Monday

Top Tips for cutting Christmas expenses

Each year we carefully plan our Christmas gift list and almost always we find that it has grown from the prior year. We are all interested in saving money, regardless of our personal financial situation. Here are some quick and easy tips for cutting Christmas expenses:

  • Yankee Swaps - This is especially helpful if you are part of a large family. Rather than trying to purchase gifts for each individual brother and sister, consider putting everyone's name on a piece of paper and have each person draw a name. Set a limit on how much you will spend. If your brothers and sisters have children, consider including the older ones (usually late teens is th
    e best time) in this. Talk among yourselves and determine if your parents will be included in the swap or if you'll each buy them separate gifts. If you feel the need to purchase something for the ones you don't "draw" then make a small donation in your family name to a charity that everyone supports.
  • eBay - If you have a limited budget and you want to get high quality merchandise you can find some great bargains on eBay. This is a great resource for cutting Christmas expenses. Make sure before you order any merchandise that you carefully check the shipping and handling costs. These can add up quickly and you may soon find you are paying more for something than if you purchased the same item in a store.
  • Handmade gifts - There are countless items that you can give as handmade gifts, even if you don't have any special crocheting or knitting experience. You can create food baskets, fruit baskets, stockings filled with treats, and the list goes on endlessly. You are limited only by your imagination when you elect to create a gift basket as a means of cutting Christmas expenses.
  • Consignment shops - If you are looking for a unique gift for someone don't overlook consignment shops as a way of cutting Christmas expenses. These treasure troves often have rare items such as tea cups, fine china, collectibles of all sorts for very reasonable prices. This is especially helpful for those people on your list who are hard to buy for.
  • Dollar stores - While most people laugh at the idea of shopping at dollar stores, they can be a great source for fun gifts. For example, you can purchase coffee mugs, statutes, hard candy and a myriad of other items that can be used for small gifts for people who you need to buy for. Consider purchasing a coffee mug and filling it with hard candy, a couple of lottery tickets and wrap it in colorful paper and it is the ideal gift for a co-worker.
  • Potlucks - Holiday celebrations can accrue significant costs if you are the host. Consider having a potluck supper (or weekend luncheon) at your home to celebrate Christmas with your friends.  Potluck meals are fun, you can pick a theme and you can do a Yankee Swap to help cut Christmas expenses.
There are hundreds of small tips for cutting Christmas expenses. These are just a few of them and they will help you enjoy the opportunity to give worthwhile gifts without breaking the bank. The holidays are a time of giving but you certainly do not want to find yourself going into the new year with extra debt and worrying about how to pay for your Christmas expenses.

Friday

Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend

With the number of potential Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend, you might be wondering where you should start. There is always the usual gift, a shirt, a tie or even a pair of jeans that you hope will be the right gift.

There are hundreds of ideas that you can consider today that you might not have thought about a few years ago that bear some thinking about - gifts that will please him and not break the bank!

  • Car detailing - how often does your boyfriend get a chance to really clean his car thoroughly? A great Christmas gift idea for your boyfriend (or other man in your life) is a gift certificate for a free car detailing. You have the opportunity to make one of his favorite toys the centerpiece of your Christmas gift.
  • Romantic dinner - instead of waiting for your boyfriend to ask you out for a romantic dinner for two, consider a romantic dinner at home. Pick all of his favorite foods, a great bottle of wine (or champagne), set the mood with candles and special china and you have a romantic dinner for two.
  • Gadgets - there are very few men who do not have a love affair with electronic gadgets. Perhaps he has had his eye on a digital camera, a Digital Video Recorder or even a brand new computer monitor. All of these are great Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend.
  • Sports fans - if your boyfriend is a sports fan then chances are that you can get great tickets for his favorite sport as a great Christmas gift. Another idea to go along with this is a "tailgate" pack that includes all his favorite snacks and beverages. This provides your boyfriend with a gift to open on Christmas morning as well as the opportunity to enjoy the gift the day of the game.
  • Meal packs - most men love to eat. Consider a batch of home-made gift certificates offering your boyfriend one home cooked meal a month of his choice (or your choice). This can be a rather unique Christmas gift idea for your boyfriend and one that both of you can enjoy throughout the year. You could even provide the certificates with a "themed" night for instance Chinese Food Night, Mexican Food Night, etc. and make it even more fun for both of you.

Whether you are thinking about spending less than $50 or more than $200 you can still find the perfect Christmas gift for your boyfriend. Consider these options and you could even combine a few of them. It is easy to have some fun with a Christmas gift that is personal and that provides more than one opportunity to enjoy well after Christmas.