Make more with less, and win a Windows Phone 7

By Mir
November 15, 2010

Four and a half years ago, I started Want Not after several friends convinced me that my ability to squeeze blood from a stone when it came to spending was something I should be sharing with the world. Back then, in my very first post, I said—among other things—the following:

I believe in giving money and time to charity as a matter of course. I do both, even when sometimes it would be a lot easier not to. Part of the reason I make charitable donations even when money is tight is selfish; it reminds me that no matter how I’m feeling, there are plenty of people who have less. And as long as that’s true, I will donate a portion of my earnings.

I used to talk about charity here on the site quite a lot; and the truth is that I’m not entirely sure why I don’t as much, any more. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s that I’m worried I’ll turn some people off to the fun of hunting for deals by droning on about my personal beliefs surrounding giving back, maybe it’s because we’re feeling the crunch this year as much as anyone and I’ve sort of been putting off some of my customary giving on the assumption I can catch up now, at the end of the year.

This weekend I listened to Stephanie Nelson (a.k.a. The Coupon Mom) talk about how her wildly successful site grew from the germ of a simple and selfless idea: She was trying to teach folks about grocery couponing so that they would then consider donating just one food item per week to their local food banks. That’s it. Stephanie wasn’t looking to run a business, she was just looking to feed the hungry. Save the money, make painless donations.

That got me thinking about how I used to spend the holiday season hounding y’all to pick up toy deals and donate them. It’s more fun to ogle pretty shoes and think about getting our kids the latest and greatest toys for less than it is to talk about all of the kids for whom Santa won’t be coming this year, or to remember that plenty of kids (and adults) still don’t have winter coats. But after listening to Stephanie talk, I remembered that having less money this year or more people stretching their own budgets further than ever before doesn’t mean we can’t do even more for those less fortunate than ever before.

So this is my challenge to you, and one I’ll be taking myself, as well: How much good can you make from the money you save this season? Can you buy extras for donations? Can you donate money to the charitable outlet of your choice? Does getting better deals and spending less money mean you can work a little less, and therefore donate your time? I don’t care how you do it, just find a way to turn less into more, because if every one of us does even a little, suddenly—like Stephanie talked about—there’s a big difference happening. And that’s awesome.

* * * * *

Here, let me help kick-off a bit of that generosity—how does a brand-spanking-new Windows Phone 7 sound in terms of being able to do more with less? Pretty good, right? From now until November 29th, 2010, leave a comment on this post telling me how you plan to make more with less this holiday season for a chance to win. Please see the official contest rules for all the details and a list of other sites where they’re also giving away a phone—you can only enter once here, and I only have one phone to give away, but you can also enter once on each of those other sites, too.

After the 29th, I’ll choose a winner at random via, and that winner will have five days to get back to me or I’ll choose someone else.

What are you waiting for? It’s a chance to win wrapped up in a challenge to do more. I hope you’ll join me.

This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Learn more about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.


  1. I am purchasing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner items to donate for the local harvesters! We also do an angel tree at the office and I will donate some toys for that as well!

  2. I plan to make do more with less this year by having a gift exchange with my family instead of buying for 20 people. Also, homemade cookies seem to go a long way 🙂

  3. We’re cutting back. Waaaay back. The husband and I rarely exchange gifts and when we do it is just a few small stocking stuffers. We plan on sticking to that this year. Also, we’ve been doing the THREE GIFTS thing for our two boys (they get three gifts, that’s it) and it saves money. They both have December birthdays and we hate that they get so much STUFF. We’re also thinking of asking family and friends to consider donating canned goods instead of gifts for their birthdays and giving them to a local food pantry. It’ll help others and we’ll all save money doing it.

  4. This year I am trying harder than ever to give back. I have been stocking up on canned goods, toiletries etc during sales and am donating them all. I also decided to cut back on the amount of money i spend on christmas and adopt a family this year. I am including my children in all of this so that can see how good it feels to give!

  5. We’re giving more charitable donations as gifts this year. Several family members are receiving donations to the Heifer Project.

    We gave cookies last year and plan to do it again. For groups like the library, though, we might do it in January when they aren’t inundated with baked goods!

  6. I’ll definitely be buying a few extra toys for Toys for Tots this season. I’ve already contributed to the local food bank.

  7. To cut back I am shopping sales on Amazon and am cutting back on how many presents, instead focusing on meaningful presents.

    Instead of giving money, my children and I are going to volunteer in our local food pantry and not just for the holidays.

  8. I got a new job and after several years of just scraping by, I can finally afford to give something back. I’ve adopted two angels and I’m hoping to be able to buy gifts using the deals I find on here so I can make their Christmas super happy.

  9. I always give my change to the Salvation Army’s kettles this year, but I’m going to try to slip some bills in there as well. Also, my company gives all of the employees gift cards to a grocery store at Thanksgiving. I’m going to use at least 1/3 of that to buy things for the food bank this year.

  10. I’m planning to donate food and give something (either toys or money) to Toys for Tots.

  11. We have several Christmas angels that we’ll be buying for through our Church. It’s a great way to teach the children about the meaning of Christmas.

  12. As a college student this is the first year I’ve had enough available cash to really do Christmas presents, real ones, for friends and family. I’m going to concentrate on picking up my gifts from environmentally and socially responsible sources, and trying as hard as I can not to support the giant corporations this winter.

  13. My daughter and I are shopping for women and childern at a local shelter. We don’t really have a lot of money but we can sure say no to a couple things on our own lists to buy toys and clothes for the homeless in our area. We are also making hats and scarves to give to the women. My daugher has also been really into helping the people of Haiti lately, we may do something but I’m not sure what that is yet.

  14. Instead of all the crap {um I mean fabulous gifts} I normally buy, I am helping a local family that has a 3 year old with nueroblastoma get through the holidays and make sure they don’t lose their house or car while having to spend their funds towards saving their daughter, Claire.

  15. We’ve decided against gifts this year and have adopted two families from the wish tree at church. My grands and I are having the BEST time shopping for them. And the lessons the kids are learning are priceless!!!

  16. Gift exchange with family, donations for families at church, and less material stuff in general.

  17. I am only giving items on the kids list. So tempting to ‘pick up that one extra thing’ and it almost always is never used. Those little somethings will go to toys for tots. Win, win – still get to scoop up the bargains and a good cause give.

    Thanks for all the tips!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. Every year we give to our local shelter, the Star of Hope. This year we are also giving toys to charity that include gently used ones and brand new toys and books that I have purchased from deals on Want Not over the years. Sometimes the savings are just so awesome that I buy extra for this time of year.

  19. Since we first got married, we have always made a promise to donate 10% of our income to various charities. Almost 16 years later, we are still keeping that promise — the amount has gone up and down according to our income but never according to our own needs or wants. In addition, volunteering plays a big role in our lives throughout the year, not just during the holidays. I work for a charity — so that is where some of the passion comes from! Thanks to everyone who gives and volunteers! It makes a HUGE difference!

  20. We are adopting a family this year and shopping yard sales and thrift stores for our only family gifts, all in an attempt to remember the importance of giving!

  21. My extended family has cut out giving each other gifts altogether, and the grandparents have agreed to buy the kids tickets or memberships to something that interests them. And we’re having the kids do chores around the house for money that they can donate to the charity of their choice.

  22. Yesterday I donated a huge box of toiletries to the Salvation Army. They give out hygiene kits. It was all stuff I collected for free with coupons.

  23. I do not buy gifts during Nov and Dec as a rule. This allows me to find more thoughtful gifts throughout the year – for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I’ll also donate the company-purchased turkey I’ll receive.

  24. After all the saving all year long, I have almost finished the shopping for the kids and family for Christmas. Since I won’t be having a big bill come January, we “adopted” a couple of kids in foster care to give to through church this year. I know that four kids (my two, and two in foster care) will get what they most want this Christmas and it makes me happy. In addition, those gifts in the gift closet that just haven’t been used? Going to charity to make even more kids happy. You were the one who told me how great it is to have a gift closet and I LOVE it! Smart, pretty Mir.

  25. We give coffee from to teachers and bus drivers. Not only are we giving a gift that everyone loves (coffee!) butwhatever we spend is matched and goes to World Vision’s work in Zambia. We also give 10% of our income to Torre Fuerte – a girls home in Peru that gives vulnerable girls off the streets and provides them with a home, a family and education.

  26. I plan on minimizing gift giving and increasing charity giving. I’ve been buying extra groceries to donate to the local food bank and sending cash donations as well. We have so much, and others need help, so this is our opportunity.

  27. Donation to Salvation Army and Toys for Tots. Also, food donation

  28. I’ve already (through a school fundraiser and a private company) sent a huge tin of popcorn and a pound of fudge to the troops overseas. Our university runs a soup kitchen of sorts, and I just picked up the list of supplies they need in the next three days to make the full Thanksgiving dinners they distribute…off to Aldi tonight to pick up a case of cranberry sauce!

  29. We regularly donate food to our food banks and utilize your website to snap up good deals on toys to donate to the various toy drives this time of year.

  30. I plan on NOT shopping on Black Friday for once this year and instead selling coffee to the crazy people in line at 3 in the morning. Then I’m going to take the money I make and send myself on vacation. 🙂 It’d be lovely to take a new phone with me.

  31. My family asks close friends and family members if they know of a family in need. We find out all about them and play Santa, making sure to get every member of the family a couple gifts, and by doing that getting a few less gifts for members of our family. Then we drop the bag off on the steps of the family’s house on Christmas Eve, and they never know where it came from. We just put “From Santa”.

  32. Our family is planning to do a gift exchange this year, and I have started shopping early to maximize deals. We will be donating gifts to families in need

  33. My kids and I went to the gift closet and cleaned it out completely for Toys for Tots. We also went through our pantry and picked out all the unopened baking and or Thanksgiving-type food and donated it to the local food pantry. each of my kids wants to donate money from their piggy banks towards a child on the giving tree at our church because they “don’t want any kids to have an un-merry Christmas”. Makes my heart burst. 🙂

  34. supporting salvation army and local angel trees whenever we can

  35. we will cut back on our own gifts and use that money to buy things for our local adopt a family initiatives. My daughter just brought home 2 tags she picked up and both were for items that certainly are not cheap – a DS game and a DVD. We talked a bit about this and I explained that they are great choices and to offset giving to someone who may not be getting much else, we will be reducing what each of us gets. I’ve wanted to downsize our Christmas spending for a couple years now and started in earnest last year. This year the gift tag opportunity really shone a light on how we can do this by giving up a bit ourselves. For my kids, who have plenty of DS games themselves (albeit purchased used or from gift cards) will understand how important something like that is to a child their age who may have only a handful of games.

  36. We’re making a donation to the food bank this week, praying that it will turn someone’s Thanksgiving into a joyful time.

  37. I have been combining coupons with the weekly grocery ad to pick up items for the food drives that happen this time of year!

  38. we are buying a foster child every gift that we buy for our son.

