We are less than eight weeks from Christmas.

In this episode, we’re talking about developing and maintaining a holiday budget so you can keep your spending under control.

We’re going to talk about getting into the right mindset this season, creating a holiday budget, and how to have those difficult conversations with family members about spending limits.

AND… we’re talking about how to be creative with making a plan for how to stay within your budget and have a better holiday season.

Check out the video:

What does a budget mean for the holiday season?

A Holiday Budget Starts with a Plan

Make a list of all the people you will be buying for, the parties that you will be going to, and if you are entertaining for the holidays, include the cost of that on your list as well. Are you going to be spending money on decorating? If so, include that in your budget. Put all these items on a piece of paper.

Assign the entire list an amount that you are comfortable spending.

How do you know what number to assign it? Look at what you previously spent or what is in your bank account. Look at what you can comfortably spend without going into debt. (The important thing is to NOT have to put gift giving on your credit cards)!

Then, assign each line item (or person) a maximum spending limit. The total of each of these items should NOT exceed the total for your overall budget amount!

Remember… The people who love you really don’t want you to go into debt buying them material things! 

Next let’s focus in on the mindset around shopping from your Christmas list.

When you go into the store, you have a set amount for each person.

What happens if you find an item on sale and that would have equaled the amount you had set for that person? You do not have to spend extra money on that person. I learned a lot about this from my mother in law who is really great at keeping things equal for us. Every year, my sister in law and I get the same exact gift, wrapped the same exact way. It’s adorable and it makes it a lot easier on her when she’s out shopping for us (Bonus)! I am a big believer in equality. I work to keep things equal with my kids in the number of gifts I give so If I get something on sale, that’s great! That means I did a good job staying within my budget!

I challenge you to change your mindset when you find a sale. Look at a sale as the best way to give the most value and the most meaningful gift instead of maxing out your budget.

Personally, my favorite gifts to receive are a certain notebook that is sold only at Target and warm fuzzy socks. Why do I tell you this? Not because I want you to buy me notebooks and socks (although that would be totally ok :-)) but because I want to drill home the point that it’s not about the dollar amount that you’re giving, it’s about giving something that will make that person happy and feel like they were listened to. It shows you care because you’re paying attention to them, it’s about making that connection.

How to Make Your Holiday Budget Work

How do you cut down your budget so you are spending money without going into debt?

You might need to have a conversation with friends and family members to let them know that you will be to cut back on spending, even if it’s just for one year.

It’s scary to say “no” to the obligations or the expectations with your friends and families. And that’s another mindset change we need to have. If it helps, you can tell them that you are really focused on growing your business and that means you’re cutting back in other ways.

I’ve had this conversation with my friends and family and, at first, I was met with a little bit of resistance, but at the end, everyone realized that the cutbacks were meant to help everyone have less holiday stress– and they all agreed willingly.

The reason for resistance is merely that people are used to tradition and naturally resistant to change. But by making sure that the most important aspects of the holidays are being met (like spending quality time together), you’re not really taking away from the holiday, but adding to it.

Offer Suggestions for Various Ways You Can Save Money

Here are a few ideas:

Instead of purchasing and preparing an entire dinner yourself, opt for a potluck where everyone pitches in, or trade a sit-down dinner to hor d’ourves only.

When it comes to gifts, you can try a white elephant party or draw names instead of buying for everyone. Include others in the planning so you’re not removing them from the process, but making them feel included in the creation of something new.

It might seem hard, but you’re removing some of the stress during the holidays by staying within your monetary limits and you might even be doing others a big favor by helping them do the same! (If you want, you can even send them this post).

Additionally, think about how can you enhance the experience for others. With kids, how can you teach them about the spirit of the holidays and bring them into the process? In the season of giving, it is important for you show your kids how fulfilling it is to give to others- which doesn’t mean giving of just money or gifts. Take your kids to volunteer. Open them up to the experience of giving selflessly to those that are less fortunate. The joy you’ll both experience is better than any material gift you could receive PLUS it’s a great way to bond!

Share Your Ideas

I’d love to hear how this works for you!

  • Have you ever had to talk to someone about cutting back on spending?
  • Have you changed your plans for the holidays?

Leave a comment below and help others out by sharing how you have implemented changes.

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