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How to keep some extra cash in your pocket this Christmas
Christmas is near! The excitement of the holidays sometimes overwhelm us. There’s gifts to be bought, decorations to be hung and food to be cooked. Besides the obvious preparation, some of us with little ones have a little more on our plates. We plan activities like photos with Santa, Christmas plays and tree lighting. We are constantly planning this and doing that, not wanting to miss a beat. Sometimes we get so caught up in Christmas we end up going over our Christmas budget unintentionally or sometimes knowingly. You should never go over your Christmas budget. While the extra stuff is fun, let us not forget the reason we are celebrating in the first place. So, here are a few ways to keep you from braking your piggy bank this Christmas.
Choose one event
Choose one event you can go to as a Family. Find something inexpensive or free everyone can enjoy. While you may have to pay for public events, church events are usually free. Many churches host free Christmas productions. You can also put on your own Christmas play. Make it a family night, create some traditions of your own that will be fun and memorable.
One gift per child
Sounds harsh I know, but I do not believe one child needs more than one or two gifts from their parents. Find that one gift that your child has been yapping about all year. That one gift that will feel like many to them. Be sure to give them something they want…note I said want not need. Christmas should be that one time of year your child gets what they want. Sorry parents but no clothes and books unless it's want your child wants. Don’t feel bad about giving your child/children one gift, they will receive plenty of gifts from relatives and friends.
A lot of us do secret Santa at work. instead of buying a gift for all your siblings and their significant other, suggest that idea to your family too. Put everyone’s name in a bag (except for the little ones) have everyone pull a name and be sure to put a price limit on gifts. Also, your third cousin on your daddy’s side whom you hardly speak to, does not need a gift, a Christmas card from the .99cent store will suffice.
Easy on pictures
I know it’s hard to resist all the cute baby’s first Christmas pictures but…ok fine go crazy on baby’s first Christmas pictures ( I Know I did), but not too crazy. Have a plan and know how much you want to spend on pictures before you go. Take someone with you who can help you say no to all the pictures that are just so darn cute you have to get every single pose with all three different outfits, the calendar with the CD, Christmas Cards and matching Christmas sweaters….Breathe; and stick to the plan. A couple of different poses with maybe two different outfits; enough to send one copy to your family and friends.
You do not need to buy a new tree every year
I am well aware that some of us like the fresh smell of a real Christmas tree, but the plastic ones gets the job done too. So pull that old dusty tree from out of the attic, dust her down nicely, decorate it and she will sparkle just like a new tree. If you don’t mind the fake ones, invest in a good tree that will last you years and come next year that Christmas tree money can go to something else.
Relax and Merry Christmas
Lastly, don’t get so caught up in the presents, cooking and decorating that you forget the true meaning of Christmas. We can all save a lot of money if we focus on celebrating Jesus’s birth and go easy on the extra stuff. It is quite ok if you didn’t have enough money to buy something or if the cookies got burnt or the Christmas tree looks a little like Charlie Brown’s tree. Spending time with your loved ones while commemorating Jesus's birth is what Christmas is all about. So relax and have a Merry Christmas.