  39. My church does a very cool “Toy Store” day in mid-December. For 1 day, kids can come in and buy any toy that has been donated for $1. They can buy gifts for friends or family, an each kid who comes gets a hat and mittens for themselves.

    Over Thanksgiving weekend, we’ll be doing a toy donation for that. And now that the coupon-to-save-to-donate idea has been planted, I’m totally doing that!

  40. We have been stocking up on food items as they are on sale for giving to the local food bank. 🙂

  41. We will be donating a little extra money to Share The Holidays here in Wisconsin. Our donation wil stay in our county, which means the charity will help stock the local food pantry. I also plan on cutting back on gifts for our family.

  42. our school sponsors one in a lower income area for the holidays – each class is assigned a family and donates an entire Thanksgiving meal and gifts for the children.

  43. I think that sentimental gifts are the most memorable way to do more with less. My favorite gifts are photo calendars, filled with memories. These are easy and affordable, and can be tailored for families and friends.
    Lastly, don’t forget to spend a little something for those who can’t spend – whether it is adopting a family for a holiday or buying something small for a toy drive. When I was little, I was the recipient of a secret toys-for-tots gift (I had no idea where it came from, it was left at my doorstep), and it helped me continue believing in Santa although my family was not able to afford gifts that year!

  44. I am planning on doing a lot of Homemade goodies and crafts to give. Between my parents and inlaws, the older they get, they don’t need or want a lot. Few pictures printed out and put in a scrapbook or frames makes them VERY HAPPY. We also will be having a few “single” and “widowed” neighbors for the holidays to help lessen their alone time. It is great to get together but sometimes we get so caught up on the hussle and bussle that we forget what the holidays are all about. I am determined to enjoy my grandchild and visit with family and friends and forget so much about “gifts”.

  45. When there are good toy deals for toys that are not age appropriate for my grandson, I pick them up and before Christmas donate to Toys for Tots, its especially good because the charity always has problems collecting toys for the older kids and that’s the age I try to buy for. Kids woot is a great way to do this.

  46. I got a seasonal part-time job at a good clothing manufacturer, and part of my benefits includes a really excellent employee discount on merchandise. One of the things I plan to use my discount on is winter accessories (mittens especially) to donate to my kids’ school. That way nobody is going out at recess without something to keep their hands warm.

  47. For christmas presents this year I am making pillows with the kids names on them for all of my nieces and nephews and then only buying one SMALL gift to go with it. In past years I’ve had a tendency to go overboard and not knowing when to stop buying. This year – I’m keeping a list of all of the presents I have bought for everyone so I know exactly when I’ve spent the total I’ve set aside. Also giving framed pictures to grandparents – I think it’s great when you can buy a nice frame (they are always on sale) and put a picture in it – a much nicer gift then just giving them a picture.

  48. Handmade/Homemade items are almost always less expensive and I think very thoughful. I donate to a few charities throughout the year.

  49. We always donate toys for christmas. It breaks my heart to think of a child not being able to open any toys on that amazing day. So we tend to donate to Toys for Tots, and also to donate some toys locally. We also donate clothing and anything else that we can to local charities.

  50. After taking a couple years off from donating at Christmas time (I chose to quietly donate to a local charity earlier in the year, when money didn’t seem as tight) … I plan to return to our tradition of having each of my kids visit an angel tree and pick out gifts to donate. They know that means one less present for themselves which (I’m happy to say) makes them very proud! I think they’ve missed doing it 🙂

  51. We do the giving tree at church, add extra food to our food pantry donations, and help with the distribution of the toys and baskets at my husband’s job.

    Thanks for the opportunity, Mir.

  52. We will expand our giving to the local food bank and to KIVA.

  53. With the kids in school I get to see and do more donating, charities and such. We just donated food to a backpack thing with the local elementary school. People pack 14 kids book bags FULL of food for the weekends every weekend! I thought that was awesome.

    Our walmarts do angel trees, so I will have each kid pick an angel and we will do our best to help their Christmas be special like ours!!

    And with one more kid this Christmas (our 1yr old) we will be DEF doing a set number of gifts for each child. That will help with our budget!! yay!!

  54. I plan to use money I was spending on family and give it to a needy family. Our family will enjoy the time spent, not things~

  55. We live about 7 blocks from a homeless shelter, and I’ll be emptying my gift closet into theirs shortly after Thanksgiving. I have enough toys for our own holiday gifts for all the cousins and then some, and we have many children in need in our community.

  56. I love your post Mir. We try to do things throughout the year to help wherever we can. My husband donates regularly to many charities through his work (they come directly from his paycheck, which makes it so nice!). We also like to donate time wrapping presents for an Angel Tree type program.

    This year we also cut back on how much we are spending on our kids and hoping to focus more on appreciating how much we already have and how fortunate we are, especially in this economy that is destroying so many other people.

    I also am keeping my ears open around my kids school for families who need a little extra help this year. So many people just can’t afford to buy gifts for their kids.

  57. My kids and I would like to save enough money to be able to donate books to a local shelter. They are really excited about it!

  58. We do Christmas angels at our church as well. It’s great to try to get bargains on what they need and then do more angels with the extra money!

  59. We just filled 3 boxes for Operation Christmas Child through our church and I will be picking (at least) 2 angels off the tree at church next week. I think after I’ve picked the angels, its time to weed out the gift closet – I have a lot of gifts that are too young for my kids or others I regularly give to. I think those will go to my son’s school when they do their Toys for Tots drive next month.

    My older son’s school had a neat Food Bank drive last month, where certain foods were worth positive points, others negative – so you would donate positives to your class’s box and negatives to others. I made his day when I showed up on the last day of the drive with 2 bags full of food (I went to Aldi and bought as much food as I could for $10).

    Please don’t enter me into the drawing for the phone. I’m perfectly happy with my cheap phone and plan – I don’t want to spend the $$ for the plan that a windows 7 phone would entail.

  60. Just last week I weeded through my stockpile for things I really didn’t need and donated three bags full to the local food pantry. Looking for an organization that helps Homeless Veterans, any suggestions?

  61. My only thought so far about the holiday shopping has been buying for Santa’s Castle charity and donating my time there. I will need to start thinking about my own family soon, obviously.

  62. I’ve been buying used toys through my twin moms club’s classified ads…because 20 month olds don’t need *new* toys…just age appropriate, safe toys. We are clearing our cluttered house and donating our very nice but superfluous furniture so that the boys have enough space to play. We make sure to donate cash to our food banks so that they can leverage the money to buy what their clients actually *need* in food.

  63. We just moved to MN from CA, where we always adopted a family with a critically ill child through the Children’s Hospital and purchased their Christmas wishes. We’re planning to try to do the same in our new town.

  64. I’m hoping to find a way to teach my soon to be 2 year old about giving rather than receiving. Maybe we will do a shoe box and let her pick out all of the gifts. I’m still thinking about what might get through to her at such a young age.

  65. We plan on giving ‘couple’ gifts to our relatives instead of individual ones (so one gift to my SIL and her hubby instead of two) and plan on adopting a family ideally with a 3 year old like our own so our daughter can pick out a few age appropriate gifts and start learning about charity.

  66. I am taking donations from coworkers, friends and family for one of my best friends who is a Peace Corp volunteer in Africa. We’ll be sending some items to her and a lot of items for the children that live in her village.

  67. Buying less, buying only useful things.

  68. I’m doing two things. First, over the past few years, I’ve picked up great deals on some toys and stashed them in my toy closet. I’m going to give the toy closet a once over and donate many of those toys to Toys for Tots (or something similar).

    Second, my kids are saving a portion of their allowance (and mom & dad are supplementing) and we’ve adopted a familiy this year. We’ll be buying them things they need for their Christmas celebration through a local organization for abused and neglected children.

  69. At our annual family Christmas party this year, we are sponsoring a family who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas instead of giving gifts to cousins this year. Then we’ll have a fun game with inexpensive dollar or homemade gifts.

    And if I won this phone, I would give it to my hubby for his Christmas gift. Then he’d be happy AND I’d be happy.

  70. We’re planning our gifts in advance so we don’t buy spontaneously. Also, we enjoy going to the symphony and we know my in-laws do too, in their town. This year we’re buying each other tickets to the symphony in our own towns. This way we all get out together twice, once in each town, and all know we’re giving and getting gifts we’ll like and use.

  71. We are 75% done with Christmas shopping and partly done with food shopping (stuff that doesn’t spoil) so we have more spending money on hand for Nov & Dec. I will be shopping the grocery sales for last minute finds! Our favorite charity to give our extra to is Food for the Poor.

  72. Our food bank has been begging people to give this year – the last 2 years of a poor economy have dwindled their supplies. I have been so fortunate to be able to give several times to them this year – at one point they specifically needed peanut butter which is a huge staple for them and I was able to donate my stockpile (10 jars) knowing I would get some more coupons and build back up. And just this past weekend I decided my toiletries stockpile had gotten out of control so I pulled out a box and loaded it up with shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. It will all go to a good place!

  73. I’m concentrating more on giving quality of gift, not quantity, and not necessarily measured by monetary value. Finding one personalized gift that the recipient will love, rather than bombarding them with silly or expensive gifts. Making them something myself, gathering family recipes, giving photo gifts, whatever I know they will truly appreciate.

  74. Most family members get homemade gifts, freeing a bit of budget to go to the local “giving tree” in town and pick a random card to donate whatever gift is on that card. It goes to underprivileged children right in our own town, so I feel extra-good about it.

  75. Our church sponsors families that need assistance during this time of year.

  76. Instead of exchanging Channukah gifts with the other adults in my family, we’re chipping in and donating to a local charity. (The kids still get tons of schwag, though.)

  77. We keep Christmas simple around our house. Our kids get three small gifts and my siblings have agreed to not buy each other gifts. Instead we are to give each other things that we already own that we think each person/couple would enjoy and give the money we are saving to church or other nonprofit organization. We already are so blessed and have more than we each need, so we thought it would be fun to be creative and look around our homes for things to give.

  78. We donate to a mission associated with our church at all times of the year, but especially at this time of the year, we donate SOCKS. About 20% of the people who come into the mission (not a shelter) are homeless. So many people don’t have socks without holes (or socks at all!) … we make socks our special gift to them.

  79. I am putting my holiday savings toward the giving trees at church and the office. I enjoy being able to take a few tags off the trees and can only do so by saving money (by visiting WantNot!) on things I purchase for my family throughout the year.

  80. We donate to the food bank’s canned food drive, buy a turkey for food boxes at my son’s school, and do an angel tree angel. I also shop online to get the best deals to save money and we do a gift exchange instead of individual gifts for the adults.

  81. I’m donating Christmas gifts & food anonymously to a local family who is struggling. Someone did that for me several years ago and I’m trying to pass it on.

  82. I own a small business and as a holiday gift to my clients I donate money to our local food bank in their name. The food bank can purchase food in bulk and I am not giving useless gifts.

