The Heart of Christmas on a Shoestring Budget 12/17/06

The Heart of Christmas on a Shoestring Budget 12/17/06

Stewart H. Welch III, CFP, AEP
Founder, The Welch Group, LLC

The Heart of Christmas on a Shoestring Budget


“The Heart of Christmas on a Shoestring Budget”


With only a few days left until Christmas, you’re probably busy with last minute shopping.  Hopefully, if you followed my advice in my December 3rd column, you’ll be able to finish the holidays in good financial shape.  However, some of you may find that you’re out of money but still have names on your gift list.  Here are some terrific ideas from our contest winners that offer the spirit of Christmas, at bargain prices.

Ann King of Birmingham is retired but remains young at heart. She loves working in the yard and being around other people.  Her gift is time ‘certificates’ that include doing landscaping, gardening, planting and pruning several times throughout the year.  Other ideas would include baby sitting “coupons” to give young parents a night out; three-day weekend ‘day-care’ for children or elderly persons; and personal shopping trips.  A gift of time for someone you care about is truly a gift of your heart.

Jim Parrish of Homewood obviously has a knack for all things technological because he will set up all the new tech toys that his friends and family received for Christmas.  According to Jim, “Gadgets and gizmos are a favorite to get anyone for Christmas but sometimes they are the hardest to figure out. Ipods, BlackBerries, jump drives, Wireless Internet Routers, Media Entertainment are all great gifts, but they require the technical know-how to make them work”. Before you buy wireless take a look at the top 5 wireless routers to buy and get router that is right for you.  This is also a great way for younger people to connect with the older generation.

Susan Goodwin of Gardendale knows her way around the kitchen. She cooks and freezes single portion meals to use as gifts. These meals are so much tastier and healthier than so many fast food meals.

Our final winner, Vicki Herring of Birmingham uses her special recipe to stir up some holiday treats.  This one requires no cooking and just a few simple ingredients:

 Marinated Crackers

1 pkg. dry Hidden Valley dressing mix

2 tsp. lemon-pepper marinade

2 tsp. dill weed

1 cup vegetable oil

Variety of snack crackers, mini-pretzels, & nuts

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and pour over cracker mix.  Toss well.  Turn every 30 minutes until oil is absorbed.  Store in air-tight container and they will be good for 2-3 weeks.

This recipe makes a big batch of crackers that have a distinct flavor.  The more crackers you use, the less time it takes to turn and absorb the dressing.  Package in a pretty holiday tin or an attractive jar with a bow or sprig of greenery.

I’m sure you can come up with some great ideas as well.  Each of these winners will receive a copy of my book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Rich”, just in time to give for Christmas!

Happy Holidays!