smart spending

10 frugal tips for the ho-ho-holidays

Give beautiful gifts while keeping the green in your pocket
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Most frugality sites shun gift wrapping as an unnecessary expense, and give suggestions like recycling store bags or newspapers to wrap gifts. Bah, humbug!

I love a beautifully wrapped gift, and have a reputation for them that belies how little I really spend on it. I limit my color palette for Christmas to red, green and gold, so that everything I do buy mixes and matches, and I only buy wrap, ribbons and tags at 75 percent off or more.

If you wait until closer to New Year's, whatever is left will be 75 percent to 90 percent off at drug stores and the fabric stores, which are a surprisingly good place to find these items and have beautiful ribbons that make for a much more elegant package than premade bows from the discount stores. I'm kind of picky and still manage to add several items to my stash each year, and can wrap extravagantly with no guilt!

The boxes from your office that file folders and envelopes come in also make great gift boxes -- they fold flat for storage, and you can wrap just the lid and save the box for reuse if it's used for an item staying in your immediate family.

Springfield, Mo.




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