  83. We donate to Toys to Tots, EARN,the local Food Bank, Kiva, and Heifer International.

  84. Instead of exchanging gifts with cousins, the extended-family kids will be making a donation to Heifer International. And we’re donating pretty much the entire playroom to our therapy center.

  85. Homemade gifts for friends this year – and limited (very!) gifts to one another (family).
    We’ll also give secretly here and there… 😀

    Thanks – wow, what a give-away!! (I would even give this away – believe it or not!)

  86. Always empty out any leftovers from the gift closet to Toys For Tots. Also any gifts the girls have gotten throughout the year but not used/opened.

  87. We are doing handmade gifts, focusing on needs vs wants, and buying two of everything-one for us, one for someone else via toys for tots.

  88. I’m buying less and trying to save when I do buy. Thanks to Groupon and some sales the past three months, I have most of my shopping done. Not to mention that spreading out the spending makes it hurt a little less.

  89. Great ideas! I try to decorate my loft with as many every-day things as possible, such as used wooden palettes hanged on the wall (they look really lovely!) or small plants placed in cute cans as my tea cups were parceled in them.

  90. I have been cutting back and using coupon. Buying things only with some sort of coupon or discount, unless it can’t be helped. The money that I saved were used to buy extra food for the school food drive and gifts for the staff at school. Our family also plan to help the less fortunate through our church angel tree.

  91. We do a food drive with our cub scout pack where we deliver bags to houses in the neighborhood and pick them up a week later, then donate the food to the local food pantry. People are always very generous!

  92. I will continue the tradition (three years running) of hosting a canned food drive at my kids’ preschool, and we also adopt a family from our “Christmas mother” foundation. This year, I was able to score a brand new, still in packaging $90 bike for an 8 year old girl whose father just left their family for $50 from Craiglist! Still shopping for the other items, but WAHOO for finding what seemed impossible!

  93. Lots of homemade gifts, but I’m so tempted by cool etsy stuff I see. Giving? Probably not as much this year as I’d like to.

  94. Awesome contest and even more awesome idea! After the last few years of buying everyone on our list (and spending a lot to do so), this year we decided to just buy gifts for the kids (and those are going to be “boring” gifts of clothes and books about our faith that I’ve been buying little by little).

    For the grown-ups we are either giving something handmade or/and a gift to charity in their name.

    Plus, I want to donate to my local food bank and toys for tots or a woman’s shelter, regardless.

    I feel like in these times we SHOULD stop and reflect on how blessed most of us really are.

  95. I am active with The Pink Daisy Project, a wonderful one of a kind charity that provides groceries, housecleaning and other monetary support for women going through breast cancer treatment under age 45. SO I will be donating there for Christmas and asking that others do the same instead of getting me a present. I’m also helping 2 other families with no income by sending them presents for their children. I can afford to do this because Ihave saved a ton of money by shopping through here for most of my presents at all times of the year!

  96. My 10-year-old daughter and I will bake cookies and brownies for gifts for her teachers, bus driver, and violin teacher this year.
    Also, instead of buying gifts for all nieces/nephews, my siblings and I started a new tradition last year that we will do again this Christmas. All participating kids bring a $10 gift card to exchange (Walmart, Target, Gamestop, local movie theater, Books-A-Million, etc.). The adults put them in small gift bags and then the kids randomly choose a bag. Them they can trade with each other if they want to. They really enjoyed it last year and it saves a bundle on buying gifts for each kid. Not to mention the time you save because you don’t have to figure out what to buy a bunch of kids who have everything!

  97. My husband and I recently purchased 226 boxes of Frosted Flakes cereal for $.50 a box at a local grocery store that was going out of business. We are planning on donating a large portion to the local food bank. Hopefully someone’s holiday will be grrrrrreat!

  98. I plan to do more with less by teaching my 3 girls that Christmas isn’t all about gifts. It is about giving to others and spending more time with family.

  99. My boys are getting one good gift, and for each other night of Chanukah we’re donating toys, hats, gloves and jackets to our middle school’s gift drive. The boys are totally on board with this!!

  100. My family’s cutting back on all the extraneous Christmas stuff that mostly stresses us out and scheduling quality time together.

  101. I have been spending less the past couple of years by making gifts for family members…quilting and knitting. This year we’ve decided to draw names, so we each buy for just one person. We use some of the saved money to buy gifts for kids in need, make blankets for homeless kids, and make and deliver cookies to people who work on Christmas eve and day (police, hospitals, etc.) What a great time of the year!

  102. My friends and I have cut back on gifts for each other, choosing instead to just get together for the evening and enjoy each other’s company.

  103. We always donate extra to our food shelf near Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year we also gave more toward Compassion International. We sponsor one child and they ask that you give a certain amount (in addition to your regular monthly sponsorship) for a Christmas present. This year, we decided to sponsor extra kids for their Christmas presents, because not all kids have sponsors. (Anyone else want to sponsor a child in need? You get pictures and letters, etc. from the child you sponsor and you get to send things to them as well. 🙂 Don’t worry, I’m not remotely affiliated with them, other than loving to pieces the little girl we sponsor.)

  104. I plan to donate the supermarket earned points turkey to a foodbank. Donate to Toys for Tots and clothing to the Red Cross bins. My family members no longer exchange gifts except for the young children so I bake each family a tray of cookies,

  105. when money’s tight, the fallback is always to get a GREAT gift. If it’s something you really put some thought into, something the recipient has been wanting or will be super excited about even if they weren’t expecting it in the least, that can take a gift that’s not as expensive as you may have wanted and turn it into one of the best gifts of Christmas past!

  106. My husband and I are spending time with our families and the first grandchild on both sides – our son – over the holidays instead of presents. They live far away, so the gift of family is enough for us.

  107. I have been teaching my kids how to share with the less fortunate since they were babies. Every Christmas, we pick children who are my kids’s ages (now 7 & 3) from our church or school’s angel tree and shop for presents together. We also pick 2 additional presents to give to boys who would be the ages of my two older boys I lost (would be 9&8). It’s a way to keep their memories alive & imagine what they would have liked each passing year. Also for the last 2 Christmases, each child had to pick one of the presents they receive to give to another child. It has been tough for them, since my kids get really neat presents from a lot of family & friends.

    Between birthdays, Christian (me) & Hindu (husband) holidays, my kids get a lot of presents from all over. The gifts can get overwhelming, so for my daughter’s 7th birthday this past June, she decided to have her guests bring new/gently used books in lieu of presents for her. She & I took the books to an inner city youth program where she saw kids in need – in person – for the very first time. She saw the excitement & appreciation the kids had for her gifts. It really meant a lot to me to see the light bulb go on for her. Soon after, she started planning what to collect to give others for her next birthday.

    As for the money I’ve saved (thanks to Mir!), its allowed me to be more generous at church or at other times when I’m asked for donations. I know I can give b/c I’ve saved elsewhere.

  108. We usually travel over Thanksgiving and spend it with my parents. This year we can’t quite afford the trip so we are staying home. But on that day we are cooking a big meal and inviting anyone we know that doesn’t have anywhere to go on that day. Then on Black Friday we are going to get the kids up at 3:30 am and head to a local store where people stand in line for hours and we are going to set up a hot chocolate/coffee stand and will pass out cups to the cold shoppers. No charge…just a random act of chocolaty kindness. =D

  109. I admit it–when you put up a screaming deal on toys or clothes, I often buy several: one for my kids, one for the gift closet, and sometimes one for the toy drives and Angel trees. Last year was a BLAST, because I had so many things just perfect for the families we wanted to help, already sitting in my closet.

  110. We donate toys every year to the low-income day care in our area. It makes us feel good to clean a few spots from the shelves, and it makes them feel good to have used but great condition toys to give in the season. we also do this in summer.

  111. rather than go into debt like i do every year with the gift shopping/giving/over adundance/guilt compensating, my kids are old enough (10, 16, 18) to get that “things” arent what the holiday is all about. so, instead of having santa leave presents this year, we’re going to have a quiet christmas and then join some friends for a no frills, pared down holiday spent making memories. hot cocoa, snowball fights, board games (that may or may not be missing pieces). this will free us up to particpate in ALL the food drives (school, church, work, sports) because there wont be any standing in lines, walking thru the mall like zombies trying to spend equal amounts on all 3 of them. we usually try to fit them in but in the hustle and bustle, things usually fall thru the cracks. but not this year – 2010 will mark the year we change the focus.
    cant wait!

  112. Love reading all these great ideas to help others. I sponsor a child in Ecuador and will be sending him a letter and some postcards from places I’ve traveled (we can’t send bigger things).

    I always try to make some presents, like baking cookies for coworkers and friends. I am trying to find more ways to be creative with presents, as I hate all the stuff we exchange, with so much waste and focus on having more things we don’t need. I also loved the idea I read on here about buying extra food/toiletries when they’re on sale and giving them to local charities. I will be doing that from now on!

  113. Oh how I love kiva. Every year I grow my account and reinvest in different entrepreneurs around the world. When I get to relend it, I feel like I am getting to recycle my gift. We also do angel tree, food bank donations, charitable contributions… The kids will get gogo squeeze apple sauce under the tree and maybe if they are lucky toy story 3 (is $16 the cheapest it’s gonna get?)

  114. For the second year, I’m purchasing all the gifts for my family from as a way to support local people who make goods in their homes. All my gifts are on the cheap and are a huge hit with the family!

  115. I plan to make more with less by giving more food gifts, focusing more on consumable items that won’t clutter up people’s homes and lives (and hoping that our families get the hint and return the favor… ahem! 😉 We make a point to never pass a Salvation Army bucket without giving a dollar, preferably having the kids put it in the bucket, and letting them know why we need to do that. Thanks Mir!

  116. I have done the Samaritans Purse Christmas in a shoebox for several years – I do three – one for each of my chidlren. Our church also has a food pantry which this is the time of year that each class brings in certain foods so that it can be replinished. We also give to our City Rescue Mission this time of year. We will not spend as much money this year (and for that matter for the last few years) as we have in times past – but that is just where we are right now. We are very grateful to the LORD that our business has maintained – we are self employed.

  117. I am volunteering more via my church. I am also donating our children’s gently used toys and clothing to a local shelter. Of course our budget is tight this year like everyone’s I suppose. I am encouraging our children to pick on “Special” gift. We are focusing on quality not quantity. Of course “Want Not” helps us do more with less all year long. I am sharing the link to the site with all my friends..

  118. My two girls will each adopt an angel their age and pick up presents for them to donate. We also donate to the food pantry at our church.

  119. We have been on a year long charity mindset. Less gifts for family and friends and more donated to charity – in their names. And once a month clean out the pantry and give to the food pantry. It is so much easier than one would think and hardly any complaints from the kids.

  120. Lots of handmade gifts here, too, and our Bible study group is planning to work with a local nursing home to bless residents who don’t have any family. Thanks for the chance!

