Gifts

Spend Gift Cards Now to Avoid Losing Them

Last Christmas I received several gift cards. It took me a few months to use up the coffee cards, 11 months to use the iTunes cards, and I’m still holding onto my Best Buy cards. So far I haven’t received any additional cards, but I’ve got a different tactic in mind in case I do: spend them promptly, and here’s why. Stores May Go Out of Business It’s…
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Don’t Waste Money: Make a Gift Card Log

It’s the holiday season, which means my husband and I have already come into possession of several gift cards. We don’t want to let them go to waste, so I’m creating a gift card log and keeping it in my notebook so I can keep track of the cards as I spend them, and remember which cards I still have. How to Make a Gift Card Log Making the log…
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Hostess Gifts That Won’t Break the Bank

When you’re invited to a party during the holiday season, or at any time of year, tradition dictates that you bring a hostess gift. Buying a nice bottle of wine for every hostess can quickly add up. Rather than buy wine by the case, stock up on more affordable gifts that you can give throughout the year. Craft stores are great places to find great hostess gifts, especially…
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7 Homemade Christmas Gifts that Don’t Suck

There are good ideas for homemade Christmas gifts, and then there are bad ideas. Good ideas can be inexpensive, but they shouldn’t look cheap (unless they’re being given by kids.) Bad ideas can be expensive, and yet somehow look cheap or miss the mark by a wide margin. If you’re planning to make gifts, you have to start now to avoid running out of time to make them right.…
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How to Buy Christmas Presents That Don’t Suck

Over the years, I’ve received good Christmas presents and bad presents over the years. Some of the bad ones were just weird, and there’s no avoiding that. However, some of them well-intentioned but totally missed the mark. Choosing the right Christmas presents can be hard, so here are my tips for finding the best ones, whether you go with homemade gifts or store-bought. A High Price Does Not Equal a…
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Agree on a Holiday Gift Budget with Your Spouse

My husband and I have never been the type to think we need to spend hundreds of dollars on each other at Christmas. In fact, many years we’ve opted not to exchange gifts and instead bought something big jointly, like our trip to Belize or a Wii. If you and your spouse plan to exchange gifts, make sure you agree on a budget beforehand. Spend a Lot or…
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How to Create Your Holiday Wish List

My mom recently asked what we wanted for Christmas this year. I usually have a list of things to buy in my notebook, so I sent her that list. It was mostly small, fairly affordable items. I’m simply not in the mood to acquire a lot of stuff for the sake of stuff this year. Anything expensive, I’m already considering buying for myself or my husband and I…
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Christmas Shopping Season Starts Now

If you’ve ventured into a store recently, you’ve no doubt been assaulted by Halloween decorations. Which is fine, it is almost October. But if you continued around to the other side of the display, you may have also been confronted by Christmas decorations. That’s right, the holiday shopping season has begun. In fact, my Joann’s mailer already has Christmas decorations at a discount! So, apparently, the holiday discounting…
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Good News for Gift Card Holders

Today, the Federal Reserve announced long-awaited new rules governing gift cards. For some of you, your state laws already provided these protections, but now they will be extended to all consumers as of August 22, 2010. The new rules also apply to network cards (bank-issued cards), which many state laws do not. If you’ve got gift cards in your wallet, here’s what you need to know. Gift Card Expiration Dates…
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