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Don't Let the Holidays Break Your Budget

Holidays often mean special foods and gifts for family and friends. The extra spending can strain your budget.You can gain some budget-stretching ideas by trying this activity. Answer the questions and mark an “X” in the box that applies to you.
Don't Let the Holidays Break Your Budget

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Yes, I already do this.No, but I plan to do this.This won't work for me.

Do you set a holiday budget and keep track of what you spend?
Don’t forget to include costs for holiday cards and postage, food, etc.

Do you set a spending limit for each person?
Consider writing the name of the person on an envelope, write the total on the envelope and subtract the cost of the purchase. Put the gift receipts in the envelope.

Do you draw names for gifts instead of buying for everyone?
Along with drawing names, set a limit on the amount to be spent.

Do you give gifts of time or talent?
Consider giving homemade gift mixes, or “coupons” for baby-sitting, cleaning, help with cooking, repairs or painting.
– For food mix ideas, see
– For beverage mix ideas, see

For holiday gatherings, do you have a potluck where everyone brings food to share?
This spreads the work and the costs among people, and allows everyone to have fun.
Be the person who promotes health, too, by bringing a healthful salad or fruit platter.

Or try swapping lower-calorie for higher-calorie ingredients in your recipes. See “Now Serving: Recipe Makeovers” at for some tips.

Do you comparison shop for grocery prices and gift items?
Be sure to read the sales fliers, but also consider the cost for mileage when you shop in many stores.


Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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