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Money Management International offer frugal tips during the holiday shopping season

This year the average holiday shopper plans to spend $688 on holiday-related expenses, with $518 for gifts alone, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Action Survey. Whether your budget for the holidays is higher, lower, or right in line with the national averages, you should always try to stay within the limit you set for yourself. If you find you’ve maxed out this year’s gift budget, yet still have people left to check off your gift list, the art of no-expense gifting may be your best option.

Money Management International (MMI) offers insight into the art of no-expense gifting with three ideas that won’t put you over your holiday budget.

Give free printable gift certificates. Great gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money. Free printable holiday gift certificates allow you to offer an experience or an act of service while still giving the recipient a wrapped gift. Free printable gift certificates are actually great to give all year long.

Give homemade treats. Give your loved ones a heartwarming treat from the oven. Bake homemade sweet bread, gingerbread cookies, or mini raspberry cupcakes. Deliver the treats in festive containers. Your family and friends will be pleasantly surprised with the edible delights. For recipe ideas download the free Cheap Eats eBook.

Give a regift. A regift is a gift you’ve received that you pass along to someone else. While there are some cringe-worthy regifting tales, there are also some heartwarming regifting stories. Visit Regiftable.com for ideas and stories that will help you select an appropriate regift that the recipient will appreciate.

While some might argue that no-expense gift gifting is cheap, Cate Williams, Vice President of Financial Literacy at MMI, disagrees. “No-expense gifting is really about giving a gift the recipient will value and appreciate,” Williams added. “While not spending money on a gift is frugal, the thought and consideration the gift-giver puts into giving a gift the recipient will appreciate keeps the gift from being cheap.”

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit www.MoneyManagement.org.

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