An Economical Christmas

christmasChristmas is a wonderful time of the year. We try to put our problems behind us and meet with our friends and family to celebrate together. Unfortunately, times have been tough for many recently, and the thought of Christmas can fill people with dread. However, this need not be the case. With a little imagination, everybody can have a wonderful Christmas, even those on a tight budget.

Decorating the house is an important part of the Christmas festivities. Most people want to have a tree as the center of attraction in their home. Artificial trees are generally the cheapest to buy and you have them for many years to come. However, if you want a real tree, invest in one that is in a pot and still has roots You can then put it outside after Christmas and use it again the following year. It is also more environmentally friendly than buying a dead tree.

Decorations for the tree can prove expensive. Of course, many people do collect them from year to year. However, if you are just starting out, buy a few decorations and then make some of your own. If you have kept Christmas cards from previous years, you can cut up images from them, such as reindeer and snowmen, to hang on your tree. You can also put ribbons and party streamers on the tree. Many countries have cheaper stores such as pound, euro or dollar shops, and these generally stock very reasonably priced decorations.

We can be pressured into buying expensive gifts for each other. If you are short of money, it is important to set a budget so that you don’t end up in too much debt after Christmas. If you buy individual presents for family members, you might try buying a family gift rather than one for each. This can prove to be a considerable saving. Board games and gift certificates are presents that the whole family can enjoy.

Homemade gifts are often cheaper than presents bought in a store. Thought and care goes into making these gifts and people will appreciate this. You can put skills such as sewing, knitting and embroidery to good use at Christmas. If you are experienced in the kitchen, you can make biscuits, chutneys, jellies, and cakes. Put them into suitable containers and decorate with ribbons and bows. They will look more expensive than they actually are to make.

Halloween Expenses and Creative Budgeting

scarecrowIf you recently lost your job or had unforeseen expenses, you may find it difficult to pay for all the extras that you normally provide your child. It may be painful to trim your budget. One of the places to trim excess immediately is the amount of money that you spend on holidays. This brief blog entry explores three ways to save money in the specific context of Halloween.

The first method of saving money has to do with eliminating unnecessary clothes buying. How many times have you bought a Halloween t-shirt for your child and she only wore it once? This is a type of spending where you can save. You have to invest in some type of Halloween costume. The t-shirt can wait until next year.

spooky-nightThe second method to save concerns the purchase of seasonal merchandise. When you want to decorate your house for Halloween, you can be tempted to go to the dollar store or super-center and buy things for inside and outside of your home. All of these expenses are in addition to Halloween candy, your child’s costume, and toys that you typically buy. One way to save money is to buy one or two decorations and a decent toy for your child to enjoy. All of the trimmings for your home’s interior and exterior are really unnecessary unless you are hosting a Halloween party.

The third method concerns creating a costume that incorporates things your child already owns. It might be buying the accessories for your daughter’s fairy outfit or creating a worker’s costume to go with your son’s tool-belt. Spend your money wisely on part of the costume and save money.

Halloween and other holidays are costly for parents. When you are on a tight budget, you should look for ways to save money without guilt. Your child will remember the time that you spent with him or her doing holiday activities and making memories. How much you spent on the stuff for Halloween should be less important.

How to Save Money at the Gas Pump

gasWith gas prices rising ever higher, it has become more important than ever before for every driver to save money and gas wherever he or she can. After all, buying less gas not only helps you have a fatter wallet, but in these uncertain times it helps make the country as a whole less dependent on foreign oil. In addition to reducing the country’s exposure to volatile parts of the world and saving money, cutting down on the burning of fossil fuels may even help to protect the planet and keep it clean and green.

Whether you drive the smallest compact car, one of those new hybrids or a big SUV, there are simple yet effective steps you can take to cut your gasoline consumption and trim your commuting costs. If you’d like to do your part to help protect the environment, and your wallet, from rising gas prices, just consider these gas saving tips.

Combine trips whenever possible – by combining all your errands into one shopping trip, you can cut the number of miles you drive, and the number of gallons of gas you use in your daily life.

Buy the lowest grade of gas you can – even though many cars, trucks and SUVs specify premium gas, most modem cars do not really need this extra octane. While some specialized vehicles and sports cars can benefit, the vast majority of everyday vehicles do just fine with regular gas.

Clean out your trunk – every pound of extra weight in your car’s trunk will reduce gas mileage to some degree. It is a good idea to give the car a good spring cleaning and store or discard all those items that have been weighing down the trunk.

Get regular tune-ups – keeping your car, truck or SUV tuned up does more than make it last longer. Regular tune-ups and maintenance can also keep the vehicle running more efficiently. Often something as simple as replacing a clogged fuel filter or changing fouled spark plugs can boost mileage significantly.

Keep the tires inflated – under-inflated tires will do great harm to not only fuel economy but tire wear and even safety. Keeping the tires properly aligned, balanced and inflated will help to improve overall fuel economy and driving safety.

Avoid the temptation to top off the tank – topping off the tank does nothing more than waste gas and money. Modem cars, trucks and SUVs are designed to know when they are full, eliminating the need to top off.

Drive as slowly as conditions permit – Driving at 55 miles per hour can boost fuel economy two miles per gallon or more compared to driving at 6 5, 70 or faster. Avoiding jackrabbit starts and quick stops can boost fuel economy even more.