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EBIDOS's Photo EBIDOS Posts: 60
12/24/09 11:19 P

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I've shopped around for about six months getting items on sale for the kids so total Christmas spending was $100.00. (re-used bows from last year - taped them on.)

I cleaned out the garage and using Craig's List, Amazon and eBay my husband and I have made $2,000.00, the rest of the items I couldn't liquidate are being saved and marked for a garage sale.

On the downside I lost my job this year. I thought it might really get us into financial trouble but thankfully both me and my new husband are fiscally tight wads - so far so good. We hope to use the money we're earning to move to a financially better region.

:-)

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PATTYCAKE49's Photo PATTYCAKE49 Posts: 9,273
12/23/09 8:54 P

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Two family members died this year, so no one really wants to exchange presents this year. I got people presents because I wanted to do so, however, not much.

.•*´¨ ) ¸.•*¨) -:¦:-
(¸.•´(¸ ;.•Patty
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He is only a prayer away!



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INKEDSHUTTERBUG SparkPoints: (0)
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12/22/09 8:19 A

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I only bought two gifts this year for my youngest niece and nephew.

I have been slowly squirreling away baking supplies and the Christmas dinner essentials as they came on sale, picked up a nice red table cloth for two bucks at the dollar store yesterday to finish it off.

I baked pretty much everything from scratch I could to save money; pies, cakes, perogies, cookies.

My brother is bringing the turkey, my best friend is bringing the wine and beer, and I'm cooking up a feast for my two favorite men.

I'm babysitting my niece and nephew today, gonna get them to help me make some decorations for the tree and make sure the cookies taste right.

Probably one of my least expensive years yet, but I told everyone money was tight ahead of time and asked them if they wanted to get me something, just make it a card.



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RODYANNE SparkPoints: (13,040)
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12/20/09 4:11 P

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Hi, I decided not to give gifts this year at Christmas time. Instead I donated my gift money to non-profits of my choice who are struggling in this economy.
Rodyanne

Edited by: RODYANNE at: 12/20/2009 (16:12)
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WIDOWCALI Posts: 199
12/15/09 9:57 A

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With all the running around this season, work and school, I haven't had a chance to do my usual holiday stuff. I love to decorate for Xmas and Halloween, and I just did not do that this year. But one thing I do every year, that I started a few years ago, is my yearly donations. I split them up, do half in Jan/Feb and the other half in December. December is usually the Christmas Angel program, dropping stuff off at the local animal shelter, and dropping stuff off at the Salvation Army or a local women's shelter. The other half is money to my charities. It's a nice feelign.

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COOPERD44's Photo COOPERD44 Posts: 1,498
12/14/09 11:26 P

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The cards worked well. However as we drove around delivering, we saw many more people that we needed to include. It was good even for the poopy teenagers.

NEVERTHELESS, I KNOW IN WHOM I HAVE TRUSTED. (II Nephi 4:19)

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SWTRED65's Photo SWTRED65 Posts: 347
12/14/09 8:06 P

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Riding around in various communities viewing holiday light displays is still a great idea for bonding and is economical (note, the kids are 4 and 6).

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COOPERD44's Photo COOPERD44 Posts: 1,498
12/11/09 7:59 A

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We made cards for our neighborhood/church friends. To personalize them even more, I have the idea to have everyone in the family (wife & 4 children) write adjectives (or phrases) of what they love about that family. I hope it will be good for them and the recipients to remind us of how BLESSED we are with friends!!!!

NEVERTHELESS, I KNOW IN WHOM I HAVE TRUSTED. (II Nephi 4:19)

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2011 Salt Lake City Marathon 4:19:41
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2011-Top of Utah Marathon 4:35:38


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NUTTE1's Photo NUTTE1 Posts: 108
12/10/09 8:44 A

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Thanks for the reminders! We did make one switch though...MORE Christmas cards! Now that the boys are growing, they are good ways to stay in touch without buying present or 'getting together' over a meal with every group of close friends, etc. So Christmas cards have actually SAVED us money AND time...but then again, we have never been normal! lol

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CAROL3SAN's Photo CAROL3SAN Posts: 20,162
12/9/09 7:47 P

