Santa's Little Saver

Christmas Budget
Photo By Ann Marie Wilson

Dear Advice Town,

Christmas is so expensive! How do I party, maintain my good will, make everyone happy, and make it to New Year’s Eve without losing my bankroll?
Thank you, I got you nothing.

Welcome to the season of sacrifice! Is that a twinkle in your eye or a tear forming from your credit card being declined? Oh, but think of the joy which will slather their sweet cherub faces just before your gift inevitably reaches the junk drawer, Goodwill pile, and last but not least for the lazy not deceased, the TRASH CAN.
It’s rough ridin through the holidays without a financial plan. Check out my buddy's website You can finally get your finances together this season, so you won't be in this mess next year. 
For those of us who still get a high from finding loose change in the back seat of our Honda Civics, sit back, have a snack, and hear me out.
Saying I love you this time of year doesn’t mean shelling out your last Benny to Nordstrom’s. There are many ways to show you care without losing your mean green vacation-funding machine. Take notes, take action, and you will still be able to buy a hot new outfit (from XXI, don’t get crazy now) and drink someone else’s champagne this New Year’s Eve.
Here are a few ways you can save your presidents:
This is a Christmas Day classic! This has to be my all time favorite budget-balancing gift. It is inexpensive, it could possibly pay off massively, and it gives the whole family an exhilarating thrill just before the scratch off!
*Obviously avoid this strategy if the recipient has a gambling problem.
When I hit the streets of social media to ask people how they cut cash corners at Christmas, my good friend replied almost instantaneously “make your gifts!” So, this suggestion is hitting high on my “Save for Our Savior” list.
I must admit, as an adult I am truly astounded and appreciative of someone who creates even the easiest of timeless treats for me. Their gift represents a forfeit of time, which is a precious commodity in the adult world. So hone one of your many talents and apply yourself to a crafty budget and a simple art project.

My bestie created a booklet of coupons for her boyfriend a couple of Christmas's ago. She colored it with chores around the house, and romantic gestures such as cooking dinner, a shoulder rub, etc. He could cash those coupons in at his Christmas whim. So be a do-gooder this season! You know what they say! Charity starts at home.

Listen, in big families, babies be having babies, be having babies! If your plan is to buy each individual a gift, back up the turnip truck. ONE GIFT PER FAMILY! When those scratch offs shower you with riches you can buy Tonka trucks made of gold. Until then, purchase something affordable that will bring the family together this year.

Sport that look of disgust and clutch your pearls if you must, but many of us live in a world of abundance. Whether or not we choose to acknowledge our fortune, we have items that are still in boxes. We have items that are tagged, bagged, and still looking for a good home. We have items barely used that are begging to be gussied up in Santa wrapping, bright red bows, and carefully placed under a loved one’s tree. So start scouting out your walk ins ladies and gentlemen.

There are some top-notch treasures in that fluorescent-lit cluster trunk. The best part is that no one has to know your bought and borrowed little secret. So shut it up, wrap it up, slap a bow on it, and sign the damn “From: To:” tag.

There’s a bitterness in the realization that you cannot afford a gift which crushes every other gift’s existence, deems you the almighty BEST GIFT GIVER EVER, and lights up your loved ones like a Christmas tree rolled in lights, tinsel, and neon.

The cold snowball of truth is that your mission this season is to give your loved ones a little token to say I love you and I’ve been thinking about you. That can easily be a phone call, a hug, or a heartfelt card. 

If you are buying for someone very close, show that you have put a little effort into the details of your gift. This conveys that you will put a lot of effort into your future relationship together. Hard times should not be confused with lazy times. You may be broke but you are not dumb. Be observant when it comes to what your loved one may need this Christmas season. If you can't afford it, show that special person that you are listening by devising a creative solution and reinforcing that you care about their happiness.
Stuff! STUFF! STUFF! It saturates our world and ends up collecting dust and slowly suffocating us. If you must purchase, buy something small, useful, and with heartfelt intention. Be kind to yourself, and don’t hammer your head against the hearth because you can’t buy him or her that diamond bedazzled Bentley.

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