The Frugal Diva has a few rules:
1. Remember this is a holiday not a death march.
2. Make a list with budgets and options for everyone. Those who shop Black Friday, stores will run out of certain items. You and your loved ones have lived this long without them, you will live even longer if you don’t stress about losing a bargain.
3. Do not leave home without googling stores and brand names with the word “discount” or “coupon” or “offer.” You never know what will pop up.
4. Do not leave home altogether and do all your shopping on the internet.
5. Give a gift card so everyone can take advantage of the after holiday sales. Take a minute to consider the people on your list and where they normally shop and eat. Meat eaters do not want The Veggie Grill, it takes city dwellers forever to get to a Walmart, and niche boutiques do not suit everyone. When in doubt, Target is always a great choice.
6. Fun and low cost item – magazine subscriptions. A little luxury for the whole year.
7. No cost. Agree that everyone has what they need and donate some time to a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or the charity of your choice.
8. Clean out your closets and donate items to the thrift stores in your community. This is the gift you give yourself.
9. If you are out shopping this is when you need to come home. You are in danger of getting into a fist fight over a parking space, you are cursing the person in front of you in line, you are losing consciousness in an over crowded mall elevator – these are all signs that you need to leave and brew a nice cup of tea in your own kitchen.
10. Surprise people by being extra courteous in crowded stores, offering your place in line to a senior citizen or pregnant woman, and spreading good will to everyone you see. If they don’t have you committed, you might have the best holiday ever.