Be Wise with your Holiday Gift Budget

When it comes to the holidays, it's good to remind ourselves of a simple truth: You don't have to spend a lot of money to give a lot of your love. Here are some tips that may help make gift-giving less stressful on your wallet and more meaningful this year.

Set a Budget & Stick to it

Decide on an amount that you can safely spend and still have enough money to pay your bills and other expenses. Commit to this amount, and don't go over.

Keep Track of What you Spend

This will help you avoid blowing your budget.

Make a Gift List

Creating a list to work from can help keep you from going overboard on spending. Refer to your list often while you shop.

Consider Making Gifts

Homemade gifts can mean the most to many people. A few ideas:

  • A canning jar filled with soup-mix ingredients and a recipe. Dress it up with a fancy bow.
  • A framed photo you took or a poem you wrote that has special significance.
  • A scrapbook filled with family recipes (interview members of your family and include their favorite dishes).
  • A holiday wreath assembled from craft-store materials.
  • A personalized IOU gift certificate for your time. Some possibilities: Offer to babysit someone's kids, clean their house, or run errands for them.
  • Homemade baked goods are always a special treat, especially for people who don't like to bake or don't have the time to do so.

Shop Around to Find the Best Deals

With some gifts, it makes sense to compare costs online. Nowadays comparison websites can make this easier for you. These sites will help you find stores that sell the same item that you need. Or you can call your local stores and ask for a price check. It may take a little more time, but saving money is worth it.