Stop gobbling through food budgets.
Create your holiday menus and shopping list in advance, take the list with you to the grocery store, and don't go shopping on an empty stomach! That way you'll stay on target and not be seduced by every pretty package on the shelf. (You might also save calories!)
Decorate your own wrap.
Save on expensive papers by encouraging your children to make their own wrapping paper. Collect stamps, stickers, crayons, etc., and let them express themselves on brown paper bags. Friends and family will appreciate the personal touch!
Give the license to enjoy.
Cut down on shopping time and extravagant spending by giving targeted gift certificates. Consider what the recipient would love and personalize it: a back massage, a trip to the movies with mom, a special seaweed pedicure, or a fun-with-me pass for a picnic in the park. Remember that your "presence" in your gifts is priceless.
Flower power on the cheap.
Save on expensive flower arrangements by making them yourself
. Use unusual vases you can find around the house, such as an egg colander or silk purse.
Go natural. Don't go crazy at the craft store
: All the natural elements you need, such as branches, berries, holly, and pine cones, can be found in nearby woods, or possibly your own backyard.
Give the tree of life.
Research your family tree online and create your personal Ancestry Tree
as a gift to mom and dad, or the grandparents. You can do most of the research online, and if your ancestors came through Ellis Island
, you might even discover the boat they came on!
Food for love.
Type up your favorite cookie recipe, add a personal story, and put all the unbaked ingredients in a basket or jar to be given as a gift. If you don't have your own cookie recipe, use one of ours
Make this a teetotaling year. Serving alcohol at parties can wipe out a limited budget fast. Anyway, these days, many people are abstaining completely or obsessed about carbs. Make your nonalcoholic drinks original and tasty, like our Spritely Ghost Punch
. Or, make the alcohol simply a splash, for example, in coffee-based drinks