Ex­pert tricks to stretch your hol­i­day cash!

“Of­ten the most mean­ing­ful gifts cost no money at all,” says sav­ings ex­pert Anna Newell Jones. What­ever you do well— bake, gar­den, sew— cre­ate a unique gift cer­tifi­cate: cup­cakes in the gif­tee’s fa­vorite fla­vor, etc. Just be sure to fol­low up be­cause your

Woman's World - - Contents -

With the av­er­age fam­ily plan­ning to spend al­most $600 on gifts this Christ­mas, we asked the sav­ings pros how to cut costs with­out skimp­ing on the spirit of the sea­son!

1

Save more! Start with a strat­egy!

One way to boost your bud­get­friendly joy? “Hold a fam­ily meet­ing to cre­ate your ‘ Top Five Hol­i­day Val­ues,’ “says fi­nance ex­pert Mary Hunt. “They may be en­joy­ing an old- fash­ioned Christ­mas, ex­chang­ing only hand­made gifts, and so on. If, for in­stance, one of your val­ues is ‘ Spend more hol­i­day time as a fam­ily,’ ask, ‘How will we do that?’ If you de­cide ev­ery­one will take one day to do noth­ing but sleep in, put to­gether a jig­saw puzzle and bake cook­ies, then mark it on the cal­en­dar. Or if one of your val­ues is ‘Christ­mas is a time to ex­change gifts,’ de­cide specif­i­cally who, what, when and how much— a lit­tle plan­ning lets you set goals and stay on bud­get!”

Triple your sav­ings!

“First, let the Flipp app [Flipp. com] au­to­mat­i­cally go through all the store fliers to find the best deals,” says sav­ings ex­pert Lau­ren Greut­man. Then buy dis­counted gift cards at Gift­card­granny.com. Third: Shop via a cash-back site like Swag­bucks.com. For ev­ery dol­lar you spend, you’ll get three swag bucks; spend $100 and you can re­deem 300 swag bucks for Ama­zon gift cards!

Boost your bud­get!

“One thing I’m known for is sell­ing or­di­nary things around my house to help pay for Christ­mas,” says Greut­man. “I’ve sold ev­ery­thing from my old cof­feemaker to books to fur­ni­ture. Just head to ebay or down­load an app like Of­ferup.com or De­cluttr.com. Or, if you have a lot of kids’ toys, try Swap.com. They send you a free box that you can fill up with toys, and they’ll pay you $20.” An­other smart hol­i­day side hus­tle? “I’ve found a lot of name-brand cloth­ing at thrift stores and flipped them at ebay. For ex­am­ple, I just sold a Prada jump­suit I bought for $ 6 for $200 on ebay!”

2 Be cre­ative! Give your gifts! Turn church into a “store”!

Sav­ing more this Christ­mas can be as much fun as stag­ing a “chil­dren’s flea mar­ket” at your church, prom­ises Hunt. “Ask mem­bers of your con­gre­ga­tion to con­sider do­nat­ing some of their like-new, un­opened or un­used toys to the flea mar­ket,” she en­cour­ages. “Col­lect the toys, ar­range them on ta­bles by age-group or cat­e­gory, and hold a flea mar­ket in time for the Christ­mas rush. It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion for ev­ery­one: Kids learn to give; par­ents get to de­clut­ter the house; any­one look­ing for a deal gets a great bar­gain — and the church gets help rais­ing funds!”

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