  121. Thanks largely to this site, my shopping for this year is DONE! But I love to get out in the craziness of Black Friday. I’ll be scooping up deals to donate to the holiday families my local mothers of multiples’ club selects so I can still get the crazy deals- but for someone who needs them more than us. Thanks, Mir!

  122. I’ve already started homemade canned goods, liqueurs and jewelry for gifts and will do photographs for most family members.

  123. Going to involve my young children in the act of giving to others. We have started this year by taking them with me as we donate items to the local food pantry. Also, want to establish clear monetary limits before shopping for the little guys.

  124. Create context-based todo lists — that way when you are at your computer, your todo list only for things that you can do on your computer — not things you need to do in your yard or errands you need to do. a la GTD.

  125. Every year we donate canned goods to the local food bank. I recently started serious couponing and have been able to donate more food than I normally would have. Also, every year I donate toys to the Child Abuse Council’s Holiday Store. It’s a store they set up for the foster families and families in their programs to “shop” for gifts for their children when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

  126. My budget’s always tight, but since last year I taught myself knitting, so for the cost of a few skeins of yarn and some quality couch time knitting away I’ve been able to make a number of gifts this year.

  127. I plan to make more with less by always checking Want Not for the best deals around before I do my shopping!! Seriously!! Before I go I always check here to see which stores are offering any great deals today! We also did Operation Christmas Child with our church. And a different church in our area has a great ministry for the needy in our community. Instead of donating my old stuff to Goodwill, we gave it all to the church! We found out that over 10 families have been blessed so far by some of our stuff!!

  128. Thanks, Mir! I’m sewing a couple of gifts, and wrapping up random small things hidden around the house that the kids will be thrilled to get (like a thrifted dress I haven’t given my daughter yet, some nesting dolls that were mine as a kid, an extra box of crayons that I got free at back to school time). Actually, strike that last one. I have a handful of gift closet items that I’m giving to the Girl Scouts toy drive and I think that deserves to go there instead.

  129. I will be taking three tags (one for each of my girls) from the Giving Tree at church and purchasing those items. We’re also planning do do a new donation this year – to a local therapeutic riding center that benefits children with disabilities. The riding center is just starting out and is looking to build an indoor arena so they can provide services year-round.

  130. I sell on Ebay and on one of my trips to goodwill store – noticed couple of kids coats still with retail tags attached. To be honest bought both of them with the intent on reselling. But you know how God has other plans for you…well on the way home stuck in traffic saw a barrell at local insurance agent office. They were collecting for an organization “Pat’s coats for kids”. They donate coats to children in our community that don’t have a coat. I thought how blessed I am really am. Imagine not having something as simple as a coat. I wheeled and donated both coats I had just bought. Keep your eyes open there is always an easy way to help right in front of us.

  131. I clip coupons throughout the year and combine those with sales to pick up food and toiletry items for next to nothing (and sometimes for nothing). I donate them to our local foodbank. I have been doing this for a couple of years and am amazed at how much stuff I have been able to donate for very little money. I’m a huge fan of Kohl’s as well, last week I had a 30% off coupon, combined that with 45 – 50% off in the toy department, and walked away with a bunch of toys to donate to my church, who will be taking them to downtown LA this thanksgiving and handing them out at the homeless shelters.

  132. We always adopt a family each year. Reading what others have done has given me some great ideas. I will clip coupons and try to match up with store sales and donate to a local food bank.

  133. We let the kids make everything for our Holiday decorating. We save money and it is way cooler because it is all handmade!

  134. Last weekend a local store was doing an early Black Friday sale, I swooped in and bought a few extra “doorbuster” items specifically to give to toys for tots.

    I’m always cut out coupons for cereal and peanut butter, even though I don’t eat either one. They are on sale so frequently and with double coupon day I often pay less than a dollar. I donate them all to the foodshelf.

  135. We’ve made room in our grocery budget to add several items for the local food bank each week. Like a tithe of our groceries, in a way.

  136. I have been sitting down with the grocery/department store ads and my coupons and plotting out my trips around sales and double coupons – saves time and money!

  137. I plan on making baked goods and giving them away as presents. Its sweet and shows people you care 🙂

  138. My youngest is getting special “hand-me-down” gifts I put aside that belonged to her big sister. Having second-hand gifts doesn’t diminish her enjoyment in playing with them, we’re “recycling,” and we have a little extra for whatever cause we choose (this year I’m choosing a needy student from the “mitten tree” at my school to buy some gifts/necessities for).

  139. I’ve shopped for gifts for my boys at consignment stores and bought new things only on deep discount. I’ve gotten great things for them and saved enough money to sponsor two children from the Angel Tree at church.

  140. I am a “Big” in the “Big Brothers/Big Sisters” program. I’ve done it for 20 years and it is the best program in the world. When we have extra money, we do things that cost money (including practicing our math skills by figuring out “percent off” deals.) When we don’t have extra money, we go to parks and read books and just spend time together.

    Over the years together, my 3 “Littles” and I have experienced recessions, recoveries, job loss, big promotions, house purchases, car purchases, evictions, prison sentences, expected pregnancies, unexpected pregnancies, marriages, break-ups – you name it.

    But they have taught me that with love and commitment and friendship – you can get through just about anything. And that my life with the house/car/education/cute boots and their lives with, well, NONE of that, aren’t actually all that different.

    I don’t need a phone, so don’t pick me. But I love the idea of this contest so much, I couldn’t resist a comment.

  141. My husband and I are hosting 15 people this Thanksgiving, so we sat down a couple weeks ago and made a master grocery list. Every Wednesday when the weekly sales papers come out, I compare them to my grocery list and have knocked out most of the items already. Coupled with coupons, we are saving quite a deal this holiday.

  142. I have been grabbing up deals from Amazon and have already gotten most of what I need for my kids for Christmas (thanks largely to your site, by the way!) My husband’s company has an Angel Tree each year, so we will be participating in that as well.

  143. I had just read a book where the author said something like – God does not call those with ability – He gives ability to the ones he calls.

    Call it God or whom-ever or what-ever you like but I just KNEW that I was supposed to put on a silent auction for my church. I got the woman I KNEW I was supposed to have help me – neither of us had EVER done anything like this. I organized and did the auction she organized the dinner portion of the evening. Together we raised over $7,000. In the Church history we had NEVER put on an event like that in the past. No one knows how we did it and beautiful thing is I don’t either. lol

    But that being said, I have rallied my family and we’re really cookin’ now! We have some older individuals in the neighborhood and they’re coming over for Thanksgiving – My children and I will be singing by the Salvation Army bucket to raise money – We’ve donated to Toys for Tots already – I’ve already purchased items for the Giving Tree at my church and I have a sack of food for the food pantry. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

    I’d love to get that phone – – I was thinking of getting myself one cause I know I’ll be doing more events to raise money and I KNOW something that like that would totally help me complete my tasks! So fingers crossed at my end!

  144. Through your site, I buy things I don’t need for myself or my family, but instead donate them to our school/parish auction. I also find great gifts for our Wishing Tree kids through WantNot.

    So, you may not be calling it out in every other post, but what you do here certainly helps me give back more than I could otherwise.

    Has it REALLY been four and a half years? Wow!

  145. This year we are going to go without gifts for hubby and me and just a couple of gifts for the children. We will be spending the rest on adopting a large family and providing them with a Christmas dinner and gifts for the children. I am absolutely tickled pink about this. We should get a family to sponsor this weekend!

  146. Each year, we donate to our local volunteer fire department. Like other city services, their budget is being cut and that is just one area that can’t afford personnel or equipment shortages. This year’s donation will be larger than previous donations because we are not spending as much on gifts for each other.

  147. We do the shoebox every year and have that done already this year. Our church collected blankets for local homeless and distributed them last week. We will also do some Toys for Tots and I just made a donation to the local children’s hospital for their annual fundraiser.

  148. I plan on cleaning out our house that we have grown out of and donate all of the un-used and barely used toys for Toys for Tots and the same goes for my closet. I have a ton of clothes that can be dontated as well. Also, every time I go to the local grocery store there is a gentleman outside with the Salvation Army kettle. It is the same guy every time and I make at least 5 trips to the store a week and I always put something in it. It might be the very last of the change that I own until pay day, but it still goes in.

  149. I plan on making hand made gifts and baked items this year for Christmas presents. Things are tight since my hubby is jobless! Also, my son’s school is running a can drive for needy families in the area. He is so excited!! We are going shopping for cans with money he’s earned helping me

  150. This year we’re doing more with less by using my couponing skills to get lots of items free or cheap. I have a corner full of food I’ve been collecting to donate to a food bank. Also, we refuse to go in to debt for the holidays and charge gifts. We asked for gift ideas from our family and will be getting a couple small things as opposed to spending lots of money on things they may not need or want.

  151. I always pick a 2 angels from the giving tree. One for each of my children. This year I found a great site for giving back to charity while shopping online. I love this b/c you don’t have to spend extra. It is perfect for those on a tight budget, giving them the abibility to give to the charity of their choice.

  152. I plan on handmaking a lot of gifts and giving to a charity in honor of someone or in memory of someone they love. The charity gets blessed and my loved one gets the honor.

  153. I am buying two of everything I buy for my own family so that I can do a sub for Santa for a neighbor that is in need.

  154. I have been buying stocking stuffers all year long as I found deals, instead of waiting until the week before Christmas like usual.

  155. My husband and I are not exchanging gifts this year. I am giving several toys that I purchased almost free to charity. Several of the gifts I am giving relatives this year are ones that would normally be how much I would spend, but managed to purchase for almost nothing thanks to the fantastic blogs out there!

  156. Found your blog via CouponMom, and I really enjoy it! I have strong beliefs in giving back, no matter what my personal finance circumstances are, because….it’s not really “my” money anyways.

    The fiance and I will be continuing a “tradition” we started last Valentine’s Day. Instead of “gifting” each other with anything, we’ll be making charitable contributions. On Valentine’s Day, I signed him up as a “pet parent” with a local wild animal rescue and he donated money on my behalf to the local free zoo. This Christmas, I hope to donate to the ONE Campaign to feed hungry children…and I have no idea where he’ll be donating in my honor. 🙂

  157. Hitting the sales and internet sites for the best deal. Also, saving money with coupons and buying food for local families and food banks. Our family has realized that we don’t need more or bigger things. We just enjoy our time together with the whole family plus a few singles we bring into our homes for the holidays.

  158. We are doing a scaled down Christmas dinner with extended family focusing on time spent together instead of gifts. My children are also adopting an “Angel” for Salvation Army instead of exchanging gift with each other. I will also be donating free/discounted food, etc that I get from using coupons and deals to shelters and food banks.

  159. We will also be doing the gift exchange instead of buying for everyone and we will all chip in to get gifts for the parents!

  160. My extended family is drawing names this year (for the first time in 40 years). I’m picking up the free and nearly free stuff from couponmom each week to give away and doing the shoebox Christmas at our church.

