60: The “Buy Nothing” Christmas

This is a novel but necessary concept for many people in this economic climate. Forced by circumstance (lay-off, bankruptcy, foreclosure, health problems, other catastrophes,) many Americans will be having a “Buy Nothing” Christmas, or at least a “Buy a WHOLE LOT LESS” Christmas this year.

Even if you aren’t under tremendous economic pressure, there are many ways to save or spend very little this holiday season.

  1. Holiday meals – In your meal planning, go a little lighter on the calorie load. If you want to splurge on Christmas, but stay within your normal budget, plan extremely frugal meals around the holidays. Breakfasts and lunches can be your real money-savers. Learn to make real oatmeal! Flavor with milk and jam or honey. For lunch, pasta dishes are some of the most low-cost meals you can make. Burritos or wraps are great lunch alternatives, too. A great dinner is homemade soup and homemade bread!
  2. Cards – Make your own. It’s just silly to spend $3-5 on a card at Hallmark!
  3. Wrapping paper – Use brown craft paper or plain white paper to wrap gifts. Use twine or raffia to tie up the package. If you are a stamper, let your imagination run wild! Make a matching card! Kids love to decorate gifts with markers and stickers, too.
  4. Have a potluck dinner with friends. Spend what you would’ve on dinner anyway.
  5. Adopt a “no gifts” policy for the adults and focus on the kids.

You can still have a wonderful Christmas without blowing your budget! Start planning now!

Photo courtesy of Joshua Davis. Thanks!

96: Wrapping Paper Inventory

Today is easy. Get your box of wrapping paper down and take a quick inventory. This is a great job for the kids!

I have an inventory sheet for you and it’s available in 2 formats. Choose one below and print.

Remember, this is not rocket science! It’s giftwrap! This is just a quick check to see how much you really need to buy when they start filling the stores in the next few weeks. I ought to do this every once in a while with everything I have so I don’t overbuy. Haven’t you ever bought a case of something because you needed it, then not long after you bought another case because you couldn’t remember what you had, or you’d needed the item for so long that you automatically think, “Hey, we always need paper towels!” That’s when I end up having to store 2 cases of paper towels!

Make a note of what you really need, and keep it with you in your PDA, purse, planner, smartphone, etc., and refer to it when running into pre-season sales. You can also use this for all of your other holiday wrapping. Some things you need all the time like tape, scissors, tissue paper, boxes, etc. Keep stocked up so you don’t end up spending $10 on an emergency wrapping job. Being smart about this gives you more money to spend on the gifts or other goodies! Have fun!