Focus on Non-Gift Traditions

A frugal Christmas isn’t about an excess of toys. Children will appreciate the holiday season more when the focus is on family. Create special memories with your children by donating outgrown toys to a shelter, baking cookies, caroling or making Christmas crafts.
The Christmas shopping season doesn’t have to leave you with credit card debt. Setting a modest budget, shopping garage sales and shopping early for sale prices will help you have a frugal Christmas.

Plan Ahead for a Frugal Christmas

The Christmas holiday season is an expensive one in many households. Some families even go into debt to buy gifts. Planning ahead for a frugal holiday can save money and keep you debt free this Christmas.

Garage Sales

While the warmer weather is still here, the perfect time to start Christmas shopping is garage sale season. Toys for young children are great finds at garage sales. Children younger than four or five are not going to know the difference between a brand new toy and a nearly new toy purchased from a garage sale. A side benefit of garage sale Christmas shopping is that someone else has already thrown away the packaging, thus reducing the clutter of your Christmas morning.

Shop in Your Attic

For parents whose children are spaced more than a few years apart, baby and toddler toys that were stored in the attic after the first child outgrew them can be wrapped and placed under the tree for the new baby or young toddler. Chances are the oldest has long since forgotten about the toys and they will be new and exciting to the young child.

Search Sales Fliers

For the child whose taste in toys is consistent, search sales fliers early for deals on toy favorites. This is the best way to purchase new Lego kits, Barbie dolls, gaming equipment and other toys for older children. Many stores, such as Toys R Us, will have a Christmas shopping sales flier as early as September or October.

Set a Budget

Setting a Christmas shopping budget for each child ahead of time and forcing yourself to stick to it will save money. If a child is asking for a particular, expensive gift, then buy a few smaller, less expensive gifts to go with it. Dollar stores and discount department stores stock toys and other items that can be used to supplement a more expensive gift and keep you within your holiday budget.

Where to Buy Girls’ Jeans

Many of the jeans for girls that GH tested did not hold up well under the testing conditions or were not outstanding for the price. The best jeans for girls are Kmart’s Basic Editions Flare Jeans. These jeans cost about $13. GH found that the Basic Editions jeans are tough and don’t fade, although they will shrink slightly.
The second-best jeans are Old Navy’s Girlfriend Bootcut girls’ jeans. Unlike other jeans, Old Navy’s girls’ jeans didn’t fade or unravel after being washed many times. These jeans cost about $19.50.
Other girls jeans that earned mention in the GH report are Wal-Mart’s Slim Stretch girls’ Flare jeans and the Levi’s Stretch Flare jeans. The Wal-Mart jeans cost about $10, while the Levi’s run about $25. While both jeans performed well, Wal-Mart’s jeans held up slightly better and cost half the price. Sears’ Canyon River Blues Stretch Flare jeans, about $20, fit well and don’t shrink.

Which Denim Jeans aren't Worth the Money

The denim tests found a few brands of jeans did not hold up well or were not worth the money. For boys, GH found that Sears’ Toughskins Classic Fit jeans for smaller children did not perform well due to weaker fabric that allowed knees to become damaged. While Old Navy’s girls’ jeans tested well, their boys’ faded bootcut jeans were deemed not worth the price.
While few of the girls’ jeans received rave reviews, there were also few pairs of denim jeans that GH recommends skipping entirely. The lone standout in terms of jeans to skip for girls was Target’s Mossimo Supply Girls’ Distressed jeans. These jeans did not hold up to repeated washings and looked “ratty” by the end of the test. Mossimo’s jeans cost roughly $15.
Parents shopping for jeans have many choices for boys and girls. Many bargain brand jeans hold up well over time and cost much less than their brand-name counterparts. Parents looking to save more money on back-to-school shopping may want to purchase bargain jeans.

Best Deals on Jeans for Back-to-School

Parents who are planning their back-to-school shopping trip want the best deal on jeans for their children. Is it worth it to splurge on jeans or will bargain jeans hold up just as well? Good Housekeeping has tested brand-name jeans and bargain denim to see which brands offer the best deals on jeans for kids.

Good Housekeeping Tests Kids' Denim Jeans

Good Housekeeping (GH) has long been a leader in consumer testing through its Good Housekeeping Research Institute. In the August 2009 article, “Smartest Back-to-School Savings,” GH reports on testing results for denim jeans, T-shirts and more.
“We put basic jeans and tees through the wringer, testing shrinkage, colorfastness, fading, and fabric strength,” GH reports. “We also looked at garment construction and checked that items ran true to size.” The testing results can help parents determine which jeans to buy for back-to-school to save the most money and get the best value for denim jeans.

Where to Buy Boys’ Jeans

According to GH, the best jeans for boys are the Levi’s 550 relaxed fit jeans for boys. These jeans cost about $26 and earned the title of “nearly indestructible.” Levi’s 550 jeans are made of very strong denim that performed well for the Good Housekeeping Research Institute’s tests. Parents who want to buy these jeans may find them on sale for a lower price.
The second-best jeans for boys cost less than half the price of the top-rated jeans. Kmart’s Basic Editions Boys’ Jeans sell for around $10. These jeans were second only to the Levi’s 550 and give a lot more bang for the buck as parents can get twice as many pairs of jeans for the same amount of money.

Wardrobe Basics for Men

The Suit

Almost every man will find occasion to wear a suit once in a while. The two-button black suit is perhaps the most classic, and certainly the most versatile. Think of the salesperson as a resource, not a nuisance. Get measured, even if you think you know your size. Explain what you’re looking for and ask for advice. A good salesperson will know what features in a suit will best suit your features.

