GREETING CARDS FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Here is a tried and true practice that I have always lived by when it comes to sending greeting cards. There are 20 stamps in a book of stamps from the Post Office. That costs about $8.60. I fill out 20 greeting cards and try to send out only 20 cards (based on the number of stamps I have.) I also don’t go all out on greeting cards. I get the packs that come with either 16 or 20 cards. Now I’m not all that cheap, I do try to go for the classy looking cards and not the cheesy “Santa, Ho Ho Ho” cards (hate those!), so that means I have to spend lots of time perusing the greeting card bin at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart (or wherever greeting cards are on sale). This comes in especially handy when you have a large extended family like I do. If you take the time to do that, and stick to only sending about 20 cards, you will save lots of time and money.
GREETING CARDS WITH GIFTS
Here is how you can still save money when sending greeting cards with gifts or gift cards inside of them. Again, one of my favorite places, The Dollar Store, usually has a 2 cards for $1 card rack. This comes in handy when sending to multiple people. These cards are sometimes a little nicer than the boxed cards and are great when you want a little upgrade for sending gifts, but still budget friendly. I also don’t go all out on the gift cards. I find that $5 gifts cards for places like Starbucks, Panera, or McDonald’s (or other fast food restaurants) come in handy and go a long way when you are sending them to relatives and friends who you know are busy and on the go all the time. You have given them a treat and you haven’t broken the bank. Now, you may have to go back to the post office one more time to get a few extra stamps, but you at least will know how many you will need upfront. And don’t get all willy nilly with trying to get everyone you know a gift. Don’t feel obligated. Onlyget gifts (if you want to) for those people you feel closest to or those you talk to the most. It’s okay to be a Scrooge when it comes to avoiding overspending for the holidays.
GREETING CARDS AND/OR GIFTS AT WORK
What I also do is, get a pack of cards to distribute at work plus a pack of Dollar Store candy canes. But you have to stick to a plan with that also. Again, most greeting cards come in packs of 16 or 20. You can’t feel obligated to give everyone at work a card. Only give what you can and to the people with whom you work with the most. It goes a long way. Also, if there is an office gift exchange, try to suggest a set spending limit like $5 or $10 so that no one feels obligated to go all out for the boss or goes broke trying to do it.
Trust me, these tips make for a less stressful holiday season. Remember, the important part of the holidays is to spend time with family and friends, especially during a recession. Recently, I heard a news program commentator say that it often, during this time of year, it means more when you take the time to call and catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or take someone out to lunch or dinner and spend time with them. Everyone is feeling the brunt of the economic issues and sometimes, during times like these, less is actually more.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
bougie on a budget