Nix the Myths About Having a Frugal Christmas

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What holds you back from setting or keeping your goal of having an inexpensive Christmas?  Everyone likes to save money, but, somehow the idea of doing so during Christmas time is enough to make even the bargain shopper take pause.

Even with holiday sales and Black Friday deals, it’s easy to let guilt or insecurities toss you overboard on budget.   Here are the top 5 myths about an inexpensive Christmas and reasons why you should ignore them.

People will think you are cheap.

Inexpensive does not have to be a bad thing. In fact, many of your friends and family may even be relieved. They may be trying to spend less and save more, too. The key is to not rely on the dollar store. Rather, you’ll want to get the best deals you can and buy good quality no matter the price-range.

Whether you reduced your budget to $20 a person or $10, buy one nice, thoughtful item.  One of my favorite go-to gifts for a school age child (including college students) is a cute zip drive.  You can find all sorts of characters and colors  to suit their style for under $10.

You’ll feel guilty.

Well, maybe a little but you shouldn’t. Christmas is not about who spends the most money or buys the most extravagant gift. Besides, you will feel great in January when your credit card statement comes and you don’t dread opening it. Someone should bottle that feeling of satisfaction you get when you know you don’t have a credit card balance any longer, it’s a keeper!

Everyone will think it is ridiculous to cut back so much at this time of year.

The truth is people that know you will probably admire your strength. In fact, each and every one of them probably had the same idea at least once, got sidetracked and fell short of their goal. They will be impressed by your fortitude. And, who knows, they might even jump on the inexpensive bandwagon next year.

You can’t buy anything someone would want for cheap.

Actually, limited budgets lend themselves to some of the most creative, appreciated and memorable presents. If you take a family photo every year, put one in a frame for the grandparents. It makes for a very inexpensive gift that any grandparent would cherish more than that new sweater. Likewise, a hand-made gift from a child is worth much more in the eyes of a parent than any blue box from Tiffany.

I won’t enjoy Christmas as much if I can’t spend a ton of money on gifts.

Well, it’s like your mother always said, “You never know until you try.” It can take dozens of repetitions before an action becomes a habit. Once you see the results, saving money and not going overboard at Christmas will stick faster than most.

Find different ways to fill the shopping void, if you need to.  Have friends over for a cookie-bake.  Offer to help a busy friend complete their shopping.  Volunteer at a local shelter or to gift wrap toys for a toy drive program.  In the end, you’ll have a much richer experience during the holidays that spending tons of money on gifts can hardly compete with.

Whatever your hang-ups, beliefs or fears about simplifying Christmas are, they are likely unfounded. Tell yourself that you need to make the commitment to have an inexpensive holiday this season and stick to your budget.  Write lists and stick to them.  In the end, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself, the holiday, and avoid having to face difficulties making ends meet down the road.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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