6 Weeks to Christmas!

Friends! How are you? We’re doing pretty good on this end of things. Busy but sticking to our budget and saving away! We had a fun weekend. Nate had a show this weekend with his band Afterlife Parade and it was completely awesome. I’m so glad he has the opportunity to be creative and live out his dreams as a musician.

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This Friday marks 6 weeks until Christmas. I can’t even…6 weeks?! It’s crazy. Which brings me to the Christmas gift budget. Hopefully you have one set up for this year. If not, now is the time to start! If you haven’t set aside a Christmas budget, try to work in some saving for the rest of this month and for December. I’ve heard it said so many times, “Christmas is not an emergency; it comes the same time every year,” which means no going in debt for Christmas expenses. So go ahead and set aside some cash now.

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If you’re struggling to meet the budget, you can find some easy DIY gift ideas here! Many families also opt for doing gift exchanges instead of everyone having to buy a gift for every single person. It helps to cut down on over-spending and, honestly, do our loved ones really need all the gifts we would give them? Tradition has its place, but when your budgets are hurting because of a holiday, I’d recommend keeping it simple. As you can see below, 4 aunts & uncles buying gifts for 10 kids can quickly get overwhelming!

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Once you have your gift list figured out and the amount you can spend per gift, it’s time to shop (the fun part)! Try to be as mindful of sales going on in the store and online as possible. Amazon is one of my holiday store favorites. Black Friday is, of course, a huge sales day, but be smart about your purchases. I, personally, do not think Black Friday is worth it, but some of you do and that is perfectly fine! Good luck to you if you’re braving the lines this year. 🙂

I think the most important thing to remember through this time of year is that it’s all about LOVE. Gifts are great, food is great, decorations are fun, but it’s all in vain if we forget to live our lives rooted in love. Spending time with the people we love should be one of our main goals this holiday season.

What are some other ways you look to save during the holidays? What gift-giving traditions do your family or friends have that are budget-friendly?

See you guys next week!

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Christmastime is Heeeeere…

That title was inspired by Charlie Brown… Sing it! I know you know it! 😉 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! 😉

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!