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GreenPath Financial Wellness Provides Low- and No-Cost Gift Ideas

Last week has shoppers scrambling for the perfect gift - recipe box, scrapbooks, heirlooms make special gifts

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI - December 18, 2011) - GreenPath Financial Wellness recently cited the November poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, www.DebtAdvice.org, where forty percent of respondents do not intend to spend any money on holiday purchases, as they anticipate experiencing further financial distress in the future.

The poll sends a strong signal that a significant number of people lack enough confidence in their financial future to begin spending, even on traditional holiday expenses. 

“Historically, consumers have put aside their financial concerns during the holidays, even if to their detriment, and spent at some level,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.  “These figures provide a snapshot of how seriously they are taking their situation.”

The following list includes some ideas that GreenPath credit counselors came up with that have little or no cost.  In some cases, these gift ideas might be even more special to the recipient than a store bought gift.

• Write a letter telling each family member what they mean to you.  Put it on nice paper and frame it in an inexpensive second hand store frame with a photo of the recipient.  My teens (now in their 20’s) saved their letters that I wrote them and still have them so don’t believe it when they tell you it is corny.  Affirmation is a great gift.

• Make CD’s of your favorite music selections personalized for the recipient.  Don’t use pirated music.

• Offer a coupon to be a work- out partner for a friend or relative and keep each other accountable for your exercise goals.  What is better than planned time with people that are important to you and you can get healthier in the process?

• Give the family heirlooms away before you die.  Instead of keeping Grandmother’s crystal in the cupboard give this special family gift to others to use and enjoy.

• Give a coupon to wash windows this spring…or some other dreaded job.

• Give your kids a coupon for one week of no bed making or other hated chore.

• Make gift opening a scavenger hunt.   On Christmas Eve hide all the packages around the house, make clues for how to find each, and let everyone look for their gifts on Christmas morning.  This stretches out the gift opening time and can cause some creativity and great laughs.

• Don’t buy decorations until after Christmas this year and save up to 75% for next year’s celebration. 

• For family gatherings, schedule the family gift exchange and gathering for after the holidays and purchase those gifts with the post-holiday discounts.

• Make Christmas ornaments using school or family pictures of loved ones and decorate them with ribbon or felt.

• Have an ugly ornament exchange.  Everyone brings an ugly ornament to hang on the tree and then a vote is held for the most notorious.

• Give the gift of time to attend events by giving coupons for activities for an elderly family member or young child. 

• For the family member that has everything, make a donation in their name to a special charity or a charity of their choice.

 Volunteer with your family at a local non-profit agency.

• For the writers in your family create a journal with notebooks, paper and a front cover decorated with a photo.

• Start a scrapbook of family or friend photos and give it to the recipient to continue to add to through the year.

• Offer to babysit for the young couple on your list.

• Give an inexpensive recipe box filled with family recipes.  Or do this one better and give a recipe and all the fixings to make a special meal or dessert.

The holidays can be filled with fun and gifts, even if you don’t have much money to spend.   Happy Holidays to all!  

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GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 55 branch offices in Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Wyoming. GreenPath also delivers licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). For more information, visit www.greenpath.org.