How can you celebrate your holidays by staying within budget?

March 14th 2017

Question of the Month

Question of the Month is yet another effort by the debtcc team to enhance the community knowledge bank. It’s a monthly contest and every month a challenging question will be thrown before the members for responses. The best answer will be chosen collectively at the end of the month by the debtcc members and the admin panel of the site. The winner of this contest will receive a handsome reward of a $50.
The purpose behind this idea is to encourage the members to share their real life experiences in dealing with the financial challenges.
Though different financial issues are being discussed across the debtcc board, but it doesn’t leave much scope to the members to share their personal experiences. Here is the place where it can be done, and also that the new members can get the innovative ideas to deal with their debts along with the conventional ones.

Latest Question

Question 3: How can you celebrate your holidays by staying within budget?

In this trying time when our economy is passing through a rough patch, our pocket is becoming constrained. But we can't avoid holidaying too. Now how can you enjoy your holidays without exceeding your budget?

Winner Post

Trophy iconAnswer 1:These are just some things that we have done or are thinking of doing to help us enjoy the holidays. Start a savings account,handmade gifts, gift cards, rebuilt computer, read on to learn more.

I started a Christmas Club savings account at my credit union earlier this year. They took just $10 out of each of my checks. It was a small amount, I didnt even notice it missing out of my paychecks. I could add to it whenever I wanted and yes if there was an emergency I could take out of it, with a small fee. Then in the beginning of Oct. They take the money and deposti it into my checking account for my holiday spending. Then they start all over again the next payday taking out as much as I would like each payday. So if i do not add any extra I will have $520 for Christmas next oct.
Along with that I love doing the holiday candy. So I take some of that extra Christmas Club money and buy my ingredients when they are onsale. I will make a ton of candy to give as gifts to family,friends and the kids teachers. For family I will also buy visa gift cards (in small dollar amounts) and give along with the candy. It makes the gifts fun and they enjoy eating the candy as much as I enjoyed making it. Plus it helps the elderly family members pay for their expensive meds.
I love taking pictures. Some of my friends and family have their fav. photos that I have taken. I will take that fav. photo and have it copied and then I will take and old picture frame ( or a nice cheaper new one) Then go by a friends house that has tons of scrapbooking stuff and make it into a special handmade item that they can hang up and look at everyday. Most of them that I have done this for bring me pictures that they want me to do throughout the year (which brings in a little extra cash for the holidays also)so they can give them as gifts.
My kids are getting older now and are alot harder to buy for. So we have decided to give gift cards to help ease the burden of running all over wasting time and gas to find the one thing they really want. When after Christmas they can probably get the same thing cheaper because of the after Christmas sales. And I dont have the stress of the shopping.
My son wanted a computer for Christmas, well my desktop computer died earlier this year and we are very lucky to have a close friend that works on computers. He fixed it and did a whole mess of upgrades for a couple hundred. Now it is just like a brand new computer. So I am giving that system to him for Christmas at a huge savings of buying a new one. I am sure he will like it as much as he would a brand new one. Those are a few of the things we do to save money during the holidays, so we can enjoy the holidays without using the credit cards.

Answer Posted by |puddlejmpr

The other answers worth mentioning are:

Answer 2: The most important thing I will be doing this holiday season is to remember what is most important - Family,Friends, and my spirituality. The holidays have gotten (thanks to the retail and advertising in this country) to a point where we have forgotten what they really are about - celebrating and spending time with family and friends.

So - that said - here is what I will be doing to help get through: only spend what I can afford. I have already warned my children not to expect a big Christmas. I am also making many of my presents - Quilts made from scraps I already have. Coupon books that have coupons you made such as Good for one bathroom cleaning etc... are always a good idea. Scrapbooks have always been a favorite in my family. For the kids, buy things they need instead of things they want. Bake candy or cookies, use newspaper or other paper you have around the house instead of buying paper. If you can afford it - buy Christmas lights that have LED bulbs and you will save a fortune in electricity. If you cant afford them, then dont use as many lights or dont have them on as much. One last thought - talk to the people you buy for and tell them you are cutting back - maybe they have the pressure too and you can agree to either not exchange or not spend as much.

