Controlling Your Holiday Spending - Last Minute Shoppers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Controlling Your Holiday Spending - Last Minute Shoppers

Secret Snowflake
If you have a large group of friends, it can get extremely costly to make sure each member has a stocking stuffer. Why not get together and do a nice, old-fashioned Secret Snowflake. Put everyone’s name in a hat, and each pick one. The person you choose is your Secret Snowflake. Devise a group budget of no more that $25, or so, and now all you have to do is buy one gift for that one person. Try to personalize it - it’s always nicer that way – and breathe easy knowing you have drastically cut down your holiday shopping. Another option is to do a grab bag, where everyone buys a gift (again at a set budget) and during one of the many holiday gatherings, a grab bag is conducted. Here, all the gifts go in a bag and each member literally dips into the bag to pick out their gift. By the way, trading is allowed!

One Gift Per Family
If you have a large family and an extended family and a family of friends, you know how hard it is to cover all bases. How about designating one gift per family unit? If you have four siblings, who are all married with kids, not to mention your parents who are divorced and remarried, plus your friend Sara who married your other friend Bob, that’s a lot of individual presents to buy – and that’s a lot of money. Instead, get one present for your sister and her husband and kids, one present for your dad and stepmom (and her child from a previous marriage), one present for Sara and Bob, etc. Your nieces and nephews and cousins will understand. Hint: Try to make the gifts something that the whole family can enjoy, such as DVDs, cookware, candles or bath accessories. They will love you for it!

Party
One way to give everyone you love a great memory is to give a great party! Spend the money you normally would on gifts by throwing a holiday bash instead! This could take place before Christmas or for the New Year. Make sure to have great food, interesting drinks and festive decorations. Then surprise everyone by making a toast somewhere in the middle of the bash, telling all of your guests how much you care about them. In fact, why not use this opportunity to single out your friends and share with everyone why they are close to your heart. Memories last a lifetime!!

Gift Certificates
Gift Certificates are a great way to manage your finances while allowing your loved ones to pick out their own version of the perfect present. You can personalize a gift certificate by picking stores that cater to your loved ones’ interests – have a friend who loves the outdoors? Have a cousin who is into the latest fashion trend? Is your mom obsessed with beauty products? There’s a store for everything, and almost all of them offer gift certificates. SO set a limit and buy a gift certificate - even if it is only for a few dollars, it will make it easier for your friends to buy something they will love!

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