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Now that I am a retired widow, there is no way I can afford to buy very many gifts this year. Since I have several lovely gifts that were given to me over a period of years, I plan to recycle the ones I can. I just have to be careful that no one will be able to recognize that it is a recycled gift.
Blessings to all
Carolyn emoticon

Edited by: CAROL3SAN at: 12/9/2009 (19:47)

"You never know just how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"
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JOY_IS_LOSING's Photo JOY_IS_LOSING Posts: 559
12/2/09 12:44 P

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Great video! Definitely shifting focus back to Christ this year where it belonged all the time. Something about not having money for gifts puts the whole thing in perspective. I think about trying to buy things and realize I am giving to people who really have everything they need. Not this year. Thanks for sharing.

emoticon Joy

Ps. 34:5 "Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy."

Healthy again in 2010!

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MEG2BTHIN's Photo MEG2BTHIN Posts: 363
12/1/09 7:07 A

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BHSKITTYKATT - Wonderful, sweet ideas!

"You can write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You can trod me in the very dirt but still like dust... I rise". - Maya Angelou


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MEG2BTHIN's Photo MEG2BTHIN Posts: 363
12/1/09 7:07 A

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WAXINGTURTLE - Glad you liked the video. I think your Christmas ideas are great. People need to remember the REASON for the SEASON!

"You can write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You can trod me in the very dirt but still like dust... I rise". - Maya Angelou


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BHSKITTYKATT's Photo BHSKITTYKATT SparkPoints: (103,757)
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11/30/09 8:26 P

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Great tips!

I've been making homemade ornaments this year. I'll write a personal message or inspirational quote, slip it into the ornament, and fill the rest of it with ribbons and glitter. Then put more ribbons, glitter, and shiny things on the outside and voila! A pretty, customized ornament that's very cheap to make! Also, I'm doing some with beaded covers. They're very time-consuming, but cheap to make, and look very fancy!

Live well, Laugh often, Love much!

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WAXINGTURTLE's Photo WAXINGTURTLE SparkPoints: (0)
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11/30/09 5:59 P

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my husband and I used to kill ourselves to buy gifts and show our love.. and we took a dave ramsey class and learned that our "Love" was killing us and that we were not helping anyone.
so, we bought one gift for the whole family to enjoy last year- a Wii. and it was a party hit!! This year, we will be bringing it to our holiday so we can all enjoy it. any gifts we give to the children will be made or laying around and regifted, not purchased.
the adults do a gift exchange with $10 being the limit. it's great fun and inexpensive.
Merry Christmas!

Also, meg2Bthin, that's a great youtube vid. thanks for sharing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-Z
BU

Dude, it's just food!
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MEG2BTHIN's Photo MEG2BTHIN Posts: 363
11/22/09 8:01 P

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Has anyone here heard of the Advent Conspiracy? Please check it out....I think some of you may find it (or at least a similar based idea) very interesting. Showering your family and friends with love and only giving what is needed....my eyes have been opened a little wider (I first watched this video B4 last Christmas)....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-Z
BU

"You can write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You can trod me in the very dirt but still like dust... I rise". - Maya Angelou


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152PEARLS's Photo 152PEARLS Posts: 65
11/22/09 10:00 A

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We have always been careful not to overindulge for the Holidays. Gifts, even for children have always been limited to one main gift and one small gift. For other family members, we often pooled for the children's gifts so that they received a set of something. For gifts for the adults, we stopped that many years ago. We bring something for the table to the host of the meal as a gift, usually wine or after dinner drink to share with everyone.

We never put any purchase for Christmas on a credit card. If we can't afford it, we don't buy it.

This year is our first without a home. All of our things are packed up in a POD and we will be spending it in a truck. There is no guarantee that we will have a Thanksgiving meal, although if we happen to be at a truck stop and it has a restaurant, we may try for whatever they will be serving. We've been granted home-time for Christmas, but there is always a possibility that we are stuck with a delivery and cannot get there on time.

This has humbled a lot of my feelings about holidays and how precious they are when you can't be with family or provide the bounty as in years past. At the same time, I am very aware that it doesn't take more than a simple feeling of gratitude to enjoy the holidays. No more debt, no guilt over gift spending, no buying tons of stuff that isn't needed or wanted.

I am a dollmaker, I love to sew, knit and create.


