Stick to a budget this holiday season

John Catton, Campus Carrier Staff Writer

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year again—however, it might not be the best time of the year for your pocketbook. Here are some tips on how to have a merry Christmas on a dime:

Give your time. Sometimes the simple gift of spending time with family and loved ones can be the best gift you can give. You can spend money on toys or electronics, but fun memories can last forever.

Swallow your pride. We are all college students here. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give the perfect gift. Sometimes the best gift for someone is something practical that they might need. Even helping someone purchase a textbook for next semester might not sound like a great gift at first, but your friend will be grateful, no matter what.

Use your hands. Christmas ornaments are always a good idea. They are what makes your Christmas tree unique to you. Making handmade ornaments is a cheap and easy gift idea. You may not have done any arts and crafts since elementary school, but homemade ornaments can be very sophisticated, beautiful and add a personal touch to someone’s tree. They are also really fun to make. Good Housekeeping and Southern Living provide many great ideas to get you started. Other great homemade gifts are small stocking stuffers. Personalizing a stocking with small, fun and meaningful gifts can go a long way.

Mix it up. Cookies and other treats are always a favorite during the holidays. You can get creative with decorating sugar cookies or finding a holiday fudge recipe. The Food Network has a great page of easy-to-make holiday baking recipes.

Get thrifty. Almost every business will have a sale of some sort from now until Christmas, so be sure to keep up with what’s on sale by checking the company’s mailers, website or social media for in-store offers.

Buy online. There are so many more gift options online than in stores, especially here in Rome. You may be surprised at the number of options on gift websites or even sites like Amazon. These sites also offer free shipping and coupons throughout the holidays, so make sure to check back regularly.

Because Christmas is a season of giving, it is about the spirt of your gift that counts. A great Christmas gift does not need to be expensive in order to be appreciated. Remember these tips to make both you and your wallet a little merrier this holiday season.

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