spending

There are no excuses left for not getting a good, firm grip on your money.

I’ll just earn more? Last year, even the richie-richest learned that cash doesn’t always keep rolling in.

I don’t know where to start? There are countless resources on the internet.

I don’t have time? There are great tools that will break it all down into steps that can take as little as a few minutes.

Learn your lesson from the recession, already, and get your financial ducks in a row. Start your year with these simple steps:

Get organized

Don’t know where to start? Our friends at LearnVest (one of Recessionwire’s content partners–hey Caroline Waxler!), are running a financial bootcamp this month…

In New York, frugal women know about Encore, the consignment shop where Jackie O. famously sold all of her unwanted clothing for extra cash. And since the recession hit, such stores have seen consigners come out in discreet droves to pare their closets and pad their wallets.

What you may not know is that holiday time is the best time for closet cleaning — which means that the start of the year is prime for scoring bargains. And most of America doesn’t think to resell Grandma’s Chanel bag at Encore; often, great goods go straight into the hands of non-Vogue reading volunteers at charity thrift stores, who price them way below market.

Don’t believe me? Good. More cheap Valentino scarves to adorn my unemployed neck.

If you’re fashionable but poor, consider dropping the pride and checking out these four thrift shopping venues. For $3 you may be walking home in a pair of never-worn Florentine leather boots.

1. Estate Sales

The only thing sadder than the death of an elderly person is watching families hold estate sales so they don’t have to clean out closets. Luckily for the recently laid-off, you now have time to rummage through those boxes to find that pre-war handbag from Paris…

price-tag-shopping-150If you’re going to spend, at least save a little doing it. To help, every week we post some great deals hand-picked by our friends at Savings.com.

Get 15% off your entire order at Bliss, purveyor of covetable beauty products. (See more Bliss coupons.)

Take 15% off your order at American Apparel. (See more American Apparel coupons.)..

We all wish we could spend a million dollars on our loved ones. But, this is certainly not the year for it. What we can do is make our budget-friendly gifts look amazing and personalized.

The way to do this is not to spend more money on fancy gift bags and wrapping paper. Considering that each gift bag can easily cost $3 to $4 (or more, if it gets really fancy), and even a large roll of wrapping paper can be $18, it’s not hard to drop more than $50 alone just on wrapping supplies alone during the holiday season.

Don’t be that person. Instead, get creative and save some money.

Since the best gifts show careful consideration for the recipient, here are some of our favorite tricks…

money-benjamin-franklin-150Whether this is your first holiday as an independent adult or the cord has long been cut, it’s only natural for parents to nag about finances when everyone’s together. Expect it. No matter your age, you’re still a child to them. But, your goal should be to show them that you’re not the same crazy kid who once blew a semester’s worth of babysitting money on trucker hats (and worse, considered it a fashion “investment”).

We’re talking about showing them financial maturity, which is comprised of three things:

  • Awareness (having a plan and knowing where your money goes)
  • Boundaries (sticking to your plan even under pressure)
  • Responsibility (not sacrificing the future for the impulse of the moment)

Within that framework, here are six holiday dos and don’ts to help you be financially mature and demonstrate your status as a blooming money maven:…

Poppy lipstick queen fired up gloss-150Just because you’ve been laid off doesn’t mean you feel good laying off on giving. We’ve come up with a list of thoughtful, unique and inexpensive gifts for every friend and family member.

Best Friend (Or Sister, Daughter, Or Niece!): Lipstick Queen Fired Up Gloss
This gorgeous, fire-engine-red lip gloss will look good regardless of her complexion…

mouse-and-money-150Every week, we post online coupons for food, clothes, books, gadgets and more, hand-picked for Recessionwire readers by the nice people over at Savings.com.

Get $20 off orders of $100 or more at Lucky Brand Jeans. (See more Lucky Brand coupons.)

Receive 15% off orders of $100 or more at Kohls. (See more Kohls coupons.)

Take 20% off all orders at Harry & David. (See more Harry & David coupons.)…

homemade fudge gifts 150Just because you’ve been laid off doesn’t mean you feel good laying off on giving. We’ve come up with a list of thoughtful, unique and inexpensive gifts for every friend and family member.

Hostess: Homemade Fudge
Hopefully you’ve got plenty of holiday parties that will take your mind off of the job situation for an hour or two. Instead of buying a bottle of wine for each, consider whipping up a few batches of fudge, using the easy Baker’s Chocolate recipe available here

heart giving hand 200Just because you’ve been laid off doesn’t mean you feel good laying off on giving. The idea of entering my Mom’s house on Christmas Day empty-handed feels worse than charging up my credit card. So we’ve come up with a list of thoughtful, unique and inexpensive gifts for every friend and family member.

Grandparents: Charity Donation
Your grandparents are the last people you should actually buy something for. Why? Because they don’t need anything…

borghese stationery 200I was laid off in October, but the idea of entering my Mom’s house on Christmas Day empty-handed feels worse than charging up my credit card.

So we’ve come up with a list of thoughtful, unique gifts for every friend and family member. The best part? They’re all wildly inexpensive. Happy Shopping!

Mom: Stationery

Mom’s love thank you notes–they love writing them, receiving them and nagging you to send them–so why not give her something you know she’ll use: A stunning stationery set…