beach needs (and earlier and earlier for back-to-school shopping), that December holidays seems to arrive so much earlier every year. Many of us wake mid-December, having made no preparations for the holidays.

January can be a remorseful month for some in the wake of overspending or the “holiday grief” that this past holiday just wasn’t what it could have been, had you made better preparations. July has arrived; the holidays are now less than six months away. Prevent regret by taking action now. Make your holidays merrier and brighter; as in more creative, affordable, and something to truly cherish.

Save Money Now: Begin to make small allowances and sacrifices to save up for extra holiday expenditures. Create a “Holiday Jar” in your home for spare change and those times when you forgo spending, to save for gifts and memorable dinners.

Determine Family Gifts: Discuss with your family, friends and extended family about gifts for the holidays. Consider the creation of “family gifts”, gift exchanges, drawing names, or other traditions. This reduces spending overall and dramatically increases the thoughtfulness of gifts.

As a side tip: Our family of 12-plus teenage cousins and 10-plus adults decided several years ago to shop all year for that perfect “White Elephant”, and delight one another in the exchanging of the most coveted “gift”. We survived years of “Snowman Poop”, only to rule later that your unusual or humorous gift must also contain something of “reasonable value” to the recipient. We now fight over “super-finds”; items which are usually found by my garage-saling aunts and me, who get the best, nearly new tools, sportswear and antiques at very affordable prices!

Girlfriends, neighbors, and your children’s friends can also be creative with gift giving. The best advice I have heard in gift giving would be to “Give Experiences & Memories”. Combine your money to create a great evening, weekend, or homemade event to remember. Instead of gifts to each other, consider gifts of service to your community.

Shop Thoughtfully Now: Be on the look out for items you know someone special would appreciate. Garage sales, summer clearances, and store discount departments can be great places to find affordable gifts. Think birthday party gifts and favors when crayons, notebooks and other fun school supplies are on sale. Ordering catalog or personalized gifts now means they will arrive in time for Christmas—without the stress & extra shipping charges.

Gift Gathering Place: Stored in boxes, closets or the top shelf somewhere in your home, your “I thought of you” finds, last-minute birthday party gifts, and even “re-gifts” (don’t forget to label from whom, to avoid gift errors!) saves you both time and money. Maintain accessible inventory lists (you will forget, trust me!). Occasional perusal of your gift closet equals efficient, maximum money-savings. You’ll be giving more creative gifts and are ready for any day that you need to recognize someone special.

Summer Time Is “Create Your Gifts” Time: Start now! As you would with any project or goal, designate in writing, a timeline towards completion of homemade gifts. Gather your supplies, as you find them on sale or at least in advance of when you’ll need them.

Host festive “Gift Creation” nights with friends so that everyone is ahead of schedule for their homemade holidays. String a set of Christmas lights, play some holiday music and share your holiday traditions at these events. You then have time to consider implementing holiday traditions of your friends, which may become new cherished memories for your own family.

Enjoy everyday: This advice is not meant to overshadow your summer fun. It is a gentle reminder that summer will turn into fall, and fall precipitates a media frenzy urging us to spend, shop, and stress our way to the best holidays. To preserve true meaning and memories, include a little holiday planning in your life now. Proactive discussions and preparations will decrease the family holiday drama. Think how anticipated your holidays will be when you have spent time and thought creating – instead of trying in vain to catch up with them.

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2 Responses

  1. great tips thanks

    we start the beginning of the yr to save we have a money jar that we put all our change in usually close to $400 by next christmas

  2. I enter a lot of sweeps/giveaways with my gift recipients in mind. One year every gift I gave had been won and they were all great gifts.

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