  161. We have saved around $4000 this year on groceries by using coupons, so we have xtra money this holiday season, but we are still just going to do a gift exchange instead of buying a gift for 15 people.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  162. I have a collection basket for charity, I put in all the items I am able to get for free. Its amazing how much you can get for free or very cheap!

  163. There are so many ways to do more with less. Almost nothing beats giving of your time. that is something you can never take back.

  164. We are having a gift exchange this year instead of buying individual gifts among the adults in the family.

  165. We cut way back this year. I watched the specials all year round. I have the holiday dinners all lined up. Gifts are limited to two. One “need” and one “wanted.”

  166. My husband and I are trimming way back from 6 presents this yr to 3 each for my boys. We haven’t bought each other gifts for the past 5 yrs and we don’t see the point. I have been stocking up on all my canned goods and I have rotated my stock around. I have donated boxes to my son’s school, church food bank as well as the homeless shelter this yr all with my past stock pile. I use coupons so the cost of donating has been very inexpensive and I love to help others with my over flow of food goods. I don’t just donate food I donate soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other items.

  167. ’m planning to donate food and give something (either toys or money) to Toys for Tots.

  168. We aren’t exchanging gifts with one part of our family but adopting a family instead. Another part of our family will be drawing names instead of buying for everyone. And the 3rd part of the family is cutting back to very little. Our son is going through his toys to recycle gently used ones that he doesn’t play with. And we will be looking for good deals on non-perishable foods for donations.

  169. This Christmas season I will be gathering various items (soap, toothpaste, toys, etc.) for 44 children on need who won’t get any Christmas gifts. These children live in Mexico and have parents who have choosen the wrong lifestyle, which in turns affects these innocent children. In addition to thus, I will be donating large nags of beans and rice to a food bank at a church, so families have some staple foods to eat.

  170. When I was a teen I was on the receiving end of the food bank. Since growing up I’ve made it a point to donate to the same bank every month with extras I get at the store that have cost me little or nothing. I also save freebies I get in the mail I don’t need and donate them to local shelters.

  171. I plan on giving to local food bank.

  172. This holiday I have started saving more by buying way in advance I have picked up several bluesy dvd combo pack kids movies for about $10-15 each by finding coupons on and finding them at the cheapest place. Also just using coupons as much as I can on anything I can! I will be doing black Friday sales ass well! 🙂 when I find something I want I go and Google it to see if there is a coupon or store coupon also is a big help!! Some dollar tree stores sell the Sunday paper but CHECK for all the coupon inserts 🙂 I get 3 or more $1 a piece

  173. We always spend the same amount on our three children each year at Christmas and it never fails I spend more on one and then have to go spend more on the others. This year I am taking a set smaller amount of cash for each child and paying for the items when it is gone or not enough to pay for another item I will wrap up the change and then will not have to keep purchasing until I get their totals even.

  174. We started snowballing our debt back in March and have paid off a lot, but one thing I was anticipating was my savings on Christmas items. How was I going to do Christmas giving on a much, much smaller budget? I set out to work and got an idea of what everyone would enjoy having new this year for Christmas and searched and watched blogs for savings on those items. I was shocked at what I could find. I didn’t even pay shipping on anything! The total that I’ve spent on Christmas is less than $100 this year. That includes 3 kids, 1 husband, and relatives!! I owe all the glory to God because He has when I’ve asked for wisdom, He gave it abundantly through all the frugal bloggers that are Heaven sent angels to me! They are such a blessing.

  175. This year we are having a low key Christmas. Just found out my sister in law was laid off and my husband’s pay was drastically reduced. Family is the most important part of the holidays anyways!

  176. This year all of the adults are playing polyanna. Since I’m not working this year, I am decorating the house with every Christmas decoration I already have and hopefully making it feel extra Christmasy and cozy. We’ll be doing a lot of gifts from our kitchen and I have already starting stocking up on baking ingredients as they go on sale. I’m saving babyfood jars and other containers to recycle and make gifts and decorations as well.The quality time and memories that I will make with my girls (11 and 7) will be worth more than anything I could ever buy in the store.

  177. I have definety learned that being a family of 6 you have to save anyway you can….i get on the internet and get sooooo many coupons…..we are a military family so we have people come over for thanksgiving that dont have family close by….as well as I just get the kids gifts for xmas and then immediate family….God has given me some hard times and we made it through….so its not just at xmas but yearround that I save and give when we can….

  178. My wife and I are using and to buy restaurant certificates at a very good price. I print up the certificates and then my family members and friends can decide which restaurant they want to go to.

  179. I am hosting a food drive at my employers holiday party. I also get our vendors involved and hold a raffle for all the employees that make a donation to our food drive.
    At home, I am trying hard to find all the deals on-line. I am not much of a “crowd” shopper and plan on having the bulk of it down before thanksgiving.
    I also make sure my 6-yr old son is learning to give to others. I think we must pass on this to our children.

  180. I have been clipping coupons and taking advantage of all the early sales that stores are having this year. I am already half way done with my shopping and haven’t even spent $50. With the money I save, I plan in giving to the PTA at my son’s school. The kids need so much and education is so important.

  181. I began couponing about six months ago. Every time something is a super great deal, I purchase a couple of extras and drop them off at the Food Bank. I’m looking forward to doing that more over the holidays since the need is so great.

  182. I have too many family and friends. I try to shop for everyone, so I spend my time blogging for deals. I am able to get new babies coats for mothers with no money; I made gift baskets for raffles for charitable organizations; just have the spirit to give for those who cannot get for themselves. Yes I’m a giver! It would be handy to have to Windows 7 for for shopping lists, coupons, etc.

  183. I picked up a magazine on Gifts in a Jar, that will be our gifts this year. They are homemade with love, with a personalized touch. I think everyone will like them!

  184. My daughter did a hot cocoa stand the other day and wants to take the proceeds and go grocery shopping to give to our local co-op. Of course, we are going through coupons so we can make her money go even farther!

  185. Our church is participating in something called “Advent Conspiracy” this winter ( The promo videos are awesome and inspiring. I’m not sure exactly how that’s going to play out specific to our church and our family, but I’m excited to find out.

    We’re also doing as many hand-made gifts as I have time for this year. 🙂 Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, both my boys will get hand-made by me quilts for Christmas.

  186. Homemade gifts in a jar. Tons to choose from so you can make the personalized for each person!

  187. Instead of buying for neices and nephews we are buying one gift for toys for tots for each of them to give.

  188. I plan on buying charitable gifts for the grandparents this year, basket of chicks I think. Also, my son is getting three gifts, and we are not going crazy for each other. I plan on having him help me pick some toys out to donate too.

  189. I ended up getting laid off last year. so money is tight. My neighbor is retired and only makes $800 monthy and her daughter lost her job, so the three of us are going to put what little money we have together and invite everyone in the neighborhood who is alone to dinner. When I was working and busy, I never knew how many people were alone, and if we can just reach out to someone who is alone, just think how many less will spend Thanksgiving or Christmas alone this year. We may not can spend alot, but were 3 good cooks, so I have a feeling its going to be very special.

  190. We always give to a couple of different families that we are acquainted with at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  191. We donate food to our local food pantry. Can’t stand the thought of people having to go without something many of us take for granted… a meal.

  192. What an awesome idea to get people to start thinking of others! I’ve been couponing since May and I’ve now got a stockpile of food and diapers that I am able to donate to the less fortunate from. It’s come to the point where we really don’t need anything, but I still shop for freebies just to keep the donations going. I feel the same way, that if I am lucky enough to have the means and the tools to do this, then it is my right and responsiblity to pass on my score’s to those less fortunate. My biggest mission has been collecting toiletries and diapers for a local battered women’s and children’s shelter out of Everett Wa. They speak at our Mops group every once in a while and I feel that is my calling.

  193. Baking cookies for neighbor gifts and cutting way back for each other.

  194. Every year we donate food to the local food bank. My daughters also sort through there things and give a lot of toys and clothes away to charity. This year we aren’t spending as much on material things and going back to the spirit of Christmas and what it is really about.

  195. We plan on sorting through all the kids toys and clothes and donating them to charities before Christmas. In turn the children get more gifts from Santa and we have less clutter!!
    It also teaches the children about giving and this is what Christmas is all about!

  196. In August, my husband left his job so that we could move across several states for me to take my dream job. We’re making slightly less than we were before, and our expenses have risen slightly, which means we’re feeling a pinch. So this Christmas, we decided that since we don’t need more stuff (moving reminds you just how much stuff you have!), but we do want to spend time doing fun things guilt-free. So instead of buying things for each other this year, we’re each spending $100 on experiences for 2011. Some things for us to do together (a movie gift card, for example) and some things for us to do on our own (I’m getting him a gift certificate to a local record store so he can shop guilt-free). It won’t be the same, because I LOVE buying people gifts, but it makes more sense for us financially and emotionally right now. 🙂

  197. I donated a filled box to the samaritan box project this year, and I am part of a group that participates in a local “adopt a family” every year. I also collect non perishable foods from my clients for a food drive.

  198. The last few years the hubs and I stopped exchanging gifts due to lack of funds but wanting the kids to not feel that pinch. This year is even worse because hubs got laid off oh boy! So I have decided to make holiday bark (chocolate, furit and nuts) And the kids will be getting some used video games and what ever else I can get at a really super deal. My fingers are crossed that things will all work out.

  199. Our five grown kids do a gift exchange and also their spouses. We are able then to help with needy families at our church each year for the holidays.

  200. We’re having a baby so this is going to be a stress free holiday for us, other than the baby that is. We’re not traveling home as usual, and those who get gifts this year will get handmade cards or cookies/candy.

  201. I’m watching sites like yours on facebook
    Signing up for online deals and use coupons
    for the best deals.
    I enter every Sweep and Giveaway
    in hopes to win what I can’t buy.
    I already won $100 Jasemere Gift Card

  202. My kids do not need so many toys. Plan to donate toys toy local charities. Planning healthy meals and donating food supplies to local good bank.

  203. Most of the gifts I give are handmade. They’re more thoughtful and, well, they’re cheaper! I need to make money stretch a little.

  204. I will be sponsering a family of hope throught our local foster kids program

  205. We’ll be donating some goods and clothing to our local shelter. We normally buy all our kids clothes at thrift stores, so that savings helps us pass it on.

  206. I have been watching different postings and have been taking advantage of promotions where they offer you a credit for the first time and have been lucky to also have coupon code for additional amount off. I have been able to purchase many gifts at a small cost.

  207. I have had nearly a complete year to learn the coupon process… I have a stockpile that I am giving to the food pantries, and I also have a little store, that consistantly gives to local churches for children. I love making a difference.

  208. While we give to the food pantry and gifts for those who can’t afford them, one of the best gifts that my kids and I have found to give is the gift of time. Once a week, we’d go to a local gracery store (one that the shelter already had an arrangement with), fill up the back of the minivan with all of the donated food items, and head over to the homeless shelter. We also go every other month to throw a birthday party for the kids in the shelter who are celebrating a birthday that month (another group does it on our “off” months). We have enjoyed getting to know the people that we are helping, and interacting with them on a real, personal level. I think the kids and I have gotten more out of it than the residents!

