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. Plus, you won’t get gouged at the till with holiday “specials.”

Save money on presents by drawing names so that you only have to buy for one person. Or, set limits on the amount friends and family can spend on gifts. Also, shop throughout the year when you see specials and sales — check flyers, the Internet, etc.

Better yet, don’t spend on gifts. Make cards, bake or prepare crafts for a gift basket. Or exchange loyalty points from your credit card or other reward program for gift cards or travel vouchers.


Plan inexpensive activities like walking, tobogganing, skating, building snowmen or borrowing books and renting old movies. Take your loved ones to a holiday pageant or make a home video wishing your loved ones a happy holiday season.

Organize volunteer activities with friends and family. Pack food hampers at the food bank or fill a few Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes for a child in need. It’s a healthy reminder of how important it is to give back.

Preparing holiday meals can be very expensive so host a holiday potluck dinner instead. Try to buy your meal ingredients in bulk and as much in advance as you can. Use coupons and don’t overbuy: a smaller turkey and veggie dishes are ample.

The holidays are about spending time with people you love, not getting caught up in the over-consumption hype.

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