11/16/2011 5:26 PM ET|
7 biggest holiday money wasters
Not every holiday tradition is worth the money, and some richly deserve to be scuttled. Whether it's gift wrap or a Secret Santa gift exchange, here are some of the prime candidates.
The great thing about holiday traditions is that you don't have to think much about them. You just do them, because it's that time of year.
But some holiday traditions deserve a closer look. They don't add nearly enough to your holiday enjoyment to justify their cost -- and some of them actually detract from your enjoyment.
So consider giving these money wasters the boot this year:
1. The blowout holiday dinner
You can easily spend way too much on a meal that will be digested and forgotten in just a few hours. With a little care and planning, you can host a special meal that won't eat through your pocketbook, said Stephanie Nelson, a grocery expert and the creator of CouponMom.com.
First, pick your main dish carefully. Grocery stores often sell turkeys, hams and some types of beef below their cost as so-called loss leaders to get people into stores.
"Traditional dishes makes sense because the grocery stores put the ingredients on loss leader," Nelson said. "You're not going to get a good deal on a goose or a duck or something more exotic. They're not going to put that on sale."
Even on sale, though, a beef roast will set you back $3 a pound, and gourmet grocers can charge five or six times that amount. Contrast that with the price of turkey, which you can often score for less than $1 a pound. In the past, Nelson has scooped up a couple of frozen turkeys on after-Thanksgiving sales for just 29 cents a pound.
If you want to serve beef, consider a stew, gumbo or goulash that will serve a crowd without slaughtering your pocketbook. If it's got to be a roast, consider buying it from a warehouse club. Such outlets typically offer "higher quality at a lower cost," Nelson said.
Pay attention to the side dishes as well. Steer clear of those that require expensive ingredients, particularly the ones that require a quarter-teaspoon of a $5-a-bottle spice that might sit in your cabinet the rest of the year.
In Atlanta, where Nelson lives, sweet potato soufflés are a traditional holiday dish and are often topped with pecans that can run $7 or $8 a pound. Instead, Nelson makes a crumble topping with oatmeal, brown sugar and butter that costs just pennies.
"A lot of people don't think about these costs, but these are the kinds of things that are going to put you over the top," Nelson said.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Another holiday waster is the high cost of Christmas gifts. Check out this blog where someone is taking a $10 challenge. Copy and paste the link below. just be sure to delete the space before the "com".
As for the checked bag fees, I haven't flown for close to 15 years and don't intend to for several reasons that you can probably figure out for yourselves.
THE BIGGEST MONEY WASTERS IS CONGRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I meant that there are so many people that aren't doing "fine" this year...and that they are of the 99% (like us) ...the only difference would be we---well-we still have our computers (for example); and it's just alotta work to pretend everything is fine because for so many- it's not.
Most of these idea's are stupid, but what is more stupid is the people that attend Black Friday to save money, then use a credit card. Thinking they are saving 50% by making payment over the rest of the next year and really pay 150% for the item is stupid. A really stupid person uses a credit card (debt) to buy Christmas.
I have never been so stupid as to go into debt for Christmas or attend a Black Friday rip-off sale, but this year I am asking everyone I know to boycott Black Friday and enjoy Thanksgiving. It is the only way to support Occupy Wall Street and let our elected officials know what will happen next Nov. The sales will still be there the next monday and more likely even better priced.
I also need to thank God for my wife. She got 40 rolls of wrapping paper for $5 after Christmas and we are still using it. She does things like that with all of our holiday items and there will always be next year to use them.
Moral of my story is don't be stupid and go into debt, avoid Black Friday, and buy decorations after the holiday. You'll be without stress all year, enjoy your Thanksgiving, and save a lot.
Google "how to make homemade paper" and there's a bunch of creative cites that pop up! Check out "paper Alice"; she's about third down on the first page that comes up...but it's a youtube video-and it gives great/creative ideas on how you could use alot of that christmas wrapping paper :)
You could make this year's gift tags with sheredded scraps of holiday (or whatever) paper. So if you cannot avoid buying gift wrap for whatever reason...at least you might feel less guilty if you know you can use it in a project...kids would have a blast with this one too-I've been meaning to bring it up to my child's art teacher since the little ones these daysseem to be acutely aware of the need for recycling.
For various reasons, the last 2 or 3 Christmas' were not the greatest for me. However, this year is very different. We decided to make Christmas Eve the big family get-together in our home, leaving our adult kids to have their own family celebration Christmas morning. Past Christmas' ended up being vey chaotic. We rushed around to each family home delivering gifts so we could see them being opened. We were on such a tight schedule so we would not interfere with any plans they might have with their spouses' family. Those days are gone..good reddens!!
I'm not sure why we didn't figure this out earlier, but I'm so glad we did finally and I'm getting busy planning the menu, table settings (I splurged and bought 20 beautiful Christmas dinner plates), shopping for food and gifts for everyone. So, Merry Christmas to you and your family.
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