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Christmas shopping on a budget, the festive season can also cause a lot of stress

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Green bobbles for Christmas...or course.
Green bobbles for Christmas...or course.

by Eileen O’Callaghan, Senior Program Coordinator at the IPC
Email me at eileenoc@ipcboston.org or call 617 265 5300 x 13

The Christmas season has well and truly arrived. However the season of festive cheer can also be a stressful one for many. However like anything planning is key to its success. Here are some key pointers to splashing out on a budget:

Budget: First things first, how much can you afford and are willing to spend?

Make a list and check it twice: After setting a limit for yourself (that’s what the budget is for!), it’s time to map out a shopping list. This ensures you keep an eye on your spending, without over buying or forgetting anyone.

Shop around: Before you finalize your shopping list and start action, take one extra step to save more! Look for discount offers and second hand/thrift stores. These can be great for items such as books and electrical items. To go further, start searching for online sources such as Amazon.com, eBay and online stores of brands. Many of them offer special discounts for the Christmas season; why not take advantage of this?

Be honest: If you can't afford to keep up with the normal state of gift giving, don't be afraid to confess your financial constraints to your family and friends. They might welcome spending limits. If you have friends who care more about the gift than the giver, ask yourself whether these friends are really worth it?

Make and do: A favored and treasured Christmas decoration in my house is a Christmas card my brother made for our parents at the troublesome age of 8. In this he makes the solemn promise ‘to try and stay out of trouble next year’…God loves a trier. Handmade cards and gifts are a great way of showing your love while reducing the cost and having a laugh along the way.

Get a secret Santa: Agree with your family/friends to be a ‘Secret Santa’, place all the names of the group in a hat and pick at random. This way everyone gets one gift and you only need to buy one. It’s also a good idea to place a spending limit on this.

Most importantly Christmas is a wonderful celebration and one to be enjoyed. Gifts are only a side piece and there’s nothing like the gift of time. Give this free gift and spend precious time with friends and family!

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