Sunday, December 12, 2010

10 Ways to Save on the Holidays

Sharon O'Brien, a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon, wrote an article for on how to save money for the holidays.  This year many people's budget is tighter, but that doesn't mean this holiday needs to be short on holiday cheer.  Below are 10 tips Sharon suggest to get started.

1. Make your own ornaments.  This can be fun to do with the entire family.  Just be creative and use materials like popcorn, flour dough and food coloring, paper, yarn or whatever your family can imagine.
2.Travel smart.  Sign up for airfare alerts sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, or Travelocity.  If your not fly consider carpooling  and share expenses.
3. Share the expense of the holiday meal. Ask everyone to bring  a favorite dish.  This way the expense of the meal is not on one person or family.
4. Secret Santa.  Have everyone pick an adults name that will be their Secret Santa.  That way everyone will only have to buy one gift for the adults. You can all agree on a cost for the gift.  Have parents make up a wish list and clothes sizes for the children and agree to only buy for the children.  Make sure the children get what they truly need, a toy, and of course a BOOK. The adults can agree on what they will get for each child.
5. Look for bargains.  Make sure you are looking for the sales.  Also, shop the search engines like Bing or Google and coupons. There are plenty of bargains out the if you know what you are looking for.
6. Look for free activities. There are many free activities your family can go to.  Some examples would be school play, pageants, sporting events, church programs, tree lighting ceremonies, parades, and carolers.
7. Give the gift of Good Cheer. Instead of buying gifts for everyone have a wonderful potluck dinner instead. Make it a fun time to feast and spend time together.
8. Shop around for your tree. You can bargain with the tree seller.  If you can wait a week or two before Christmas the prices drop.
9. Save Energy. Skip the outdoor lights this year.  Also, cut the number of hours the tree lights are on.  Finally, purchase LED lights.  They may cost more, but use 90% less energy.
10. Plan now for next year. Holiday theme gifts, wrapping paper, decorations, dishes, cards, will be 50% off right after Christmas.


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