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DANCINGBEAR27's Photo DANCINGBEAR27 SparkPoints: (0)
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11/21/09 2:04 P

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Last year I cut my pie budget for Thanksgiving. I had grown a lot of acorn squashes but didn't have any pumpkins. I simply cooked up the squash and drained out as much of the liquid as I could and used it in place of pumpkin. Nobody even knew until after they ate my pies and told me how good they were.

I also always have my daughter cut out gift tags from old Christmas cards. It's a way to reuse all the pretty cards and keeps her busy too.

Not the biggest savings but every little bit adds up!

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao-tzu


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DIVASPARKLADY's Photo DIVASPARKLADY Posts: 845
11/19/09 6:32 P

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I'm new and just read your article and loved it!!!!!!!! Thank you so much.

This Christmas for our family is going to be even greater because of the simple changes I'm going to be making. emoticon

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference."

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
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CHERYLE51's Photo CHERYLE51 Posts: 3,512
11/17/09 9:58 P

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My DH and I have explained to our three teen agers that there will be a budget set this year. We have told them that how far the money goes is up to them. If they want expensive designer jeans, then they may only get 1 or 2 pair. If they don't mind non expensive name jeans, then they will get more. My extended family--- as in my mother, sister, brother-in-law and nieces present somewhat of an issue. I don't spend a lot on them, maybe $24-$30/person, but it does add up. I have tried making suggestions of a grab bag, etc., but they don't think it is necessary. They are extremely hard to buy for. Last year, I gave Kohl's gift cards and was told indirectly that they didn't like Kohl's. Well see what I can come up with this year.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...
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RENA1965's Photo RENA1965 Posts: 17,878
11/15/09 6:13 A

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Christmas is simple in our little home since our families dad died.. One decent present each and small things I find on special during the year..
My youngest son lives with a foster family, it is his job to raise the ducklings so we get a free duck to christmas.. I purchase other ingredients up december that are bottled or can be frozen..
I purchase potatoes and if I can find them sweet potatoes. A few days before the event..
Sometimes I get given stuff by greetful families whom say thankyou for looking efter mom or dad, they say this is for you and your family to enjoy not your workmates they also get give stuff too.. Many times it is chocolates, these keep well packed in so I give these away instead of eating them myself- if I get a unexpected presents from well wishers. It is good and a life saver to have a return present Otherwise my teenagers polish them off....



Edited by: RENA1965 at: 11/15/2009 (06:15)
"I shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me. Or I can be lost in the maze. My choice. My responsbility. Win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny."
-google first. ask questions later
¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨) ¸.·*¨)
(***Rena ***)
(¸.·´~ (¸.·* ~ (¸.·*


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MEREDITHEVE's Photo MEREDITHEVE Posts: 181
11/14/09 1:35 P

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TIGERTOWN, I have to agree, that is an excellent idea, and it really is for the whole family! My husband and I are NOT video gamers by any means, but we love the wii and have even hosted wii parties which is a lot more affordable than having 10 people at a bowling alley, even though the experience is comparable if not more comfortable.

It's the kind of game that people play together, and the game it comes with (wii sports) is really really fun for everyone, and offers a great workout.

Actually, theres even a wii fitness group here on SP that I being to - I do cardio with the wii sometimes, especially when it's yucky out. Enjoy!

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TIGERTOWN's Photo TIGERTOWN Posts: 153
11/13/09 1:59 P

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We have been dreaded the holidays here already and with a young son, I want a better experience for him than we had growing up.
We have opted to buy one present this year, a Wii. this was we can be together, have a family activity, get some exercise and it eliminates the cost of several presents. It was a splurge, but will play the one game it comes with and see if we can borrow friends games.
We also offered to bring it to our family gathering (which is usually focused on food!)this could provide hours of entertainment and keep us laughing enough to keep our hands out of the cookie tray!

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TIGERTOWN's Photo TIGERTOWN Posts: 153
11/13/09 1:58 P

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We have been dreaded the holidays here already and with a young son, I want a better experience for him than we had growing up.
We have opted to buy one present this year, a Wii. this was we can be together, have a family activity, get some exercise and it eliminates the cost of several presents. It was a splurge, but will play the one game it comes with and see if we can borrow friends games.
We also offered to bring it to our family gathering (which is usually focused on food!)this could provide hours of entertainment and keep us laughing enough to keep our hands out of the cookie tray!

