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Financial Topics & Tips

This Year, Make It a Happy, Financially Smart Holiday!

Does anyone really want to go into debt?  

No, but you still need to buy things for various people on your holiday gift list.  And you don’t want to disappoint anyone or have them think you don’t care because your gift is inexpensive. With some planning, however, you’ll be able to stick to a budget that leaves debt out of the picture (completely!) and without hurting anyone’s feelings.

To do that would be the holiday gift you give yourself.

Here’s a great website we found. It’s filled with ideas for a joyous, yet financially smart, holiday season. Check out and use both the gift list and holiday spending worksheets. Both will help you design – and stick to – a budget. The website also lists 63 inexpensive but thoughtful gift ideas. Here are some of them. Feel free to use the ideas that best fit the people on your list, but also use them as a springboard for coming up with your own ideas. After the holidays, you’ll be glad you did.


• Gourmet coffees with a personal coffee cup.
• Journal with special inscription inside.
• Deck of cards and book of card game rules.
• Homemade cocoa mix in a pretty jar.
• Gel pens and pretty stationery.
• Bottle of sparkling cider.
• Home baked bread with a recipe included.
• Basket filled with deli, cheese and fruit.
• Holiday serving bowl or platter.
• Pretty basket filled with special jams or mustards.
• Decorative napkins and napkin rings.
• Fancy chocolate bars tied with a ribbon.
• Photo album – hand decorated is even better.
• Homemade cookie mix with instructions for baking.
• Gourmet popcorn and flavored oil.
• Locally made barbeque or steak sauce with basting brush.
• Pancake or waffle mix and a bottle of real maple syrup.
• Specialty cookbook.
• Pretty glass jar filled with candy.
• Movie theater gift certificates.
• Muffin mixes with muffin pan.
• Books – there are still a few for under $10.
• Set of dish towels and dish cloths.
• Pepper mill and fresh peppercorns.
• Pretty box for keepsakes.
• Address book.
• Christmas ornaments.
• Puzzles.
• Favorite quote embroidered on a nice handkerchief.
• Makeup brush set.
• Expensive socks – still under $10.
• Special soaps and bath puff.
• Home baked cookies in a pretty tin.

If you’ve already spent more than you wanted to this year, clip this article and start a “money-smart holiday” file, adding your own ideas for gifts and money-saving things you can do. And of course, if you haven’t done it yet, sign up for the credit union’s Christmas Club so that next year, you’ll get a check right before the holiday shopping begins.

Click here to complete a simple form that requests The Tennessee Credit Union open a Christmas Club account for you for next year.  Save a little each month and you will have a nice stash of money in October, when the funds are transferred to your Savings or Checking account at TTCU.