smart spending

4 places to slash holiday costs

Holiday giving can quickly burn a hole in your budget. But gifts are hardly the only expense during this season.

Happy holiday extras quickly add up, whether they are gift supplies, seasonal decorations, food for parties or plane tickets to see loved ones.

But trimming these holiday expenses can help fatten your bottom line. Do it right, and your holiday will be just as festive as the spend-a-thons of previous years.

Here are some ways to avoid breaking the bank while celebrating the season.

1. Saving on supplies

Gift wrapping doesn't have to scream "holiday." Experts suggest ditching the Santas and snowmen and instead reaching for solid red, green, white, silver, gold or blue. Brad Stroh, co-CEO of, also suggests butcher paper, newspaper and even old fabric for wrapping.

The wrapping style can also tie into the gift, Stroh says. Put kitchen utensils in a cookie jar or (clean) empty oatmeal container. Or, put beach-themed items into an inexpensive plastic pail.

For those set on traditional wrapping paper, buy it off-season, or buy it at a dollar store, discount paper store or outlet.


The cost of holiday cards (and stamps) also adds up. Consider e-cards instead. Free cards can be sent from many Web sites.

Or, you can up the ante by sending a video. One True Media offers free video e-greetings, blending family photos and video into montages with music and special effects.

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