Dress Clothes

Start with an undershirt. Undershirts protect your dress clothes from perspiration and hide their translucence. Now add a white dress shirt—once again, get measured! Add a solid colored neck tie, black dress socks and dress shoes and you’re almost there.


A black dress belt is a must. Better yet, buy a reversible dress belt that easily switches from black to brown. If you own a dress watch with a metal band, choose a dress belt with a buckle that matches (silver or gold). Also buy a casual belt (usually wider and less shiny) to wear with jeans or other casual pants. A properly fitting belt should be comfortable when set to the middle notch.

Business Casual

Khaki chinos are an absolute must! Dress them up with a dress shirt, tie, and blazer, or dress them down with a polo shirt. A blazer is optional, but very snazzy—the most classic look is a blue blazer with brass buttons, paired with khakis. Wear dress socks that match your pants.


Darker, unadorned, straight-leg jeans have an enduring quality. If you only own one pair of jeans, choose some of this sort. Avoid jeans that are heinously baggy, too short, or excessively distressed. Jeans should be worn with matching casual socks and a casual belt. Sport shirts or t-shirts go well with jeans.

How to Wear Skinny Jeans

The 1980s are making a comeback with the recent resurrection of skinny jeans. You may be cringing right now if you remember the horrific bubblegum jeans of one of the tackiest decades of fashion, but don't worry, this season's incarnation of the skinny jean is much more tasteful.

Styles of Skinny Jeans:

  • Straight Jeans: The skinny-jean-shy can ease into the trend with the widely appealing and most universally flattering cigarette or straight leg cut. This slim style closely grazes your curves without clinging to them as much as other skinny cuts.
  • Skinny Jeans: These are the middle-of-the-road: stretchy, tapered (ankle-hugging) skinny jeans.
  • Super-Skinny Jeans: Super-skinny jeans have the highest percentage of stretch fiber and deliver a sprayed-on look (without the ribs of the 1980s bubble-gum jeans).

What to Wear with Skinny Jeans

In an interview with, Holt Renfrew's Erica Yeu advises that a long, lean top that hits at hip level (or below) is the perfect top for skinny jeans. She says that an empire waist top that billows out over the hips flatters wider hips and an ample bottom. For boyish silhouettes, Yeu suggests wearing skinny jeans with leaner, body-skimming jersey tops.

Skinny Jean Buying Tips

  • The key to finding the perfect pair of jeans is in the fitting room, and this is even more true for skinny jeans. You’ve got to try on every pair of skinny jeans you can get your hands on until you find the right fit.
  • Buy dark washes – indigo, dark grey or black – to create a lean silhouette and minimize your wider parts.
How to Wear Skinny Jeans There are essentially four ways to successfully wear the skinny jean trend:

Stretch Denim

Denim is blended with stretchy components such as spandex or lycra to facilitate freedom of movement in snugger styles. For a longer life in your wardrobe – and to avoid that stretched-out look which never rebounds – keep stretch denim out of the dryer and opt for hanging stretchy jeans to dry instead.
Stretch is not meant to be tested at its limit. Just because you can squeeze your body into a size doesn't mean it fits: can you walk around comfortably? Can you bend your knees? Can you breathe? If not - move on.

Low-Rise Jeans

Low-rise can be sexy, but resist wearing extreme-low-rise jeans such that your underwear are exposed above the waistline of the pant. Nobody wants to see your thong; it is not a fashion statement. That goes for all you teens out there, too!
It is never flattering to have a muffin top (bulge of fleshy midriff) exposed above a low-rise pant. Pulling off the low-rise requires a significant amount of work: ab work.

High Rise Jeans

High rise jeans have been extremely fashionable the past few seasons, and this year is no exception. Besides its retro appeal, high rise denim is also popular because it is a stylish option which flatters most body types, so long as you don't confuse a hot '70s inspired modern cut with mom jeans.

Plus Size Denim for Teens

Denim is an important staple in any teen girl or guy’s wardrobe and plus size denim is becoming increasingly more available.

Plus Size Skinny Jeans

The baggy, saggy jeans look is behind us and contrary to what some may believe, skinny jeans are not only for skinny people. This trendy denim fashion is available for and often looks better on plus size teens. Plus size skinny jeans will look best if worn inside boots or with platforms to lengthen the legs (though not necessary, they also look great with ballet flats) and will suit a plus size frame better if worn with a longer sweater or tunic top. Check out Z. Cavaricci Plus Size Skinny Jeans, Rinse Wash at Macy’s, available in sizes 14 to 24.

Denim Leggings for Sizes XL to 2X

Another fashionable staple in a teen’s wardrobe is the denim legging. As with skinny jeans, leggings don’t always look the greatest on super skinny people either. Denim leggings are usually lighter in weight than skinny jeans but can be worn casually with flats or sandals and a favorite long tee. Cropped tops and tucked in shirts may work occasionally with skinny jeans, but never with leggings.
Faith 21 (Forever 21’s plus size department) carries a cropped denim look legging that includes an elastic waistband and elastic rouching as well as inexpensive leggings that are full length and denim. Both styles are available in black and indigo and in sizes XL to 2X.

Jean Skirts

Knee length jean skirts seem to be gaining popularity over the micro mini skirt because of the ability to wear a knee length or longer skirt for casual wear or with long boots for a dressier look. Plus size teens can wear jean skirts with loose fitting, shorter tops, as opposed to the longer tops suggested with skinny jeans and denim leggings. Try out the Blue Streak Denim Skirt at with the Groovy Kimono Top.

How to Wear Jeans with Style

Stylish jeans are the foundation of every wardrobe, but finding the perfect jeans can be tricky. Here's a guide to low-rise, skinny, stretch, colored, trendy denim.