Working within a Christmas Budget by Rhonda Hetzel

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Even if you're the most frugal person, there will probably come a day when you want to buy a Christmas gift or the material to make one. There is nothing wrong with buying a few things; the trick is to budget early in the year so you have the money to do it. I have no doubt that most of the working couples I know don't have the time to make many gifts during the year. They might make a couple of special gifts, but after working all day, then travelling home, looking after the family and tidying up, there is little time left for gift making.

We all like to give gifts to those we love and both the making of gifts and the buying of them can fit nicely into a simple life. I believe the best way is to make a budget at the beginning of the year so you're prepared to buy gifts or the material to make when you see various sales throughout the year. Don't be pressured into thinking you have to follow what anyone else does. We all have different values and we should do what we think is best for our own unique life. Almost all businesses have sales during the year, keep an eye open for them and look to see if they have what you need. I believe the most important part of buying is to get value for money as well as goods that align with your ethics. That is better than buying the cheapest products.

When you set out to buy gifts or gift materials, check your budget first to be sure of how much money you've allocated, buy good quality, buy what you know will be appreciated and if you can't get exactly what you want, think about a gift voucher instead. When you have your first gift either made or purchased, you'll need a place to store it because there will probably a few months to go before you give your gift. Wrap it straight away and attach a card. That will help organise your gifts, you'll have them all ready to go with a card to tell you who it's for. As you put them in the cupboard, list your gifts and the recipients in a notebook. Later, as you get closer to Christmas or a birthday, go back to your gift notebook and check what you have stored. If you're still short a couple of gifts make a list of who you still need to buy for, check what is in your gift budget and actively look for what you need. And if you can, lock the cupboard because you don't want little fingers, or big ones, searching through your stash.   We are grateful to Rhonda for sharing this series of guest posts on the theme of finding simplicity this festive season. Read her first post here Simplicity at Christmas Time and her second post Planning and Budgeting Christmas Gifts Rhonda Hetzel blogs about her simple life at Down to Earth blog. She has also published the book “Down to Earth: a guide to simple living” and has a second book “The Simple Home” due for release in March 2016. Rhonda shows how to find the pleasure and meaning in a simpler life. She writes: “The work you do in your own home, by creating a warm and secure place for yourself and your family to live in, will enrich you and make you a different person”.
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