Budget = Santa Claus or The Grinch?

CHRISSSSTMAAAASSS!

My very FAVORITE holiday. My favorite season really. I start jingling Bing Cosby November 1st, the decorations are up in the house shortly after that, and the tree goes up Thanksgiving night. (It would go up sooner but we do a fresh tree. If we put it up any sooner it would be dead by Christmas…) I love the smells of that tree, cinnamon, and balsam candles. The tastes of  homemade chocolate and peppermints. And of course, the feelings of warmth, love, and joy. Christmas has always been a big deal in my family, and I intend on keeping it that way for my own.

As Christmas approaches, however, the daunting thoughts of over spending on Christmas gifts starts to creep in. Now that we have a baby, we also think about how we want our kids to think and value the Christmas season. My overcoming joy for the holidays isn’t because I get to check some items off of my list, but because of the time spent with family, the delicious foods we get to eat, and all the holly jolly goodness that comes with the season. The way our home feels filled with clutter and joyful decorations, and, of course, the true meaning of the season in celebrating the birth of Christ.  My hope is that my children will feel the same as they grow.

Now, that being said, I’m a traditional person, and I like creating and keeping traditions throughout my family. Santa Claus will definitely come visit us and leave our stockings full of knickknacks and presents under our tree after eating his cookies, but he won’t be overdoing it. While planning our spending, we started early in October making a list of the things we were going to buy, and started our purchasing. Most of our shopping will be completely finished by the time December even rolls around. The reason for this? One, it keeps your budgets for each month on track instead of blowing all of your money in one month. Two, generally speaking, things will cost a little less. The closer we get to Christmas, the more prices go up in response to demand. (If you need a little help getting started with tracking your budget, I linked a cute journal to help you here.)

When October started, we discussed all that we were going to get for our daughter and that I was going to start looking and purchasing items. Keep in mind, our baby is one year old, she doesn’t need much, and she doesn’t really even know what’s going on. We decided on the basics of a couple toys, a book, things for coloring, and one outfit. In our opinion it’s just enough to feel some excitement of waking up to some fun new items, but not be overwhelmed. In the future, as she grows and recognizes the holiday, we’ll try to keep it about the same. We always want her to feel excitement and joy, but we never want her to wake up like Dudley Dursley and ask how many gifts she has and why there isn’t more than last year. We like to lean more on the side of things we need when holidays come around instead of just the things we want. At times, we hit both of those columns with one item.

As Black Friday approaches this year, Chaz and I have our eye on a couple things we will purchase because the sales are too good for us to miss, but we always do our research first. Just because the say they are having a huge sale, how “huge” is it, and is it worth it? It’s so easy for me to say to myself, “Hey! It’s on sale! Let’s buy it!” Even if it’s only a few dollars off… My impulse buying is pretty strong and it’s something I have to constantly think about, especially around the holidays when I want to buy everything I see for everyone I know.

In summary, a couple ways to keep your budgets on track during the holidays is to plan ahead and create your list and stick to it.  When trying to stay on track with your budgets and money, you don’t have to be a Grinch.  If you give it some thought and stick to a plan, Santa will be alive and well and leaving all the joy the jolly man can. I can’t wait for this one and upcoming holiday seasons with my little family, and with Chaz and I working together, we will never go without and we will never have to worry about our budget expanding passed Santa’s belly. A combination that leaves this household pretty happy and completely stress free.

After all, the Grinch himself said it best, “Maybe Christmas, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Thanks for being here,

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas.

Simply,

The Spackman’s

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