An expense often overlooked is the wrapping of our Christmas gifts; often it seems that the wrapping costs more than the gift. During these times when we don’t know if we are going to fall off that fiscal cliff or not, we need to remember to save where we can.

On Christmas morning, take one of those long cardboard rollers that are used for gift wrapping and after the gifts are opened, take the pile of wrappings into another room and leave it out of sight until you have time to wrap this paper around the empty cardboard to use maybe next year..

Before you say “I’m not ironing gift wrap,” stop and think of the money that can be saved. It is well worth your time to save some of this paper and to think of other means of covering the gift.

That is thinking ahead, but for this Christmas, you can make very attractively wrapped gifts using a number of means.

Bits and pieces of different kinds of paper can be glued onto an empty box and become a beautiful collage.

Use the comic section for wrap; little children enjoy this. Use the stock market page for men. Tie a red bow on this box of black and white stock market information.

Plain brown paper, as from a paper bag, can be very attractive when small pine cones or dried flowers are glued to the top. Plain white butcher paper can be transformed into a most attractive package using this same method of gluing decorative material on top.

If the ribbon is not long enough to wrap around the box and make a bow, just glue the ribbon to the side of the box and glue this same sort of little Christmas objects on top.

There are many presents that are impressive enough that they do not require gift wrapping – things such as a large outdoor grill or even a new car.

Use cloth remnants and wallpaper for wrap. Make a small stocking of cloth and tuck a small gift into it. The stocking can be hung on the tree.

There is one wrapping that is guaranteed to please everybody. Use a box with a removable top. Carefully place dollar bills (or any denomination) across the top. Cut small (TINY) pieces of some soft tape (not regular scotch tape) and carefully tape the ends of the bills to the box.

Cover entire box. Cover the bottom of the box or not, but it is much more impressive if the entire box is covered with currency. Either way, the recipient will not be critical.

Put a small gift, such as a pair of socks, in the box or not. Tie the box with a wide ribbon coming up on all four sides; this will keep the money more secure.

When using wrapping paper, do not use any more than is actually needed. There was a story told about Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, who would travel around the country in his old pickup truck and check on the operations of the stores.

The story goes that when he was in one of his stores, he witnessed an employee wrapping a package using six or eight inches of overlap. He immediately sent a directive to all of his stores that there would be no more than one inch overlap allowed. This one directive was said to save Walton millions and came to be known as the 1” directive. If it can work for Sam, it can work for you.

After Christmas, take advantage of the big sales if it seems you need to replenish your supply. Put the savings from the after-Christmas sales into your contingency fund.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at