Answer Posted by | spatterson_40

Answer 3: We have always emphasized to our kids that Christmas is about giving and not receiving. We have also taught them that it does not matter how much something costs as long as it comes from the heart. So with that being said, we really try to watch things. A lot of times we give homemade items to our friends and neighbors such as cookies, candies, etc. My kids have given people "coupons" good for things from mowing the yard, to free babysitting, etc and have also done that for us...breakfast in bed, back rub, or whatever. In turn we have also done the same with them. Me personally I have written them poems, or given them coupons, and sometimes, just a big ole hug and an I love you. There have been times we have found things at thrift stores (a lot of times clothes with the tags still on them). We also try to set up a budget and not go over. For us.....gifts are not the most important thing.....spending time together as a family is. And celebrating the birth of Jesus. We make a cake, write Happy Birthday Jesus on it, put a candle on it and even sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

To tell a little story... a couple of years ago, my daughter gave me the best gift I could ever have gotten. I had a gift in my stocking, a small square box. I unwrapped it and when I opened the box, there appeared to be nothing in there. I looked at the bottom of the box and it read this box holds all my love, hugs, and kisses for you Mom. The top of the box read Merry Christmas to the Best Mom ever. I have kept that box and to this day.....I dont thing she could top that gift.

Christmas has become too commercial over the years, but we have tried to keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts. This is how we plan to not exceed out budget. Its the giving of ones self and the the receiving of material items that make the holidays special for us.

Answer Posted by | 2nband

Answer 4: I have a multiform approach to saving money and trimming fat, and it starts with an attitude of realistic expectations and unlimited possibilities. Instead of trying to make things perfect, I examine the individuals I am finding gifts for. Perfection at the holidays can mean something different and richer than the scenes from commercials.

Step one: ignore mass media concepts of the holidays. Taking control of your own familys experience helps. Then let go. Allow the needs and desires of others to be your focus, not what you think they should have. Take their top five wishes, get sizes, alternatives, and second choices. Once you have ideas, find the bargains. Use the net, coupons, sales, even newspaper ads and pawn shops can put very nice items into your familys hands for a comfortable price. High-end goods can be found for bargain prices. Purchasing with gift cards you have received but do not need is another way to get the ball rolling, if not for the major gifts, then the supporting items like stocking-stuffers.

Step two: sacrifice. Find fat to trim in your life, and re-examine your purchases as the holidays approach. Proper spending before and during the holidays can ease the financial crunch and make decision-making easier. It also helps to combine things like a free turkey from work with ongoing sales, and stock up ahead of time. Canned goods can be purchased months ahead, and free up money for items that cant be found on sale or discounted. An artificial tree and last years lights will save a bundle, which can be channeled into the gift budget. A little cheaper wrapping paper saves a bit more, and clearance goods-ribbons, wrapping paper- saved through the year will be ready for the tree.

Finally, have an open mind. Imagination and joy are the best parts of the holidays, and both the finest and humblest gifts are made better by the presence of joy. Handling finances properly during these times allows peace and happiness to truly thrive, and families to make more memories and less debt.

Answer Posted by | copperflowerstudios

Answer 5: Well first of all, I think you need to sit down with all your children and explain to them that things are rough all over the world and they should lower their expectation of a bountiful holiday. I think homemade gifts or homemade food gifts are the easiest way to stay under budget. You can always regift items that are still sitting in your closet from years gone by. I think everyone should put emphasis on the fact that everyone in the family is healthy and happy and lucky to be together for the holidays, after all, there are soldiers overseas that will not have the opportunity to be with their families because they are fighting to keep us safe in our land. If you can just put together a good meal for the holidays and enjoy each others presence then you should be happy for all you have. By making personalized gifts, it lets people know that you thought about who they are and did not just pick something up at the cheapest store and not think about them but were just thinking about getting done. I think credit cards should be shredded and no loans to make it thru, just deal with what you have to work with and spread alot of love around. After all the holidays should be about family and love and friendship and not getting into debt just so someone can have a nice gift that costs alot of money.

Answer Posted by | Danell Adams

Answer 6: I will celebrate my holidays shopping around and buying goods where large discounts are available from heavy discount stores.I will stay at home and arrange a get together with family members. I will not go to hotels or restaurant to have gastronomic food but instead cook in our home itself and enjoy them with relatives. I will buy or borrow film CDs and DVDs from friends and watch movies with friends from home. All this i will do, keeping both my income and expense in mind. :)

