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4 ways to not go broke this Christmas


December 01, 2015

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Christmas time is such a magical time of year, but it can also be an expensive time of year. Between buying gifts, decorations, food and all the different Christmas related activities, it can really be hard on the budget. Here are 4 ways to help you still have a magical Christmas, but not break the bank:
 
1. Trim the expensive tree out of your budget
    There is nothing that says Christmas more than sitting under the lights of the Christmas tree. It is where you put your presents and hang your beloved Christmas ornaments. So what do you do when you cannot afford a tree?
    One option is to use a plant you already own. If you have a live or fake plant that is big enough to double as a Christmas tree, use it. Spruce it up with lights and ornaments and if you can, drape a Christmas tree skirt around the pot it is in. It may not be the real deal, but it can be a cost effective alternative.
    Another idea: Make your own tree. Use decorative paper to cut out a Christmas tree and tape it to your wall, or outline a tree in Christmas lights.
    The main idea is try to be creative; you do not have to get a real 6-foot tree just because that is the tradition. Do what works for your family and your budget.
 
2. Lighting up your home 
    Christmas lights are always a fun tradition, but they can cause a big increase to your electric bill.
    Instead of having a big light display this year, replace the lights you already use with holiday colors. Inside your house, string up holiday lights and use those instead of your regular lamps to light your home. It brings a nice festive glow to your home without using more electricity than you normally would.
    If you really want to see some holiday lights, take a night to check out the lights in your neighborhood. You still get to enjoy Christmas lights without breaking the bank.
 
3. Give the gift of time
    Instead of buying gifts this year, try giving of yourself instead. Here are some fun and easy ideas: shovel your neighbor’s walkway, handwrite a note of appreciation to someone, offer to babysit for free, clean your sister’s house top to bottom, wash your brother’s laundry for a month, teach your friend how to make your world-famous cookies, or give them 10 free piano lessons.
    All of these ideas will cost you next to nothing, but they are things that are unique and special.
    You may be hesitant to give something free, but I know I would much rather have someone clean my house from top to bottom then get something I don’t really need.

4. Don’t spend a dime on your Christmas activities   
    There are so many wonderful events that go on during the Christmas season, including: concerts, parties, events with Santa Clause, and the list goes on. A lot of these activities can cost you a pretty penny, but there are also a lot of holiday activities that cost nothing at all. 
    There are several tree lighting ceremonies at local malls and outlet centers that have live performances, free cocoa, and even a visit from Santa that do not cost a thing.
    If you want to go to some holiday concerts, pay attention to your local school’s schedule. High school choirs and bands always have a holiday concert around this time of year, and most (if not all) are free to attend. It is a great way to get your holiday music fix while supporting your local community.
    The bottom line is; you can still have a magical Christmas season without going broke.
 
    It is easy to get lost in the excitement of the season and ignore your budget, but most of us end up regretting that when the season is over. Plan ahead for what you really want to spend your money on, then use some of these budget friendly ideas for the rest of your holiday needs.

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