  209. A program that’s been close to my heart even before my husband joined the Army is any one that sends gifts to troops stationed overseas. After becoming very close to a friend whose husband was overseas during Christmas last year, my efforts are renewed to send some great stuff this year!

  210. I have cut and use every single coupon I can get a free item with. I see no reason in letting them expire. For .07 on the dollar someone out there needs the item and I can’t justify not buying it for so little. I have a huge donation pile in my storage room ready to go and help people out right before Christmas. I have about $130 out of pocket for taxes- that’s my LESS… my more is that I have come up with about 950 items…that’s my MORE.

  211. I have been using coupons to get good deals or free items that are being donated to help families in need this holiday season.

  212. Every year I pick a family that has children they can’t buy for to make stockings and get gifts for. It feels so good to know I have provided someone a big smile on their face on Christmas morning. I also buy $1 toy at the Dollar Store every time I go for their toy collection they do

  213. I will be making more gifts this. I usually buy extra groceries to leave in barrel at the store to be distributed locally and participate in whatever needs are being advertised for…food or supplies.

  214. I attended a wedding this weekend and instead of ‘favors’ on the table, the bride and groom donated a flock of sheep to an impoverished village! I love this!!! Who needs another bag of almonds or bottle of bubbles anyway?

  215. Black friday…as crowded as it is…the savings are incredible. Plus top it off with coupons on toys etc, and you’ve doubled your value.

  216. Just like everyone else, we’re cutting back where we can (already cancelled the satellite TV) but we still donate items when we find great deals, and adopt an Angel when our church puts out the names from the local prison ministry (gifts for the children of the inmates).

  217. We’ve set a goal of pulling $ 1000 (20%) out of monthly expenses through competitive pricing of car and health insurance, optional utilities, and more.

  218. I will be cutting coupons more and more and then using the money saved to get things for the needy. Also we will have a book sale and use the money apporx half to donate to Haiti

  219. Our family participates in the Operation Christmas Child shoebox program every year. We put together two boxes. We also participate in our local Angel Tree program. I tend to shop for both of these things all year long – clearance sales after Christmas, clearance sales in July, clearance sales period 🙂

  220. This year, we’re cutting back on everything so we can do a cash only Christmas. I’ve picked up a lot of stocking stuffers on clearance, and I’ve been doing some very selective shopping for everyone. 🙂

    Our family donates about 100 hrs of time each being in our church’s Christmas program that reaches about 40000 people each year, so that’s something very meaningful we do together as a family. It’s lots of fun (although exhausting), and I know it’s something our kids can look back on as a fantastic time.

  221. Every year I keep a roll of change in my purse, my son gives to every kettle we see, some years it’s only dimes, some quarters. And even though some years we need help, we always adopt an angel, usually a baby or toddler, and buy for them. With the free items I get from couponing, that I don’t use (toothbrushes, razors, bar soaps, etc) I donate to the salvation army, and the local food pantry.

  222. I’m giving to Heifer International in various relatives’ names as their holiday presents. This is especially good for relatives who are trying to streamline their lives and wouldn’t welcome physical gifts. My grandmother is always bringing me random gifts from her home because, she says, “I have too many damn potholders! Here, you take them!” 🙂

  223. We are making gifts for our families this year. With a 9yo and a 13 mo toddler i have no end of helpers to put together cute picture frames and ornaments for our families. 🙂

  224. I like to plan holidays around my family and my grandchildren. I use coupons to get bargains on groceries. I recycle previous cards and bags.boxes and ribbons, from holidays past. .I often thrift shop to pick up stuffed animals and childrens books that can be reborn.I use gently used items for a whole new purpose.. I like to take new found jars and fill with granola and cookies. The idea is to use the beautiful colors of the holidays in a new way….I like to assure all my elderly clients have a meal and gifts for christmas that are taken by agencies who deliver hot meals and gifts…to them….from donations, often by private,individuals…….this makes me very happy…too…

  225. We are donating food items to our local food bank. When non-perishables, such as canned goods are on sale, I’m taking advantage of the lower prices to purchase extras to give to the food bank.

  226. I do more with less moolah by making the hubby his lunches. He misses all you can eat Mexican, but loves my sandwiches!

  227. We are having Thanksgiving dinner, but instead of SO many different dishes, we are choosing only a few of our favorites. Not only will this cut down on the cost, but my mom and I want to focus more on spending time with the family rather than spending hours and hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up!

  228. I have been helping a local family learn to make more of less. She and her Husband Just both lost their job, they both served in the military and have 2 small children. We spent the day looking on and other sites and then took a field trip to the store. I am hoping that I am able to help them learn to stretch their pennies a bit more this holiday season.

  229. I am couponing for groceries, sharing how to coupon with my friends and sharing the food I buy with my church and family. I also utilized a coupon card for $10 from Kohl’s to buy my husband a belt he needed and utilized the J.C. Penny discount for renewing the store credit card plus a holiday promotional discount to purchase him a new pair of house shoes since his old ones were holey. I hope to convince my extended family over the weekend to make home made gifts to share at our Christmas holiday get to together since four of my immediate family members are out of work and another is working shortened hours (due to the economy).

    I am blessed and proud to be able to share of my abundance. One must give to receive.

  230. We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our apartment for some family members who are going through bankruptcy right now. We’re also going to be making homemade gifts and treats to give as gifts, which tradition we started last year. Growing up we’d find out about a family in need and be “Secret Santas” to them. We’d shop for the kids, getting clothes and toys for each. We get groceries and holiday meal items. Then we’d wrap everything, and deliver it sleuthfully at night and run away as we rang the doorbell. It was the best part of Christmas, even though our own personal gifts were much fewer. I’d like to start that tradition now in my own little family.

  231. white elephant exchanges are hilarious by exchanging gifts that nooone takes very seriously keeps the holidays light

  232. We are going to adopt a family for this Christmas. Their 4 week old baby boy had a serious heart condition and died, and we are going to try and give them something less to worry about (they also have a 4 yro and a 2 yro).

  233. We are not going to go crazy with gifts this year.

  234. I plan to make more with less this season by tapping into my creative side and making handmade ornate hairbows for my daughter, and also selling them – at affordable prices so that other moms can also afford them.

  235. I plan to make more food from scratch, especially since my sister was just diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. Also I am going to make more gifts, especially food items. Everybody loves food!

  236. Last year I went on my very first medical missionary trip to the Dominican Republic. I was the very first person to bring a Ultrasound machine to this location. I really want to go back to continue what I ‘ve started, but I am still paying for my first trip. Now that I am learning about couponing, I am hoping to save enough money to go back. With coupons there are so many great savings on medications, I will be able to take over much need supplies.

  237. Saving money and handmade gifts this Christmas equals being able to give more. it’s gonna be a fun holiday season with the family this year. Will be even better with the windows phone. 😉

  238. This is the third year ,no Santa visa or masterclaus! We may not give much this year, but we have each other. With three teenage boys, their toys are not cheap. We make the sacrifice for one big item and find a few small. This year our plant is closed the last week of the year. I choose not to get unemployment for the week and just enjoy family with what is rightly supplied or earned by us.

  239. This will likely be my mom’s last Christmas and just my daughter’s second. It’s hard not to go completely crazy and try to turn this into the holiday to top all holidays forever and ever, but I’m trying very hard to remember that the best gifts this year will be all the ones we get on film and have to give each other again and again in the years to come.

  240. holidays are coming up and one must wonder what to buy and how much money do i have to spend, well i look for bargans online to get discounts and to also buy more with less money.

  241. due to the tight budget for the past couple of years, husband and i have not been buying each other gifts for bday, anniversary and xmas. we just do it for the kids only. winning this phone would be a BIG bonus.

  242. We plan to do more with less this holiday by creating “gift baskets” for all the kids we buy for with lots of cards for ideas of games that can be played with lots of common household items. With baby 2 coming, time to tighten the financial belts.

  243. buying one big pumpkin, i can make pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin. simple and affordable

  244. Paying it forward is a routine in my family, whether it’s at a drive-thru or the grocery store at least once every few weeks we secretly pay for the person behind us in line. Doing more with less by helping others not as fortunate…

  245. Doing more with less sometimes means working on the go. Which is where my laptop and a good smartphone comes in handy. Go windows phone

  246. My biggest efforts at making more with less have to do with cooking. I’m trying to learn ways to extend a single meat purchase to last several meals. My biggest success has been with pot roast — I make enough for one night plus a leftovers night, then use the rest to make a yummy beef & barley soup that lasts for several more meals. I have learned to make a mean turkey tetrazzini, but am still trying to figure out how to extend chicken (probably because I am still squamish about dealing with the carcass; I tried once to make chicken stock and hate-hate-hated fishing out the bones and stuff). Although our family needs to recoup most of the savings from this (massive medical-bill credit debt ftw), I could certainly buy a few extra cans of food while I’m shopping and donate them to the nearest food bank.

  247. As a profession, I am a computer consultant. Recently, one of my clients did a round of upgrades to many of their desktop computers and they’ve decided to donate the old ones to charity. I am donating my time to wipe the computers clean before they are given away so my client’s data is not given away, too. Some of the computers could use some minor hardware upgrades, so I will be using some of the money I save this holiday season to purchase those upgrades (memory, keyboards, mice, etc).

  248. We set a very strict budget for gift giving. It helps us use our imagination and show our love for each other and those around us.

  249. I plan on not giving into the idea of material giving as much this year and instead concentrate on giving more homemade goods like items I’ve baked that people love anyway. I also plan on increasing my donations this year.

  250. This season we are cutting back by not buying for EVERYONE in the family, just our kids. No cousins, aunts, uncles, etc….
    Also, for our girls we are redecorating their rooms for them for their gifts. Instead of buying new, designer style decorations, we’re copy-cat’ing and making our own. For example… my 6 year old is having a “rockstar” theme. Wall decor ideas for her room were a set of 3 records (old school music records) with neon colored stickers with “girly” sayings in the center of them, sold for $17.99. I got some of my mom’s old records out and made my own stickers! Now they’re more personalized with the sayings I want, and the records are kind of like heirlooms!

  251. Obvious, but… less Christmas shopping means more time for everything else! By mutual agreement, my friends and family have scaled back gift giving plans this year to focus on shared activities and good food to celebrate the season.

  252. with the threat of layoffs looming at my job (and conveniently my husband works at the same place – FAIL) we’re hoping to make more with activities and spending time with the kids rather than buying “things” for them.

  253. this reminds me of kevjumbas separate youtube account that he uses to donate to charity, all the money u save can be used towards charity 🙂

  254. I’m going to help a family who is having a hard time finances and health. I also use my credit card to earn points to buy Christmas gifts, but of course I pay my balance off.

  255. By using Quick Steps in Microsoft Outlook, I do more and do it quicker.

  256. I’m all about ditching my stone-age phone for a revolutionary phone. and i’m sure i’ll be able to do more with less time on it.

