The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

November 12, 2012

Holiday skip list: What not to buy

(Continued)

A seven-course dinner

Okay, okay. We are all for pigging out during the holidays. But you may want to reconsider what you feast on this season. The price of meat is expected to rise 4 percent this year due to the drought in the Midwest that caused corn and feed prices to rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sirloin prices rose by 15 percent between 2011 and 2012. Many Americans use the holiday as an excuse to splurge on luxury foods, with carnivores having three or four meats on the table for a holiday feast. But those feasts will be more expensive this year, with food prices rising and many budgets already strapped by the economic downturn. Holidays happen without the tastiest foods on the table, so don't feel bad about cutting back on the roast beast.

A party dress

We're putting our foot down on this one, ladies. Holiday trends rarely change, but retailers will tell you they do. Every season, we see the same red, green, blue or jewel-toned dresses selling for between $150 and $500. You'll love it for a month, wear it for a party and never touch the thing again because it's not all that practical.

The best time to buy a holiday dress — one that says "This was purchased for December" — is in April, when those dresses are 70 percent off at a Neiman Marcus Last Call or a Nordstrom Rack. If you must purchase a dress this month, buy a simple solid-colored one that you can also wear to work. Parents, the same goes for young girls. They do not need to wear red or green on Christmas Eve. If you're looking to cut costs, buy a dress that can be worn for other occasions in the near future, since they won't be the same size next year.

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