Photo by tanakawho
As the Christmas season approaches, I think it's super easy for all of us to get a little glassy-eyed and caught up in the rush of the season and overspend ourselves into a deep hole, that we then spend some large portion of next year climbing out of. Let this year be different!
I've always heard the term "live within your means" - I recently saw a plaque with a phrase I like even better "live within your harvest" - what a beautiful picture! The American culture teaches us to always want MORE, MORE, MORE (hello consumerism) but to be a good steward of what we have, we've all got to learn to say NO and to live within the boundaries of our individual lives, whatever they may be! It's okay to try and enlarge those boundaries (within reason), but if you never get your spending under control, you'll always want more, no matter if you make $20,000 $200,000 or $2,000,000. It's easy to say that if you made $150,000 a year you'd be satisfied, but the truth is, there are a lot of people making $150,000 that spend $175,000 every year and have a big pile of credit card debt to make up the difference!
So this year, especially with the flurry of Christmas spending that is already/getting ready to take place, I encourage you to set some guidelines for yourself:
- set a reasonable Christmas budget and abide by it (beyond Christmas, make a monthly budget - Dave Ramsey is a great resource!)
- stay away from certain stores where self-control/restraint is difficult (ie the mall -I literally probably go to the mall less than 5 times a year, and 2 of those times are to get my engagement ring inspected)
- shop online - use online tools to find the best deals and bargains - Meg has a great WFMW post on this very issue today - couldn't have said it better myself!
- get creative & go homemade for Christmas - several bloggers are working together on the "holidays by hand" festival - check it out and get inspired!
- tell your kids (or other relatives) NO - kids don't have to have 10 presents to have a great Christmas - I know several families whose kids get 3 presents, just like Jesus did - what a great model!
- use coupons - I've bought many a Christmas present using Bed, Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons - this year I've bought at least 1 gift from ACMoore using a 55% off coupon they had in the paper a few weeks back
- do a family name swap with your extended family and buy for 1 family member instead of 12
- do all cash for Christmas - refuse to use the plastic - you'll thank me in January (and on into the rest of the year) when you don't have a big pile of debt to recover from
- don't believe the lies that Hollywood & advertising try to sell us - you don't need a pair of $250 boots to prove your worth - when you see commercials, print ads, etc. think about and through the lies that the advertisers are selling and then DON'T BUY THEM! We use a DVR for most shows that we watch, so we see few commercials to begin with- certainly helps cut down on the "wants"! (Start challenging your kids to see through it too - I know a family who plays "Spot the Lie" with their kids when a commercial comes on TV "Kids - what are they telling us?" "that abc cereal will make me happy" "Does abc cereal make you a happy person?" etc.)