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Being generous can save you money, too

After moving to NYC, I made very little money and had to maximize every dollar I earned. That lifestyle taught me many different techniques on how to save for the things I wanted.

You're looking to save money everywhere you can, but this shouldn't be at the expense of becoming a cheapskate.

mom and daughter donating presents

You're looking to save money everywhere you can, but this shouldn't be at the expense of becoming a cheapskate. My grandfather taught me that no matter how much money you have (and he didn't have much), it's most important to be generous. It might even come back to you another way. This is true.

Be nice

If you're feeling charitable this season, try using your coupons and discounts to buy a kid a toy. There are several places looking for donations including Toys For Tots, your local volunteer center or church and many shops such as Tim Horton's.

Volunteer

If you have a spare hour or two, ask your children's teacher if you can help grade papers or organize the classroom. This can serve as an act of kindness or double as their holiday gift.

Check out your local food pantry to see if they need help, any time of year. Bring your friends or kids along with you. Sometimes lessons you learn and the feeling you get from volunteering is better (and cheaper) than opening a present on Christmas morning.

Get in your last few tax-deductible errands before the New Year

Whether you itemize or not, live by a "one in, one out" policy.

Knowing you may receive a few sweaters this Christmas, take an hour to go through your closet and make a bag to bring to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or a homeless organization like Coalition for the Homeless. They will happily accept your donations and give you a receipt if you itemize your tax return.

There are many stores that will give you a percentage off a purchase if you bring in your old coat, bra or shoes.

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