Third Day of Christmas

Bread n molasses pic 006 Christmas on a Shoe-String Budget when your String is Frayed and your Shoes have Holes in Them

by Angela McAffee

I’m not rich yet. I tried to pretend to be middle class for awhile but they threw me back when they realized I couldn’t afford a PVR. Needless to say, I’ve learned some tips and tricks on getting creative with Christmas. Here’s my top three:

1) Make a list – stick to it!
If you get bored and stop reading right now, if you have the memory of a goldfish and only remember one thing — remember this–make a list. Stick to it. If you’re still with me, I have a couple more tips.

2) Don’t use your credit cards:
Unless you can pay it off within 30 days. That new gadget your teenaged son just has to have will be obsolete in a few months. That outfit your daughter’s been dying to have? Out of fashion by spring. You know what’s not out of fashion? Sticking to a budget, actually saying no to the little ones every once in awhile. Don’t let the commercials get to you. You are not a bad parent if you don’t get them the new Nintendo DSI or that new cell phone with keyboard texting capability. They will survive. So will you. “Oh, but that’s what Christmas is all about!” I can hear you saying. No, its not. I think we’ve all seen the “Grinch who Stole Christmas”, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Scrooge.” I don’t need to re-preach that old tale. But its old for a reason – these kinds of stories endure because they’re true. It’s our job to make sure our children know it too. Which leads me to my third tip…

3) Homemade gifts aren’t just for kids:
Why don’t you engage the kids in helping you make some home-made gifts? You will save money, spend quality time with your kids, and teach them the value of a gift that comes from the heart, instead of the wallet. Now that’s an efficient way to spend time and not money! Some good ideas are baking cookies, making apple cider, chocolate balls, throw them in a basket you can buy at the dollar store and voila! Instant gift. Don’t have the time you say? It doesn’t have to be done all at once, treats like that will freeze until you are ready to put them all together!

If you can do just one of these things this Christmas you are well on your way to being at one with the true spirit of Christmas, and having a stress-free January billing period. Like Mark Twain says, “Always do right. You’ll gratify some and astonish the rest.”