Answer Posted by | Jackie1227005734

Answer 7: Since when is Holidaying about paying? It is supposed to be about giving. My kids are taught at a young age to give when you can and do when you cant. For example, I used to make homemade candy for Easter Seals and sales would all go to this organization. My daughter took a bunch and ate some and hid the rest in front of her heater and they melted. She was almost four, I told her that I made these to help people and families with disabilities. She said to "give them you monies, mommy." I then told her that "we dont have that much to donate and wanted to give more. So I took my $20 and made 150 lollipops. Now the disabled people would get $150 and that would help them alot more, than just the $20." She was so cute, she went up to her room and came back with her glass piggy and as she got to the last stair she tripped and the piggy went flying. "oh no, what are you doing? dont move!" In between tears (because she broke her piggy) she said, "Mommy you have my piggy monies so I help make lollies for the dis-tabled peoples." If that child does not hav ethe Holiday spirit, I dont know who does.
First of all, know what your budget is before you start. This year I did not even have a budget. I took items that I have had for a while and not been able to do use and got rid of them. I sold them and some hand made scrapbook page layouts on ebay,aint it great. I was able to scrounge up $5oo.
I then decided what my kids really wanted (I have three kids)
And then I watched for sales. *remember it is not the price, it is the thought that matters.
Walmart, Target and Kmart all do price matching. So keep those ads handy. You also have to shop early so you are not guilted (by yourself) into buying more because you could not get that one present somebody really wanted. I spent $320, I was able to save $75 and get my kids the 1 item from on top of each list and several small (I mean cheaper) items that I know they will love. I also got my two neices and nephew a present for $10 each. That still leaves me $150 of the $500 to buy the fixings for homemade goodies and a killer Christmas dinner. By the way the home made goodies are gifts for family and friends as well.
So hubby and I dont get presents, that was never my thing anyways, I just love the look on the kids faces when they open their gifts and just enjoying the comforts of having my loved ones near.

Answer Posted by | joy

Answer 8: My family has a tradition where we only buy gifts for children under 18 years old. For the rest of our family and friends we bake cookies and decorate them. Thrift stores and dollar stores have cute plates and tins you can use to give the cookies on. And planning ahead for next year you can hit up the after Christmas sales for the plates and get them very cheap. I have found that most people LOVE the cookies and have asked year after year if we will be doing it again. We have even developed a cookie decorating party night where we invite frinds and family to join us in making the cookies and they keep the ones they decorate. Its fun for the kids, the receipients love the cookies and it is SO affordable!

Answer Posted by | Brandy1227115055

Answer 9: I started in early October, saving for the holidays. Each payday I bought several items I need for Thanksgiving. I got coupons for most of the items, but little by little, I have almost everything I need for Thanksgiving, except last minute stuff.

As far as Christmas, I have done the same thing. I have gone to stores that have lay away and put toys for step-grandkids, and other items in. During that layaway, on the third week of it, I started another laway.

I also went to the dollar store and picked up a few things each payday. They have a Goodwill store near here that is great. They have bag sales, for the price of a bag, you can fill it up. I got 3 hoodies,5 tops and 3 kids outfits, that look new, for $13.00.

The reason I do this is because it wont be such a burden come the holidays. We also cut way back on gift giving last year. We do it for the kids, mainly.

We still have garage sales going here, the weather has been nice. I found a Spiderman outfit that still had the tags on it-thirty bucks,got it for five dollars, which included a hoodie, shirt and pants. The holidays are all about family anyway, so we dont make it a crazy time, just being together and making memories.

Answer Posted by | Bossy4455

Answer 10: Dont go anywhere. Stay at home. Invite your friends over.

Answer Posted by | donna colman

Answer 11: you can buy cheap stuff make a list on the things you need to buy before you go to the store go to a cheaper store than what you usely would go to look for bargens at the store and dont buy things you dont need only the things one the list

Answer Posted by | crystal koerber

Answer 12: STAY AT HOME , COOK WITH YOUR FAMLY AND MAKE HOMEMADE CORNBREAD,HOMEMADE GRAVY,HOMEMADE YUMS HOMEMADE CHICHEN DRESSING AND ALSO HOMEMADE CAKES AND PIES, WE DO THAT EVERY YEAR AROUND BY THIS DOING THE HOLIDAYS AND IT IS WORTH THE COOK AND WORTH THE FUN, BECAUSE YOU DONT HAVE TO SPEND A FORTUNE TO MAKE A HOMEMADE TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY MEALS.

Answer Posted by | SWACELLA

Answer 13: Stay on a budget for breakfast and lunch at work. On the weekends plan to attend functions with the money saved during the week. For gifts bake cookies or bread, wrap in holiday paper from the $1 store. Give something you would accept such as candy bags with holiday ribbons. Small gifts are just as much appreciated by people who love you as big gifts. Also, baking is something done with care and love. Lets not confuse the holiday of time spent together with a desire to spend money you dont have.