  257. I love using chicken broth to take shortcuts during the holidays and food. Its inexpensive and adds tons of flavor to any dish

  258. I am looking for deals, finding coupons and bringing baked goods to people.

  259. We’re focusing on eachother (family/friends), not spending money we don’t need to be spending.

  260. I try to carry extra single dollar bills as I shop through the holidays for donating to the Salvation Army each time I come across the bell ringer.

  261. I’ll be able to get more done with less by consolidating my devices when I get a Windows Phone.

  262. I won a Butterball turkey this year, so the meal will meet my requirements for frugal, and I’ve managed to buy nearly every other ingredient with coupons.

  263. Took my kids to Goodwill to do their Christmas shopping. They had a great time, and of course, when you get a gift from a kid, no one cares if it’s second hand :o)

  264. I’ll make more with less, for one thing, by giving this phone to someone who needs it. Since I’m happy with my shiny iPhone. thanks for all you do! 🙂

  265. I plan to purchase some new children’s clothing (with money I’ve saved by using your deals!!) and donate it to a local Children’s Hospital, so, when kids are in need of an outfit in an emergency, they’ll have one.

  266. We fill shoeboxes for other children around the world and planned a thrifty thanksgiving for our family to give away the extra cash. My dad passed away one month ago today so we plan to take care of my mom’s bills for her so she doesn’t have to worry so much.

  267. We are adopting a shelter dog for Christmas – saving an animal’s life instead of wasting money on more “stuff”

  268. We will be doing more giving to charities. Our family has been blessed with work and home and we have decided intead of gift giving, we will give to some of our favorite organizations.

  269. Using coupons allows me to drop canned goods in the food pantry bin at the grocery store. It only costs me a few cents and it is a good example for the kids. They encourage me/remind me to do more!

  270. I have friends that are out of work that belong to a catholic moms group. The group is going to Santa’s Elves to bring some christmas cheer. As a buyer of to much for Christmas – I am going to TRY to buy less. sometimes more is just more.

  271. Instead of having a yard sale or placing items in classified ads, I donate things we no longer use or need to local resale shops that use the money from sales to help the needy. We have a local Habitat for Humanity and a St. Vincent de Paul store. I like that the needy benefits and that I get rid of our excess stuff.

    In addition, I’ll be donating some toys to Toys for Tots.

  272. This has been a tough year for us with my Mom in a nursing home and my Dad still at home. He no longer drives and still wants to see his wife who is 18 miles away daily. My husband and I make sure he gets there daily. We are able to do this by me taking an extra job, organizing better etc. As we clean out the house many items go to a store that resells to the public very inexpensively. All this to support a clinic in town for those in need.

  273. I helped my daughter’s gymnastics team sponsor a toys for tots drive. Of course I will be the first in line to drop off toys. We try very hard to teach the girls not only good sportsmanship, but to give back to others whenever possible.

  274. My “more with less” holiday shopping started this summer– with garage sales! i found 2 huge firetrucks for my 4-year old, and they were in great condition. Rather than give them to him right away, i’m saving them for Christmas. Now i can buy a toy from our church’s “giving tree”!

  275. Since we are not in a position to give an more financially than what we already have budgeted this year, we are donating our time to various charities around town. We’ve cut back on gifts for all family members and are going the home made route for most of our gifts.

  276. I’m a medical student with extensive loans, so I’ve been giving home-made gifts I make in my spare time to my friends.

  277. I’ve been couponing a lot this year, and I’ve recently starting using those savings to benefit not just me, but my local food bank. Whenever I find an excellent coupon deal on a product I don’t eat, I buy it anyway and donate it. I’ve managed to cut my grocery bill tremenedously while also donating quite a bit.

  278. We’re going all handmade this year. I have two quilts to finish in a month. Help me.

  279. I do more with less by spending my time wisely with family, friends, and loved ones.

  280. Food that I buy cheaply w/ sales and coupons is going to be donated. This year’s Christmas gifts will definitely be cheaper too! Handmade or on sale!

  281. My husband and I do Black Friday together, it’s the only time we stay up late all year 😉 We get some time together without the kids, (who get to stay with grandma). The “alone time with each other” we get while waiting in endless lines is priceless 🙂 Plus, whenever we find any smokin’ deals on clothes or toys, we pick up a few extra to donate.

  282. My 4 year old and I have already done 2 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, we are going through al his toys and my clothes to donate to goodwill, we are part of a church that is participating in the Advent Conspiracy so we are trying to spend less and give more relationally

  283. Would it help my chances if I told you how pretty you’re looking, Mir? No? Thought not. But you are. Now I’ll just be over here waiting to see if I won anything good.

  284. Do more with less….
    I buy the great deals on toys and donate them. Of course, because who wants that many cheap toys in one household? I can only pick up so much…
    I also do the same with food, because I can only eat so many cans of cranberry sauce.
    I love shopping and getting great deals, and when I give, everyone wins.

  285. Doing more…

    Donating food to the Food Bank(s)
    Donating used coats for use locally
    Donating unused cell phones for use by our Woman’s Shelter
    Doing Random Acts of Kindness for those I run into who look like they could use a boost in spirits (in memory of!/group.php?gid=152180344820439)

  286. We do a cash only Christmas. We start early and pay cash only. We also donate to food banks, pick up an extra something forkids in need, and donate to neighborhood charities.

  287. I’m not flying home, so I’ll have all that money to spend on my family, which I suspect will be via the internet. I’m also scanning old photos for my dad, which will make him cry!

  288. We started last year – our kids don’t need all these things that we parents think they do so, when I told the kids that Santa was cutting back, they nodded and went on their merry way!

  289. Instead of buying gifts for everyone in my family we are just doing the kids and then drawing names for one person. The money I saved is going to go to the Cherry Street Mission to help out some homeless folks in our area.

  290. We are sponsoring 2 children this year and will use some of the money that we would spend on our kids on these children who truly need it. Also, my kids are kicking in some of their money (a bit relecutantly right now but hopefully soon they’ll get it). I’ve also been stockpiling gifts all year so I don’t have that much to buy.

  291. This year most of my available time is being used to help my church set up a homeless shelter. The area I live in has been hit particularly hard by economic woes. We were a textile/furniture town and companies are closing or leaving, one after the other. We currently have NOWHERE for men (or intact families) to go when they need shelter.

    It is a huge project that is a little overwhelming at times.

    We also have a clothes closet and emergency food. We want to meet every basic need for those who don’t have them.

    I have less time and less money as a result of my commitment to this but I still have more than so many others. God is good!

  292. My local Fred Meyer had a “spend $150, get a free turkey” deal. I am a vegan, but I know homeless shelters can always use another turkey, so I bought my Christmas presents early to get the deal. (My Freddies offers price adjustments if they go on major sale for Black Friday.) I avoided some crowds and got some Christmas shopping done, and the folks at the shelter were so excited when I dropped off the turkey! The smiles on their faces were MY Christmas present. 🙂

  293. With all the potential for going out to eat or stopping by the store to pick up treats, we have a hard time budgeting over the holidays. This year we are trying to go out to eat less, but make our meals and desserts at home a little more fun. Last night we had boring spaghetti, but after a nice family dinner, we made Smore’s and worked on a puzzle together. We all had a fabulous time and spent no more than a usual grocery trip!

  294. I give up some of my favorite activities that cost money and turn that cash into gifts for those I love.

  295. I try to spend less on myself, and put what I’m saving towards charity or gifts for my family.

  296. I’m making a lot of Christmas presents this year instead of shopping (Can’t believe I said that!).

  297. I’m all about doing more with less by using free tools such as the Google calendar to organize my day, week, month, year…need I go on!!!

  298. My more for less: Bake family goodies instead of buying storebought. Make extra and freeze for later. Do the same for meals: cook more, freeze extras.

  299. i do more with less when i use coupons they help so much and it hard sometime. But it help when u use then with a store sale and u cant save so much money it makes me so help when i do more for less.

  300. I am loving aluminum foil as an insulation material these days, helps me shape cakes, and keep things warm 🙂

  301. You sow what you reap! My family doesn’t have a whole lot of money, and probably won’t do much better than ‘get by’ until my hubby graduates next year and finds a job in his field. We’ve had more than our share of help from family members through unemployment, homelessness, and it’s only right that we do whatever we can to pay it forward. If I have only 5 bucks to my name I’ll give it to someone in need. It might not be much, but I know what a difference a couple dollars of gas meant to me not so long ago.

  302. I mean reap what you sow!! lol

  303. I plan on hanging old CD’s as decorations on our Christmas tree, they should reflect the lights well.

  304. I think this holiday season for my husband and I is all about doing more with less. We definitely don’t need the “more”. I went shopping on Black Friday last year and purchased 20 yards of fabric for $1.50 per yard. I was able to make 10 baby blankets and still have a lot left over. I am going to make blankets with the rest of the fabric and donate those blankets to a shelter. I also like to make most of my gifts for the holidays and birthdays.

  305. If my posts come in twice, it’s not on purpose. I’ve seen several times where i post once and it automatically show up twice on this blog. Please hold off your irrational judgements before lashing out.

  306. Doing more with less means creating a tight budget and sticking to it, avoiding impulse buys, and saving for rainy days. Peace of mind generates productivity.

  307. I am making more gifts this year. I am also focusing more on practical gifts that my family will use.

  308. It’s nearing the end of my first quarter in grad school and … I’ve run out of ink. So while everyone makes their speech therapy supplies with their color printer, I’ve gone back to using crayons and markers. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a new cartridge, I guess.

  309. I am making most of our gifts this year. I also donate to Toys for Tots every year.

  310. Doing more with less means keeping your cars as long as possible especially when they are paid off.

  311. We do more with less by periodically holding garage sales to help us de-clutter. We then use the proceeds to buy the whole family dinner at a nice restaurant!

  312. We started doing more with less by donation things to our local shelters. We dont need more items, many people and organizations do, desperately.

  313. I tried to volunteer at Hosea Feed the Hungry here in Atlanta but they were already full so I’m going to try the local goodwill instead.

  314. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for people who pour their hearts and souls into blogging! I am especially thankful for the phone giveaway as I am in desperate need of a new one!

  315. Doing more for less means buying a gently used car that’s been cared for and maintaining it carefully for another ten years.

  316. i love giving out coupons as presents. Like ill watch your kids for an hour or help you clean your house. they are cheap and effective. so everyone is happy

  317. We do more with less by making a list before we go out shopping and sticking to it.

  318. While traveling I check the grocery ads in the area we are staying. Often times locally grown or items special to the area are much less then I would pay for them at home. We buy what we think we can use or share with others.

  319. Doing more for less is all about doing dishes before, during, and after thanksgiving dinner. Saves a lot of time the next day.

    P.S. happy thanksgiving

  320. More for less: Host a get together with your friends and have a clothes swap …exchange your don’t-likes and never-worns for things you can use. Everybody wins!

