Fifteen fantastic ways to manage your money during the Holidays!

November 25, 2009

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kathy radinaOh don’t be so skeptical. I have done a little research, and here is a list of the top suggestions I found for managing money during the holidays. And I’m even willing to acknowledge that in spite of the fact that the stock market stinks, the economy is in trouble and many of us have lost our jobs; the desires of our children haven’t seemed to slow down one bit. They still want things bless their little hearts, and we want to give them things. Here are my tips.

1. Don’t forget, your children are going to remember more about the special times they spent with you than they are about the gifts they did or did not receive.

2. Be honest, even young children and self-centered adolescents can understand the truth in financial difficulties. This is a great time to bring your children in on the discussion regarding your budget for the holidays. Let them know that some parents spend more money than they have and gifts do not equate with how much money someone has or how much someone loves you. Yes gifts are an expression of love but if you only get one gift it doesn't mean your parents love you any less, it just means that your parents have good spending habits or simply cannot afford to buy more than one gift.

3. Sort out the gift list. Each person writes down the names of those they want to acknowledge for the holidays, then decide if the person gets; purchased presents, homemade presents, baked goods, cards or some other acknowledgement and highlight each category in a different color.

4. Assign a dollar value to each child for purchasing supplies to make or buy presents. Assist with math skills as necessary, (but don't make this about math).

5. If you are really feeling brave, contact each person on your list that you usually buy a present for and explain that you are cutting expenses this year and won’t be buying gifts. Invite them to do the same.

6. For online shopping, take advantage of websites such as to find the codes for promotions at many websites. Also, use sites such as to compare prices on popular items.

7. Have your children help you send holiday e-mails this year instead of cards and save not only on the cards, but the stamps.

8. Regift. You read that correctly. I have just given you permission to clean out the “Gifts I Will Never Use” portion of your closet. Go for it.

9. Establish traditions with your children that they will remember from year to year and want to pass on to their own children such as baking cookies.

10. Start a Christmas scrapbook. Take pictures during the Christmas season and then place them in a photo album and have your children help you write captions. Your entire family will love looking through the scrapbooks each year to see how much everyone has changed.

11. Attend activities in the community such as our very own Christmas Pageant. (My friend Chris assures me that the baby this year is a beauty!)

12. Volunteer. Older children can volunteer to help the sick, elderly or homeless. You never know, by being able to experience their own compassion they might change their perspective about life and what's really important.

13. Have children gather gently used toys to donate.

14. Check out a Christmas book from the library and read it together as a family. Or, write and design your own to add to every year.

15. Finally, remember this quote from James Buckham:
Trials, temptations, disappoint-ments – all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of a character, but strengthen it.

Kathy Radina, M.Ed. is a counselor in Carefree. She can be reached at
480-488-6096 or visit