Answer Posted by | Glenda1225748021

Answer 14: For this holiday season, my children and I will do craft projects for the grandparents. There are several web sites to help with ideas. We will be baking for other friends and relatives. As for the children they are picking one item that is special, I have arranged to buy these early. I will also utilize Black Friday and cyber Monday for last minutes deals.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Answer Posted by | Michelle1225903386

Answer 15: Holidays are about families and friends being together. You do not have to spend a lot of money to be together. My family always gets together for the holidays and everyone will bring a dish so everyone spends at the most $20 each. Which you would spend on a regular day for dinner if not more. And then there is the time you are spending together that is worth more than anything you could buy at an outragously priced store at the mall. And the gifts you give should be from the heart not the wallet!

Answer Posted by | Teresa1225944714

Answer 16: I guess the best way to avoid exceeding budget is looking at Christmases past. Christmas was never about huge amounts of presents, it was about family. We will concentrate on cookies and the tree and doing these things ourselves, the traditions of the season. We have already started telling the kids that Christmas wont be as extravagant as last year and that Christmas isnt about presents, that its a time for family and being glad for have what we have. The younger kids have been told that even Santa is cutting back a bit this year. My husband\\\s from Australia and they have Boxing day (the day after Christmas) and that\\\s for \\\boxing up\\\ all the stuff we dont need to give to charity. The kids love the idea that we can celebrate a holiday of Daddy\\\s and giving to someone else since they have so much and others have so little. My husband and I have agreed not to get each other anything to save that money for the kids. I would LOVE nothing more than to get them anything they want, but we\\\ve been telling them for a month or so now to pick either one large thing or a few smaller things that they REALLY want to ask Santa for. Also, the Dollar store is great for stocking stuffers. I\\\ve been hoarding stuff from there for months, and picking stuff up at Consignment shops (where they wont take anything that doesnt look brand new) that the kids have expressed interest in.

Answer Posted by | Beth1226193531

Answer 17: I plan to reduce the clutter in my home and sell what I can through selling on ebay and putting in larger items through the want ads.

Answer Posted by | Stefanie Cox

Answer 18: You most stay on your budget- make a list of essentials before you leave home and do coubons. Stick strictly to your list. You will be supprised on how little you spend by cutting coubons. That way you will not go over budget. I have never made a list or cut coubons, but now I do, with the economic situation. Thus so far has worked for me.

Answer Posted by | felciia ogbeni

Answer 19: It is at times hard to be in ones budget when you would like to celebrate your holidays.What we need to do is first chalk out a plan that will help us have an estimate for the expenses and then work with the finances that we have. We will have to get those things that are really important and those things needs to be cut short that is not mandatory. If we can workout the plans that way it will be very easy and the holiday will be celebrated happily.

Because you will always thing by the end of the holiday that you have not exceeded your budget and do not have to face any financial crisis.

Answer Posted by | Tom

Answer 20: There is a common saying that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Holidays are meant for rejuvenating and letting your hair down. It does not mean that I will become a spendthrift. Prior to planning a holiday, the most important thing is not to fall prey to the holiday hangover. We generally have an idea as to how we intend to spend the holidays. This is because we have been doing so over the years. Consequently we also know how much money we may have to spend for the same. I would have saved some money every month so that I could use it for the holidays depending on how much we will require for the holidays. I would have done this after meeting the minimum financial obligations every month. The amount which I intend to keep aside can be accommodated by minimizing the unnecessary expenses every month. For instance, if I can settle for a less expensive perfume, I would opt for that instead of spending a fortune for a small bottle of perfume. After all it is a matter of balancing your expenses. In other words, the essence is compromising on something small for a greater cause.

Answer Posted by | Denzel

Answer 21: Make a list of things you need for food and gifts. Then shop around at grocery stores for the best deals on food and cut coupons for additional savings. Gifts shop around for savings on supplies to make gifts for people. On the gifts that you cant make shop around at different stores and on line for the best deals. Plus one side of my family draws names for the adults and then only need to buy for the kids.

Answer Posted by | spatte

Answer 22: Celebrate being with family and friends by inviting them over and relaxing with each other. What most people want is the personal connection, not necessarily gifts. ONLY PAY CASH FOR WHATEVER PRESENTS YOU DO BUY. We have been doing this for the last six years and are never stressed when January rolls around.

Answer Posted by | Kathy Wood

Answer 23: I am setting a budget per person and looking for sales to stay within that budget. I will also be making gifts instead of buying them.

Answer Posted by | deebsm66

Answer 24: I do a lot of browsing on the internet as well as local store ads to find the best/lowest prices on the items I am looking for.
I am keeping my gift giving to a low/reasonable amount.
Given the state of the economy, my family and friends are well aware that we all have to cut back on our holiday spending.
I also find that making gifts can not only be cheaper, but more appreciated by the receiver-just because you took the time to make it.
All of my food is home made also.
No store or bakery bought items. Besides saving money, it preserves the holiday and family traditions.

