When did we begin to need to spend so much to make sure everyone has a good time? My parents didn’t have money to spend on extravagant gifts, so they simply didn’t – we all still had a wonderful time, and no worries at the thought of the debt that January would bring.
None of us want to still be paying off the bills from Christmas next August, when the must have toys have been lost in the back of the wardrobe, last season’s designer shoes are no longer fashionable and the expensive perfume set you bought for your Mother-in-law has long since been given to someone else for their birthday! (Or is that just mine?)
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all sentimental and nostalgic about the “good ol’ days” and suggest filling the kid’s stockings with an orange and a piece of toffee; but in these tough times it’s simply ridiculous to be spending money that we simply don’t have.
- Have a truly ruthless clear-out before the holiday season begins, sell everything you don’t need/ use. Have your own garage sale or sell online. There will be lots of bargain hunters around this year! Use the money you make to add to your Christmas spending budget.
- Make a list, but more importantly – Stick to it!
- Get the kids involved with baking and crafts, make pretty basket hampers for gifts.
- Have fun with some homemade decorations: Try stringing popcorn around the tree and making decorations with salt dough, anyone remember paper chains? Ok so your interior may not make the cover of House beautiful magazine, but you will have fun and rediscover those magic moments.
- Do you really need to go to every party you are invited to? Cut out the ones that you secretly dread anyway and have your own family cocktail evening, see what creations the kids can come up with (non-alcoholic of course!). Not only will you save on the cost of a new dress; but also a baby sitter, gift for the host and traveling expenses.
- Before you do any shopping online, join a cash back site and get money back every time you spend. If you know any of your friends don’t have credit cards you could offer to make their purchases too – using your cash back site of course!
- Before going shopping, sign up to WeReward, a mobile application for iPhone, Android or Blackberry that allows you to earn money by checking into local businesses. If you are already using FourSquare and do check-ins, this allows you to actually make money by checking into local companies that are taking part.
- Look out for sales and special offers on items that you need, but resist the temptation to buy a product not on your list just because something is on sale.
- Try not to use a credit card unless you are sure you can pay off the bill in full when the next statement comes.
- Find bargain used goods on EBay and similar sites, a lot of stuff is still boxed and never actually been used but can cost a fraction of the price.
How about making a New Year resolution to put money aside each week for next Christmas? $50-$100 a week is easily achievable if you have a few hours a week to spare working online, how much time do you waste on Facebook anyway?
- Like chatting? Get paid to post on forums with sites such as Postloop-$20 a week here is achievable.
- Like shopping? Share your favourite sites with friends using Sponsored Tweets, Socibuzz, MyLikes, Have You Seen or Share magnet.
- Have a flair for art or design? Set up store with Etsy, Café press, Misi, Folksy, Notonthehigstreet or Zazzle.
- Got Teenagers? Put them to work reviewing music on Slice the Pie or uploading photos on Staree.
- Have a way with words? Design greeting card content for Blue Mountain greeting cards.
- Can you write a good review? Set up your own blog and get paid for them with Sponsored reviews, Social Spark or Pay Per Post.
- Prefer a variety of tasks? Sign up as a freelancer with Odesk, Elance, Ziptask or People Per
Just think, this time next year you could be sitting wondering what to spend $5000 on (without filling out one single survey)!
This article was written by Lisa Melia: Mother, wife, Internet marketer, blogger and lover of all thingssparkly. She is an avid believer that there are plenty of legitimate, free ways to make money online if you are prepared to put the time and effort in to work at them. She is the owner of the website Show Me Some Money. For more wonderful information check out her website for other interesting articles.