This image is a free printable poster from q.a. design that I added a little extra text to. Jenna is so talented and kind for offering up her pretty things for free :) Go check out her blog to print it (without my text) and browse all the other wonders she has to share!
We have all been there. It's Thanksgiving. You are enjoying pumpkin pie and good company, but there is something on your shoulders: worry. Worry that you don't have the cash to buy all the gifts you want to buy for your loved ones for Christmas. Worry that you feel you have to buy something for someone and you have no idea what to get them. (Office party name-drawing!? No thank you.) Well, it doesn't have to be that way. I used to get a little frantic when the holidays neared, knowing that I should've started preparing earlier, should've budgeted, should've left myself more time to adequately celebrate the purpose of the holiday and spend time with family and friends rather than being out running errands up to the minute the clock struck 12, spending money on random things no one really wanted. No more! I'm starting now, and I have a plan.
1. Make a list of who you want to give gifts to. Make a budget for the amount you can spend on each gift, or how much you can spend monthly on gifts coming out of your regular monthly budget. This may require some tightening in other areas but it beats charging everything to your credit card in December and paying for it for the next two years, right? As you go through the next six months, divide up your gift list and try to use your budget to buy or make a few each month -and put them somewhere you won't forget! When December hits you will be done with your shopping, making, etc. and you will have the stress-free Christmas of your dreams. Oh, and no payments to deal with!
My philosophy is that you don't need to spend a ton of money on gifts, as long as you are thoughtful. Home-made gifts can be more personal, but people really do just want gift cards sometimes. Pay attention to those you want to give to. The spirit of giving should be one of excitement, not stress over not having the cash to buy an extravagant item.
2. Plan your parties too. Maybe some of that holiday budget can be put to use in the form of buying a few supplies here and there for the ugly sweater party you're dying to throw. You could buy and store non-perishable baking supplies when they are on sale so you can make 300 sugar cookies and ten different frostings for your cookie decorating party. You could even make some of those cookies and freeze them. Whatever it is you want to do, anticipate it and plan accordingly. You will thank yourself later.
3. Look for great deals when you are thinking of what to give as gifts. We share a lot of free or cheap photo book deals here on Pretty Providence. Everyone loves sentimental memory gifts! Why not take advantage of a couple of those and make an album for your parents of the two of them through the years, or one for your significant other of them doing their favorite hobby? It will undoubtedly beat most other gifts you could think of. Daily deals like Groupon, Eversave or Living Social also make great gifts. The last two years for Christmas my mom has given my brothers and husband each a Groupon voucher to American Apparel for $50 and only paid $25 for each. Then they all get to choose a hoodie and she has saved 50%. Momma points all around.
4. Keep your eye out for travel deals if you plan on traveling to see your loved ones or getting away for some holiday R&R! Traveling around the holidays can be crazy expensive, and I have heard it's hard to find good deals since people are willing to pay almost anything. Last year my sister-in-law wanted to come visit for Christmas but the flights were too much. She decided to come three weeks early and stay for two weeks, leaving the week before Christmas. She saved hundreds. We had a big party and opened some of our family gifts with her and her little boys while they were in town and it was perfect. If you and your fam can be flexible on when to celebrate together, lots of money can be saved!
5. Do an analysis of last year's holiday season. Write down which things were most stressful and what can be done to avoid them this year. This could even go as far as talking to family about what your plans are so there are no surprises when time needs to be divided between different sides of the family.
6. Find creative ways to keep commercialism from ruining your holiday season! For me, that means not shopping at the mall any time after Thanksgiving. It makes me crazy. It also involves gathering with my family and reading scripture passages, playing games and just generally enjoying each other's company. Think of fun things to do with your family to keep you in the right mindset, whatever that is for you, so that you can have a peaceful, fun, enjoyable and worshipful season.
Those are my tips! I would love to hear what you all do to make your holidays great! Please share in the comments!?
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out these similar budget posts:How to Vacation on a Budget
How to Decorate on a Tiny Budget
Party On! (Without Breaking the Bank)
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