Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

This week: Fun but frugal holiday activities, why procrastinators shouldn't delay planning for the holidays, not fretting about getting out of debt, why value matters, and 15 ways to save on wrapping paper.

Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

1. Don’t Fret About Getting Out of Debt

[Simple Budget Blog] “Regardless of what some ‘financial experts’ say in the various media outlets, having even the smallest amount of debt is not good for your credit, your standing, or your emotional outlook.”

So how are you supposed to lead a debt-free life? This blogger suggests Step One is not worrying about the sacrifices it will take to get there. Debt frets he attempts to expel include not being able to afford your current lifestyle and not having enough money for an emergency. If those potential drawbacks are keeping you from reaching out for a debt-free life, give this one a read.

2. Fun, Frugal Family Activities During the Holidays, and How to Find Them

[Stapler Confessions] “Every Christmas, my mom would pick out a holiday performance for the family. Over the years, we have enjoyed some real gems and endured some truly boring events. But I can’t blame my mom for getting us together and trying to cram some culture down our throats. I want to do the same thing for my family, but I’ll admit that the price of just one ‘Nutcracker’ ticket makes me cringe.”

So what can you do with your family this season that won’t make you cringe? This author offers several alternatives, from Christmas light displays to caroling to baking. She also suggests places to find discounts for other, more formal events.

3. 5 Reasons Procrastinators Are Screwed at Christmas

[Surviving and Thriving] “The stress, disappointment and overpayment are so preventable. All it takes is just a little bit of planning. Just a tiny bit. Those who don’t plan are likely to have their pockets picked every 25th of December — and they may lose out in other ways, too.”

In this post, author Donna Freedman, who also writes for Money Talks News, reminds us of what we already know: He who hesitates is lost. She lists mistakes bred by procrastinating, including relying on unreliable overnight delivery, assuming what you want to buy will be there last minute, not being able to adequately evaluate purchases and, of course, paying too much. See the story for more.

4. What Creates Value?

[The Broke and Beautiful Life] “In personal finance (and in life in general) there’s a great deal of discussion around ‘value.’ More than the lowest price or even best product, we seek to secure the best possible value. The thing about value though is that it’s incredibly subjective — something that has high value to one person may have little or no value to others.”

This is a thought-provoking look at how one man’s trash is another’s treasure. What constitutes value and is therefore worth our hard-earned money is different for each of us, which is what puts the “personal” in personal finance. Check this one out.

5. 15 Cheap, Clever and Attractive Ways to Save on Gift Wrapping Paper

[Wise Bread] “Most wrapping paper hits the trash or recycle bin as soon as the gifts are opened. But, you can avoid throwing your hard-earned dollars along with the wrapping paper in the trash this holiday season by using a few clever alternatives.”

When it comes to frugal tips, I’ve pretty much seen it all. But there were actually some suggestions for wrapping paper substitutes I hadn’t seen, including potato chip bags and dish towels. Curious? Check it out.

Who do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting site and authors. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page! You can also talk to us about anything you’d like simply by hitting “reply” to your daily email update. (Not subscribed? Fix that right now!)

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