Life After Debt Management: Holiday Saving IdeasBeing a debt management plan graduate, I have a little experience with getting through the holiday season on a budget.

The whole budgeting thing doesn't end once you complete your DMP, it's something that you have to stick with for the rest of your life. The holidays are just around the corner, and I'd like to give you a couple ideas that have worked for me over the years and might help you save a little.

Halloween

Halloween is almost here, but you don't need to spend a lot on costumes. We told the kids we would like to make some homemade costumes and we needed their help. We looked in the garage and attic for old hats, ties, scarves, shoes, dresses, shirts, and more. We took the kids to the local thrift store and had them help add to what they already found. Sometimes thrift stores even have slightly used costumes. 
 
Another idea for a budget-friendly costume is to use an old box. You can be creative and think of something to make out of it; some ideas include: a Jack-in-the-box with many colors, a Christmas present, or maybe even a dresser and your head can be made into a lamp. Use things around the house like paper plates and aluminum foil. We used the dust off of coal to put on our faces for makeup. Be creative and just have fun. 

Thanksgiving

At Thanksgiving time, we always keep an eye out for sales. My wife and I shop the ads and plan our menu around those items that way we start out with how we can save.  If you always have a big get together, ask guests to bring something to share. Everyone feels good when they get compliments on the dish they brought.

You might want them to let you know what they are bringing, since you don't want everyone to bring green bean casserole.

Christmas

When low on cash for Christmas presents, you can use these ideas that we've used and have worked well.

First, consider a Secret Santa Exchange, instead of exchanging gifts with everyone. We talked ahead of time with the adult kids in the family and said some family members are having financial problems for Christmas. We put everyone's name into a hat and we each drew out a name-that is who we would buy a gift for. We also agreed on a spending limit. You don't know until Christmas who has your name when the presents are handed out.
 
Another fun, special thing we did is that we told everyone we couldn't afford much but we still got something for everyone. Christmas day we sat everyone down and handed out three presents and told them nobody could open them until everyone got their presents. The small one was a movie we knew they would like. A slightly larger one was a box of popcorn. Then we handed them the largest package and told them not to shake it because it was fragile. When they opened the big present they laughed because it was their favorite soda. If they had shaken it, they would have known because of its shape.

Dennis Bauman, Debt Management Plan Graduate with CareOne Services, Inc. Leading Provider of debt relief servicesDennis Bauman

Dennis Bauman has been on a Debt Management Plan (DMP) customer with CareOne Debt Relief Services since October of 2007 and recently graduated to become debt-free!! Dennis Bauman works in the manufacturing industry, creating floor tile. Having officially completed the Debt Management Plan, Dennis Bauman is excited to share what his experience on the DMP was like as well as what made his experience a successful one. Look for more posts under the My Journey Out of Debt blog. Compensated CareOne Debt Relief Services Blogger.