  321. I plan to make more with less by making thomemade! Food, gift wrap, presents, cards, clothes all handmade. More stuff with less money for sure!

  322. We do more with less (and spread the love) by extensively utilizing Freecycle – both giving and getting.

  323. I do more with less redundancy by syncing my files using Windows Live Mesh.

  324. I’ll give it a try!

  325. We always participate in Operation Christmas Child. We also adopt a grandparent at a local nursing home (someone without family). The women’s club I belong to always helps families in need with food and Christmas presents. It is a great time of year to remember how blessed we are and share with others.

  326. We have already done our 4 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, donated canned goods to the local food bank, and our church is having a “blanket your community”, so we are buying blankets for that. As for our family, we are not spending as much this year on gifts as we have before.

  327. bargain shopping of course, and only buying for the kids. we also adopt a family every year, so the kids experience first-hand the rewarding feeling of giving back : )

  328. I am adopting a military family to deliver food and toys needed for the holidays. I also buy bulk food on, use what I need and take the rest to a local food bank.

  329. I always sponser a child at my elementary school. This year, my Sunday School class also collected items and filled 10 boxes for Operation Christmas child

  330. Love the message, Mir. Together with some friends, we’ve adopted a family who can’t afford Christmas this year. We’re also shrinking our own gift budget this year.

  331. We are doing more with less by purchasing food for our local food bank at almost every trip to the grocery store. One for us, one for them….we’re also being more mindful of our own budget for gifts.

    Love this blog – SO helpful!

  332. We dropped off over 130 pounds of food at our local food bank this week, and are planning to take more. lets us stretch our food dollars to be able to do this.

    Thanks for your generosity, Mir!

  333. We’re making do with less by cutting back on the number of gifts we buy each of our children (they only play with 1 thing anyway!) and giving back to the less fortunate in our community.

  334. please let me win this!

  335. my bad — I can’t hold a candle to these people giving so much. Best of luck.

  336. I’ll be spending less money on my own children this year and using the savings to buy gifts for less fortunate children in our community and around the world.

  337. I’ve picked up lots of great stuff thru the year on clearance to donate to Toys for Tots. NOT crap either, good stuff! 🙂

  338. We have several avenues through which we give throughout the year. A few that we are concentrating on this holiday season are:

    1) collecting donations from a group we are a part of at church and we will be making up 50 gift bags for children in a refugee community near us who recently came from Burma. I am already overwhelmed with the donations and it is going to be so fun to assemble the bags and deliver to this community. Of course, a GREAT learning experience for our kids too!

    2) My husband volunteers as a caller for the Angel Tree gift ministry. He calls the family members of the children and asks what kind of gift they would like (from their incarcerated parent, but purchased from anonymous donors) and helps coordinate the delivery of the gifts in December.

    3) We sponsor a family who serves as missionaries overseas, who will not be coming home for the holidays. So, we take an offering throughout the year, and then I get to go shopping and purchase the things that the family wishes for. Those are already bought, packaged up and shipped off to Thailand!

    4) We sponsor a couple children in India, so we will be making up gift boxes for them and sending over as well. These children live on the street and literally have nothing. Often times, the shipping alone is my budget, so I have the kids pick from their own toys some special things to give, and we will include some candy and special personal items in there too.

    🙂 Merry Christmas!

  339. I try to date to ALL good causes so any money I save will allow me to donate more to Food Drives, tickets to fundraisers, etc.

  340. This year all of my girlfriends and I are meeting up at a friend’s house to swap clothes, toys, and household items two weeks before Christmas. We’re all attempting to spend $0 on Christmas; our kids will receive hand me down toys (and be just as excited as if the toys were brand new), and our husbands will receive awesome kitchen and house items that other families didn’t want. I’m donating the $400 espresso machine my husband HAD to have for his 35th birthday… and then used three times. At the swap we’re all writing checks for the amount we would have spent on Christmas and the money will go to a local woman’s shelter.

  341. My extended family gave us buying gifts for each other a couple years ago. Now we each choose a charity and make a donation in honor of those for whom we used to buy gifts.

  342. We always make home-made gifts for family, but this year we’ll be getting just one big gift for each kids (bike for the boy, doll for the girl) and my husband has joked that their christmas gift will be a big pile of dirt in the backyard since they love to play on the dirt piles at the soccer fields so much… JK, even dirt is pretty pricey these days.
    And we plan to repeat last years idea – we bought heifer international gifts for adults, – only kids got actual presents.

  343. I am trying to make wiser, more thoughtful gift purchases…not my usual impulse shopping. I have cut the dollar amount per gift, and I have shortened my gift list to really close family.

  344. only buy things that are deeeeply discounted.

  345. This year we are planning to donate more and buy less. Many of our local charities are serving more people with smaller and fewer donations.

  346. I recently got married and moved into a new home. My decorations don’t match the new decor, and my first impulse was to go out and buy all new. Then I got a grip. I went through my decorations, kept the ones that had sentimental memories and donated the rest to our local Goodwill store.

  347. Twice a year my daughter and I clean out her room and together we donate everything that comes out of her to a local shelter for women and children. It has taught her to be thankful that she has her own room and things are just things and they and they can go just as fast as they came.

  348. My family grew on March 31st of this year. For years I wondered why parents would get all upset about bills, meals, transportation, appointments, and dealing with the neurosis of a teenager. I get it. I finally understand.

    Before my son came to live here, my husband and I ate what we wanted, did what we wanted, ran around the house naked if we chose to do so. But that has changed dramatically to the point I don’t recognize me half the time any more.

    We have had to tap resources to make sure our bills are paid. We’ve frequented food banks to keep food on our table. We’ve been dangerously close to having our necessities turned off, which includes phone, electric, gas, and our home.

    Despite all the hardships we’ve suffered because of an extra unexpected mouth to feed, we’re still feeding the neighborhood kids when they come over to our house. We’re still transporting kids and neighbors when it’s required. We’re still offering safe haven to the abused children in our neighborhood. We have regular homework parties to catch the kids back up in their work. These things became more important when I realized that my son would learn by my example.

    We also donate when we can to the local food banks. It’s never much, but it’s what we have to give. I know this is long, I’m sorry for that, but my entire point is that even though we don’t have a lot, we always make room for one more. Isn’t that the way we’re supposed to do things?

  349. We will be giving to the local food bank, like we always do, and we’re starting a new tradition of letting our 16-month-old pick out gifts for local boys and girls.

  350. My husband and I like to teach our children the real meaning of Christmas. We are trying in instill in them that it is better to give than to receive (don’t get me wrong, they do enjoy getting presents). They also enjoy cleaning out their toy boxes to give away toys they don’t play with anymore. We usually have a small, meaningful Christmas and spend lots of time with family and friends.

  351. Looking for the great deals & also reconsidering the unnecessary little things that can really add up!

  352. We will have the children pick an Angel from the angel tree and we give one holiday meal per family member to the food bank.

  353. Homemade useful gifts this year. Soap, candles, blankets. Cutting back cost and upping the usefulness.

  354. The kids in our neighborhood are producing a Christmas Carol to perform at our house. They have sold about 50 tickets for either $5, a new unwrapped toy or a bag of non-perishable food. All proceeds will go to local charities, toys for tots or the food pantry. The kids are having a blast with the play and learning how to give back to the community at the same time.

  355. I’m doing more with less by not traveling home for the holidays. It would be great to see everyone, but it’s not in our budget this year. Instead, we’ll be spending time just bonding with our little family at home, which sounds wonderful to me!

  356. I’ve been stockpiling all my coupon drugstore deals, toy deals, etc to give to a family in need this year.

  357. My husband will kill me for saying this, but he does more with less by owning only gray socks. Seriously. He bought 30 identical pairs of gray socks. Whenever one gets a hole in it, he still has umpteen zillion other matches for it, so he doesn’t have to chuck the whole pair. And yes, he is that cheap. (Which is why I’d like to win a new phone and not buy one!)

  358. My grandmother taught me to “save steps”. During chore time around the house, always have something with you to be returned or replaced as you move from area to area and room to room.

  359. I am doing more with less by taking all the gift cards that come from purchases this black Friday weekend and purchasing a new unwrapped toy or gift and giving them to the toy drive campaigns scattered throughout Las Vegas. Its something I do every year and keeps me in perspective so that I never go too crazy with spending because I actually stop and visit the community donation centers. It puts the true spirit in me and keeps me working hard to do it all over again next year ;-).

  360. I am trying to do more with less by entering to win wonderful giveaways!

  361. i do more with less by planning ahead of time as much as i possibly can

  362. Well, Hellooooooooo??
    I will be spending 24/7 on Want Not & Amazon checking out the best deals!

  363. m and ms are probably my favorite more with less candy. i use them to decorate cakes, i use them in counting games with kids, and they just taste good

  364. Doing more with less sometimes means reusing grocery bags, or buying the recyclable types and using those. Saves the environment and saves the grocery stores money, which in turn saves you money.

  365. We do more with less by taking family vacations during the off-season.

  366. This phone would help keep me organized so that I can do more with less!

  367. I do more with less when I shop on Black Friday for presents I will give on Christmas!

  368. this year we are doing more with less by scaling back on presents

  369. I always do holiday meals as potlucks. Then you only have to make one dish and enjoy what everyone else brought. That means less dishes too!

  370. I really like spices and herbs. If you buy them in the ethnic food section, especially the hispanic themed aisle they can be only 99 cents a bag! They add flavor to everything including cheap cuts of meat and inexpensive dishes

  371. We do more with less by finishing all our holiday shopping waaay before the season gets underway. That way, we aren’t caught up in holiday mania or retail marketing when the gifts are being purchased, and we don’t spend as much money.

  372. I’m doing more with less by staying organized so that I can better multitask

  373. More with less during the holidays? I’ll buy less gifts (which tend to be meaningless) and MAKE more gifts (which tend to be meaningful). I’ll ask for less gifts myself and suggest money be given to CHARITY instead. More with less can be a beautiful thing!

  374. This holiday season we’re using a lot of the award points we’ve accumulated to get gifts (for free!)…I love it when those award points actually amount to something. It’s always a good day when you realize you’ll come in way under budget for presents!

  375. I plan on filling a stocking for the Salvation Army to give to a child in need.

  376. I need organization in my life! I need to do more with less! I really need this phone!

  377. I’ve powered my Roomba by building a new battery pack from parts instead of buying an expensive new one – MORE friendly robot power with LESS money!

  378. I’ve been looking for good deals using coupons, codes, and any other way to save. If the items are something we can’t use I donate them.

  379. i go to dollar store and buy things i need for party and everyday stuff .

  380. I will channel all the money I save into buying more sustainable, ethical foods. Good for me, good for others, good for the Earth.

  381. More for less mean having an emergency kit in my car when I travel, and also carrying our own snacks and drinks so that we don’t have to make expensive stops.

  382. Doing more with less could be decorating the christmas tree as a family. More work done in less time, and lots of family time together.

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