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Want to have an amazing Christmas even though you’re on a budget? These 9 simple tips will help you have a memorable holiday season.
How much do you spend each Christmas?
Are you the mom who gets gifts for everyone including the neighbor’s dog?
Sticking to a budget is already hard work on a normal day. But throw in traveling, gifts, and a family feast and your budget might as well be the gift that gets forgotten in the closet.
This time only comes once a year so you want to make sure it’s perfect.
I get it.
But perfection doesn’t have to mean smashing your piggy bank.
Simplifying your Christmas can be a great way to reduce stress and your expenses.
Here’s how you can make the most of your Christmas budget and still enjoy every second!
To know how much you can spend this holiday season you need to know how much you can set aside and still live comfortably.
The last thing you want to do is spend your money buying gifts for everyone and now you’re living off of ramen noodles for the next 3 months.
Here are a few things to consider when making your budget.
I know you don’t want Ashley’s boyfriend that she’s been dating for 3 days to feel left out if he doesn’t get a gift. But if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it!
Prioritize who will get gifts and how much you’re willing to spend.
For most of us, our kids, spouse, and parents will be at the top of the list and have the largest spending amount.
It’s okay if you don’t give everyone a gift.
This season is about enjoying quality time with your family.
You can always let people know ahead of time that you can’t afford gifts for everyone this year. Your presence, the gift of life, should be the best present anyways.
If you’re a DIYer or wannabe Martha Stewart (like me), then you have extravagant plans for your home!
You spend a bunch of money on decorations and when you get home it turns out more like a scene from a Christmas horror story.
Maybe that’s just me, but decorating for Christmas is still super exciting!
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars for decorations you’ll only use once a year, check out your local dollar store.
I had no idea how much cute and affordable items they had.
Even if something wasn’t exactly like I envisioned, a few quick tweaks achieved the overall look.
Shop at discount stores and add your own personal touches.
How many people do you plan on feeding this holiday season?
If there will be a large crowd, suggest a potluck style meal where everyone brings something.
Or if you prefer to do all the cooking, compare prices and make as much as possible from scratch.
When you buy convenience food you’re paying extra for the convenience of someone else doing all the work.
Save your money and do it yourself.
If your family likes to have family pictures taken, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
If you can’t find anyone in your price range, do more realistic photos.
The best (and most memorable) pictures are the ones that don’t come out as planned.
Have your cousin come over and take a few pictures of you guys baking cookies or watching football while eating chicken wings.
The purpose of the pictures is to capture the moment, not capture perfection.
If you have no clue how much you’re spending there’s no way to know if you’ve gone over your budget.
By tracking every penny you spend you can better determine where you’re at financially and you’ll have a better idea of how much to budget for next year.
You may feel like Christmas causes more stress than happiness.
By skipping the most stressful tasks you will be able to enjoy this holiday season.
If cooking a meal is stressful for you, make Christmas a pizza and movie night. Everyone gets in their pajamas and you all binge-watch movies and eat as much pizza as you can handle.
When we’re sitting in our warm living room in our nice clothes it’s easy to forget some people don’t have this luxury.
Skip spending hundreds of dollars on expensive gifts and take your family to volunteer at a soup kitchen or visit people in a nursing home.
Giving your time is a rewarding gift to both you and the recipient.
Before you leave the house to spend any money, always have a plan.
When you go to the grocery store, stick to your grocery list.
When you go out to buy gifts, stick to your shopping list.
It’s easy to get sidetracked by a shiny object but remember the overall goal is to stick to your budget and avoid eating ramen noodles till March.
The best way to be intentional about your spending is to leave your credit and debit cards at home and only use cash.
The scary (and effective) part of this method is that if you don’t have enough there’s nothing you can do about it except put it back.
Using cash will help you stick to your budget so you’re not the person at the register trying to decide which items to get rid of.
A fun game my husband and I play is called “Is it really on sale?”
We find something we like on a normal shopping day and take a picture of the price.
We wait for the store to have a sale, you know the kind where items are up to 70% off.
During the sale, we go back to the store and compare prices.
Out of all the times we’ve done this there’s only been 1 time when the sale price was lower than the normal price.
Most of the time the prices are higher by a few hundred dollars!
This process does take time but it’ll help you save tons of money and not get tricked by sales gimmicks.
A gift doesn’t always have to be something you buy.
Search Pinterest for awesome DIY ideas and make your own gifts.
Convenience food costs more because someone else did all of the work. Premade gifts are the same way.
This also applies to decorations.
Save money by making your own wreath instead of buying one that’s already made.
And if you have items lying around in great condition not being used, wrap them up and give them to someone.
As long as you make sure you’re not giving it back to the person who gave it to you!
You will find the best deals by shopping online.
Comparing prices while in your pajamas is the best way to shop.
And if you’re a member of Amazon Prime you don’t even have to worry about shipping!
Sticking to your Christmas budget can be easier than you think.
Limit and prioritize what you need to do to make this holiday season less stressful.
And to prepare for next year, start trying some money saving challenges so you can stretch your budget even more.
Welcome! I’m LaCresha…