Christmastime is Heeeeere…

That title was inspired by Charlie Brown… Sing it! I know you know it! ūüėČ As much as I’m not ready to admit it, Christmas is coming. It’s only, like, 7 weeks away or something ridiculous like that. The time for Christmas shopping is upon us! Especially once Thanksgiving hits…

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So saving money (and spending the¬†money we have in a wise fashion) should be a top priority as we head into the holiday season. Setting a budget for your Christmas spending is a GREAT idea. If you’ve never done it before, you’ve probably noticed that spending can get¬†out of control a little faster than you’d like.

It is extremely helpful to have a “Christmas” fund that savings can accumulate in through the year. Keep that in mind when the new year hits. If you’re a resolution person, add it to the list… “Save $____ for Christmas ($__ per month).” Then do it!

But what if you waited too long and it’s already time to shop? Well then,¬†it’s time to look at the budget. Sit down (include your spouse if you have one) and figure out who you are buying gifts for this year. Don’t forget to include any work parties, church parties, etc. that you are expected to bring a gift to.¬†Then take a look at the budget and decide on¬†a reasonable amount to¬†spend in the next 6 or 7 weeks on Christmas gifts. I like to figure about $20 or less per person. We have 10 nieces and nephews, okay? That $20 a pop adds up fast! ūüėČ

Then it’s time to start shopping. I’ll tell you, Amazon is my best friend for shopping holidays and birthdays. There are great¬†deals online that you can have delivered right to your door (or to the giftee). It’s fantastic. I’ve been doing my gift shopping through Amazon for many years now and I’ve never been disappointed. Great deals, great ideas. They have lists of the most popular… well… everything! Any category you can think of. It’s all in one place, just a click away.

Black Friday is also a good¬†way to shop for deals (sometimes, watch out for the rip-offs) but Black Friday is for crazy people. Sorry if you are an avid Black Friday shopper. If you’re willing to stand in the cold for hours for those deals, you are a better Christmas trooper than I. Kudos to you. But you’re still crazy. And (side note) Wal-Mart is starting sales on THANKSGIVING DAY AT SIX? Okay, rant over.

Here is a helpful little tool I came across this week from Dave Ramsey’s site. It’s a Christmas budget tool! It helps you keep a list of all the people you’re buying for and you can keep track of what you’ve spent. A simple pen and paper can do the same thing, but you can carry this around with you anywhere if it’s on your phone. Check it out!

It’s easy to get caught up in the spending of money and it can be quite stressful. In those moments, take a breath, focus on why you’re buying the gifts, and enjoy the season. Make those memories! Especially if you have children. As an adult, Christmas lost a bit of its wonder and charm. But it¬†became magical again the first time I watched my nieces and nephews experience Christmas. I can’t wait to watch my own children experience it one day. Life is a gift. Soak it all in, people!

Have a lovely day!

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