Answer Posted by | kak213

Answer 25: Our family that meets for Christmas consists of eleven people. We all used to buy gifts for everyone, which not only took a couple of hours to open, but put a strain on everyones wallet! (Not to mention all the time spent running around shopping.) Last year, for the first time, we just decided to draw names at Thanksgiving, and spend $50 for Christmas on that one person we drew. Since many of us dont see each other throughout the year, its the getting together, catching up, eating, and chatting by the fireplace that really counts and is truly what matters at Christmastime - not how much money we spend or how many gifts we get. Then we dont have all the credit card bills afterwards, either!

Answer Posted by | SusieQ

Answer 26: Shop sales. Take anyone off your list that is not super important to you. Set a limit of so much per person and so much over all and stick to it. Mail the Christmas card with the gift.

Answer Posted by | Lisa Oray

Answer 27: take the family on a hoiday throough a travel agency that books at discount rates such as angels&answerstravel.com thru ytb travel network with an all-inclusive package within budget and skip the stress and money hassle because everything will be paid up front and everyone will enjoy a memorable time as well as videos to come for years instead of having a lot of things that only get destroyed or lost. Re-connect the family

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[color=Red:f72dc6627a]*Personal details deleted as per TOS - Jason[/color:f72dc6627a]

Answer Posted by | sharon bost

Answer 28: Easy to make, get materials from Dollar Tree or some other Dollar store. Buy $1 frames. Adorn them with gems and beading, or glitter/glitter pens you can also get at the dollar store and put personal photos in them. Buy small photo books, put personal photos in. Decorate and give them to your loved ones wrapped in various wrappings, such as the comics out of a newspaper, scraps of materials you have left from a project, provided they are big enough; or leftover christmas paper from last year. There are LOTS of things you can buy at Dollar Tree and make various gifts. I have made a candleholder with a 7" fish bowl scalloped at the top, a $1 bag of colored stones, put in the bottom, a tea light, nestled in the stones, a strip of colored ribbon on the outside rim, hot glued at the top, with a hot glued rose on top of ribbon. They are beautiful and I gave them as wedding gifts, with their names and date glitter penned on the outside as well.

Answer Posted by | Mary Coram

Answer 29: Spend your money wisely, only purchase what you will need and not what you like.

Answer Posted by | njazzy46

Answer 30: I can think of several ways that would be fantastic debt relievers. You can of course make presents by hand and give mini presents (ie: I know you always wanted a corvette so here it is! and a great little model or toy corvette) But the best way to celebrate, truely celebrate is to give your spouse or other family member who is in the war on debt with you, the receipt from a paid off bill as a present. Take the $$s you had budgeted for their present and use it to pay down or pay off a bill.

Answer Posted by | Catherine McDonald

Answer 31: In my experience, Christmas is always when i end up messing up. It is the time I usually took my payday loans out (sadly, it was also usually after I finished paying off last years!), its the time I feel the need to buy great gifts for people who were kind enough to lend me money, etc.
I love shopping for other people and making them happy with wonderful presents. But, these days it has to stop. I set aside an amount that I can afford to spend. And its pretty small. I plan on writing thoughtful, heartful cards to go with thoughtful, heartful gifts. I am spending time as opposed to money. I plan on knitting my father a blanket, a present I have not given him since I was a teenager (and something I know he will personally treasure!) Thats about all the handiwork I know how to do but I have learned that a little bit of effort goes a long way into making holidays special. Scented candles and baked cookies will bring more magic into the air. Great memories of a magical holiday will last far longer than any present anyway.

Answer Posted by | bea2ls

Answer 32: We, me and my wife with my little damsel, make a rough plan of what we are going to do in the coming Christmas at the beginning of the year. To meet this end I and my wife save USD 25 each every week through out the year and put it in a separate envelope. We also urge our little sweetheart to make her own contribution to this kitty make Christmas merrier. Thus, at the time of X-mas our family celebrates it merrily without having to recede in debt.

Answer Posted by | phoenix

Answer 33: By doing it the old fashion way make by hand one gift for one member of the family. If noone is good at making anything then take the budget and divide it by the number of people in the residence. Also dont buy for friends simply tell them that christmas is short and ask if a "present" can be something simplly done such as washing a car or doing their laundry. Finally, dont buy for outside family such as the husband or wifes caregivers. Usually the just want the pleasure of their childrens company for the holidays. Not as a eat a meal and leave quickly, stay around visit with them for awhile.

Answer Posted by | cryptwalker2002

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