Photo by Unhindered by Talent

With a few easy tips you can make the most of your resources this holiday season.
1. Discover Your Crafty Side

Children aren’t the only ones who can get away with making gifts for friends and family. Invest in a candle making set and create each gift with the recipient in mind.

Create a family scrapbook and photocopy the pages to mass produce your own individualized gift. These options may require a significant chunk of time, but they produce higher quality presents for a fraction of the price.

Photo by lolololori

2. Shop online.

If you already have a specific present in mind for someone, take the time to research prices online to find the best deal possible. Froogle.com is perfect for searching for specific items and allows you to sort them from the cheapest to most expensive. Ebay.com also provides you with the chance to get some great deals if you have the patience for bidding.

3. Create a budget.

We all know that glittering lights and cheery Christmas tunes have a hypnotic effect on shoppers that instills in them a fiendish desire to spend exorbitant amounts of money. Before stepping into the mall, make a budget detailing how much you wish to spend on each individual.

Take that amount of money out of your bank account and ban credit cards to stay within your limits.

Photo by bandita

4. Wrap it up.

Never buy gift wrap from drug stores or card shops. While $4 per roll of wrapping paper may seem cheap at the time, purchasing several rolls can really add up, along with overpriced bows, ribbons, and tags to match. Instead, find your local Dollar Tree or 99 cent store.

5. Break the paper card tradition.

Christmas and other holiday cards tend to be more of a formality than anything. Consider e-cards: they’re free, animated, and don’t require any forest resources to produce. If you feel obliged to continue the snail mail tradition, make your own cards by hand instead of purchasing expensive ones from the store.

6. Knock their stockings off.

Stockings are a great way to save while shopping for the children in your family. Find (or make) stockings for each child. You can then fill them with various small items. Think about what can be fun to play many times, rather than just once, such as a magnifying glass, or a small book.

7. Rideshare your way home.

If you’re planning on making your way to your parents’, siblings’, or friends’ place for the holidays, check out Craigslist.org to see if you can get in on a rideshare. While flying is fast and convenient, it has never been so expensive.

8. Cash in on rewards.

Many credit cards automatically enroll you into a rewards program that tends to be forgotten about for most of the year. The holidays are the time to cash in by spending points on gift certificates for friends and family.

Photo by Theorris

9. Give something up.

You know you’ll be spending more than usual, so figure out at least one minor sacrifice you can make as the holidays approach. That extra bottle of wine? The daily coffee at the cafe rather than at home?

10. Embrace selflessness.

Resist buying yourself anything until after the holidays. While it’s tempting, it’s in your best interest to hold off on spoiling yourself. You never know if a friend will give you a gift certificate to a store that sells the item you want or if it will go on sale as soon as the New Year rolls around.

11. Look forward to next year.

Shiny Christmas decorations can be tempting, so if you really feel the need for them remember that Christmas will come again next year. You should never buy Christmas supplies or decorations at their original price since stores practically give them away the day after Christmas.