You don’t have to be a scrooge to give your wallet a reason to be thankful

While the holiday season can be very exciting and magical for children, adults face expenses in the last two months of the year that can put great strain on family finances. Whether it’s travel expenses, gifts, food, or decorations, it’s easy to take your wallet and credit cards for granted.

Set a vacation budget. Sit back and calculate your vacation expenses. Make a list of all your planned expenses so you are prepared to spend wisely and avoid a hangover after the holidays. If you have a savings account to cover your vacation expenses, then you are good to go. But, if you need to tap into your savings, or worse, you’re going into debt, then you need to find some ways to cut your vacation expenses.

Consider making a few changes this year that will take the stress out of your budget and your wallet will thank you when the holidays are over.

Use credit card rewards: If you have a credit card that offers reward points, try charging your points to cover the cost of some of your gifts.

Draw names: Limit the number of people you are shopping for this year, as well as the amount you are spending on each gift. You may find that your friends or family will appreciate this gift shopping method.

Buy bargains: Check out online sites like Ben’s Bargains, DealNews, DealPlus, Slickdeals,, DealCatcher, or FatWallet to find the best vacation deals. Also, if you shop a lot online, consider signing up for Amazon Prime to save money on shipping. Amazon Prime costs a year with unlimited FREE 2-day shipping and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owner Loan Library. Remember that books are FREE brain software!

Giving away homemade items: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be creative and crafty. Homemade gifts can be really meaningful. The time you spend giving a gift shows the recipient how much you really care and takes the stress out of your vacation budget.

Buy early: Buying gifts before the holiday rush is a perfect way to avoid reckless spending. Buying early also makes last minute shopping easier regardless of price.

Use natural decorations instead of store bought items: Gather fallen leaves, pine cones, tree branches, or other natural objects to use for centerpieces and shelf decorations.

Get creative with your packaging: Clever DIY Ideas are sure to impress everyone on your Christmas gift list without breaking the bank. Kraft paper or inexpensive brown paper can be used. Create a blank canvas perfect for holiday stencil designs. Place some fresh greenery under the bow for a Christmas scent. Did you know that a map could be a trendy decorating theme? To make the wrap more personal, use a map showing the recipient’s birthplace or favorite travel destination. Ecological can also be ecological. Wrap small gifts in packing paper and cover them with pieces of twine or greenery from your own backyard.

Make your Christmas dinner memorable: Instead of preparing and paying for the entire Christmas meal, why not organize a potluck? This will allow your guests to show off their culinary skills and even share recipes with all of your guests.

Are you ready to start the holiday shopping season? If you take advantage of some of these tips, hopefully they will ease your stress a bit and help you avoid overspending while keeping your budget intact. Your portfolio will thank you.

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