We all know that this is the happiest time of the year, but most would agree it’s also the most expensive. Consumers plan to spend an average of $1,047.83 on gifts alone this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. How much are you planning to spend on gifts? Between gifts, decorations, food, and other holiday goods, many wallets will be emptied and many credit card balances raised. The fact of the matter is, a lot of money doesn’t have to be spent to show others you care about them. Take a moment to think about what the holidays mean to you; it is a time for family and friends, gifts are just an added bonus. If you would like to save money this year or you have a low budget, here are some tips for gift giving on a budget:
- Limit the number of gifts you give.
- Limit the dollar amount spent on each gift or person.
- Use your hobbies or talents as gifts: knitting a scarf, baking cookies, or making another craft you’re good at.
- Spend time with loved ones instead of giving them a gift: go see holiday lights, go ice skating, or build a gingerbread house.
- Donate your time as a gift: rake their yard, babysit for them, cook them a meal.
- Use memories as a gift: make a homemade photo album of all your favorite holiday memories together.
Most people open their gifts Christmas morning and then the holiday fun is over. Plan on doing a family activity that day so that there is something else to look forward to besides just gifts. If you want to buy gifts, try making your list of people to give to smaller and/or set a limit on how much you’ll spend on each person. If you are interested in making a gift to give to someone, check out the instructions below for a Holiday Cookie Mix in a Jar:
Holiday Cookie Mix in a Jar
Put in a quart sized jar:
1 1/2 cup flour + plus 1 Tablespoon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup M&M's (more or less as needed to fill jar)
- Clean and dry quart sized mason jar.
- Using a funnel or spoon, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Tap jar on counter to level.
- Then spoon in the brown sugar and press down the edges with spoon.
- Next add the sugar.
- Finally, add the chocolate chips and M&M’s. Seal jar. Jar is good for 1-2 months.
- Attach a card and Printable Cookie Jar Tag to the jar or make your own. Decorate the jar as desired.
Ingredients needed to make cookies:
1/2 cup butter (slightly melted and cooled)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
When getting ready to bake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the butter, egg and vanilla. Then dump the jar ingredients and stir until combined. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes for thicker cookies.
- Scoop the dough onto the pan using a large cookie scoop (or about 2 Tablespoons). Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are slightly crisp, yet still soft in the middle. Remove from pan to cooling rack.
If you give any of these ideas a try, be sure to connect with me online!
Hendrix, Laura. Save on Holiday Spending. UAEx. 2 November 2017. https://www.uaex.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance/uaex-money-blog/Save%20On%20Holiday%20Spending.aspx
Nye, Jamielyn. Cookie Mix in a Jar with Free Printable. I Heart Naptime. 4 December 2017. https://www.iheartnaptime.net/cookie-mix-in-a-jar/
Tobin, Ben. Sick of seeing Christmas decorations before Halloween? Blame 40% of America. USA Today. 30 October 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/10/30/holiday-shopping-forecast-2019-how-much-money-people-spend/2498802001/
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