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JEANINE100's Photo JEANINE100 Posts: 3,685
11/12/09 7:01 P

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I save for Christmas and whatever is in that account is what we use - when it's gone that is it. It really works and it causes a stress free holiday.

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MEREDITHEVE's Photo MEREDITHEVE Posts: 181
11/11/09 7:25 P

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oooooh, I LOVE the idea of a video card! I just suggested to my husband that we write a comedy sketch about the past years event to act out for everyone. How fun!

I love needle crafts JEMPOWER, they make great gifts! And knitting/crochet and all that keeps my hands busy and away from snacks and such. Tops.




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MINTY_ME's Photo MINTY_ME Posts: 1,639
11/10/09 11:43 A

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No matter how much or how little money I have I always love Christmas! I never stress over it and I think about it all year long. I am a Christmas collector and Christmas is my favorite holiday! I wish you all the happiest holiday season!

JEMPOWER's Photo JEMPOWER Posts: 2,680
11/6/09 6:34 P

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I've been crocheting in the evening when I watch TV instead of eating as a lifestyle change. One of the things I've been making as a Christmas Gift is I am crocheting scratchies. They are recyclable SOS pads but they don't come loaded with soap and they aren't made with steel mesh. They're made with 100% cotton and other mesh and crocheted three strands together. They're crocheted in the shape of a circle. I load it up with a squirt of water and vinegar or a little baking soda and then scrub pots and pans. Does a great job. When the scrubbie is dirty I just throw it in the washer and dryer and then reuse it another day. I'm making them in all different colors and I'm also making matching wash cloths and dish towels to match. Think it'll be great Christmas gifts. Lots cheaper and made with love.

Jem

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MOMMA48's Photo MOMMA48 Posts: 757,655
11/6/09 5:52 P

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Wonderful and thanks for posting! One year we gave ONLY gifts that we made! Be it crafts, home-baked goods, etc. We then went on a hay ride, had the hot chocolate, sang the Christmas carols and truly enjoyed the meaning of Christmas and with those that mean the most of us -- our family!

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NJFAMILYOF5's Photo NJFAMILYOF5 Posts: 5,758
11/6/09 3:56 P

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Are you dreading this holiday season? Especially with your already overstressed budget? Don't despair! Controlling your holiday expenses could actually mean a better holiday for you and your family!

Begin by forgetting the bling. It's not about how many of the new LED lights you can display. Rather take the time to enjoy the decorations you already have. Show Junior the ornament that marks his first Christmas and talk about what that holiday was like.

Move holiday communication into the 21st century. Christmas cards and the 'annual report on the Jones family' are outdated and expensive. Move to online communications. With the exception of those who would be hurt by not getting a Christmas card (think Granny), use email for your annual family update. Better still, post a video on YouTube. It's more fun and does a better job communicating.

Shift the focus from the food to family. If your family is used to an overflowing table remove a few items from the menu. Add some family fun in it's place. Passing around old family photos during dinner can trigger wonderful family memories. Spend some time after watching old family videos. If the highlight of your family gathering is the food, you're missing the meaning of the holidays.

Get real about gifts. Even kids can understand that fancy toys are expensive. And, that family needs come before wants. If they don't already know it, that lesson could be the most valuable gift that you could give them. Besides, despite what they put on their Christmas list, what kids really want is you. So take some of that shopping time and spend it with them.

Party responsibly. If the purpose of your gathering is to show off then this won't work for you. But, if you just want to enjoy time with friends and family then entertaining shouldn't be a problem. Ditch formality for casual. Instead of a lavish buffet have a cookie exchange. Gather around the fireplace for some eggnog. The sound of laughter in your home is the sign of a good party.

Share with a needy family. There's something about helping others that makes both you and the person you're helping feel better about yourself. You may want to act anonymously so you don't embarrass them. I know of families where one of the biggest parts of the holiday season is deciding who to help and how they'll do it.

So don't let a lack of money spoil your holidays. The very fact that money is tight could be the spark that creates the best holiday you've ever had!



Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar Stretcher.com


There's nothing to fear, you're as good as the best,
As strong as the mightiest, too.
You can win in every battle or test;
For there's no one just like you.
There's only one you in the world today;
So nobody else, you see,
Can do your work in as fine a way:
You're the only you there'll be
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