Save money this holiday season by trying some unexpected tactics:
If you're trying to figure out how you'll afford everything your kids want this holiday season, consider whether a jolt of disappointment Christmas morning might be the best thing for them.
A bad economy may be good for our kids, according to psychologist Aaron Cooper, an expert on child and family relations with The Family Institute at Northwestern University, who believes spoiling children can cripple their ability to cope with life. He attributes depression, anxiety and worry to the "I just want them to be happy" mentality.
"We shield youngsters from so much adversity trying to keep them happy that we deprive them of the practice they need navigating rough waters," Cooper said. "There's no other way to develop resilience except by facing adversity. It's a paradox that the first benefit of holiday belt-tightening is the valuable practice kids will have coping with disappointment."
Cooper suggests that parents acknowledge honestly the family's reduced resources, and encourage their children to share their gifts with each other.
"It's an opportunity to connect more around the holidays, instead of everyone in separate corners with their latest toy or gadget," he said.
— The Associated Press
But follow some rules: Make sure the recycled gift is in good condition and in its original box. Be certain the person getting the gift is in a different social circle than the person who originally gave it to you. Double-check that you've removed any evidence — such as a gift card — from the original gift. Know when to retire the real clunkers — old fruitcake, a tired bottle of cologne or an out-of-style sweater.