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Save Without Being A Scrooge

With December beginning tomorrow, Christmas is officially 25 days away! With all of the holiday celebrations planned between the workplace and your family and friends, you’re bound to be spending a great deal of money on gifts this month. Many Canadian consumers, however, plan on watching their wallets a bit more closely this holiday season.

And why wouldn’t they? The recent global recession is still very much on the minds of consumers and business owners alike. It makes sense that shoppers be a bit more frugal this year. Lesley Scorgie of Metro Canada, believes that being mindful of your spending doesn’t necessarily have to make you a “Scrooge”.

On the Canadian news source’s website today, Scorgie suggests a number of ways that shoppers can avoid debt this year while fully enjoying the spirit of giving. Writes Scorgie: “Plan to have a frugal and cheerful holiday season by setting up a budget to avoid debt, and by shopping early, so you’ll have less pressure on your cash flow near the end of the year.”

Her first tip is to set up a “Secret Santa” or “Kris Kringle”. This popular annual tradition allows for several names to be placed in a hat so that all participants can select a name. That way, instead of having to buy a gift for everyone, you can simply purchase one for the person that you select.

Many families employ this practice so as to not send every member into bankruptcy! This game is also popular in many work offices with staffs of twenty people or less. Everyone gets a gift, and no one is left broke as a result. Another tip suggested by Scorgie is to create a thoughtful gift of your own without even spending money.

Instead of a store-bought present, she suggests, save your money and make cards, bake treats or design a gift basket. If you insist on buying from a store, utilize as many points from your credit cards and other reward programs for gift cards and other items you may get for free or significantly discounted.

Taking a loved one out for a day of fun doesn’t have to be costly either. Sometimes your time is all a family member truly wants of you anyway. Activities such as tobogganing, skating or snowman building are all ways to take advantage of the season without costing you a pretty penny.

Scorgie reminds us that preparing holiday meals can often be an expensive practice. Why not organize a potluck? The more people you invite, the more food you’ll have. As Scorgie mentions, “the holidays are about spending time with people you love, not getting caught up in the over-consumption hype.”

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