So, here’s the deal. I am a minimalist mama but I also love Christmas and presents and shopping and all. the. things. So, while it may seem as if these two are at odds with each other, I’ve simply found a way to incorporate the […]
I want a minivan.
I want the collapsible back seats & the sliding doors, the ample space for groceries & the leg room. Heck, I’ll even take the soccer-mom reputation if it means I can wear my yoga pants everyday (who am I kidding, I already do)!!
But, do you know what else I want? That pretty pale-pink KitchenAid mixer, a new vacuum cleaner, some comfy V-neck tees & a pair of black Nike sneakers. And, while we’re at it, a new washer and dryer would be great since ours are from the 70s. Oh, and I’d love to remodel our bedroom & maybe refinish our hardwood floors in the living room.
The problem is, these all cost money. While it would be easy to get a loan for the van and put the rest on a credit card, we’ve decided to live debt-free, which means we have to choose. Should we save for a minivan or slowly spend the money on all the other things we have our eyes on?
Determining your financial priorities is critical to the success of your budget. Well-planned goals point you in the direction of your endgame and keep you on track. You can’t keep your eye on the ball if you don’t know where the ball is.
So, here are my steps on how to be a goal digger (cue Kanye).
Set a measurable goal. This is the most important step to becoming a goal digger. Your goal has to be measurable in order to determine how close you are to accomplishing it.
Example Goal #1: I will eat less sweets this year.
Does this mean 1 dessert a day, a week, a month? What was my typical eating habit before I set my goal? What constitutes a sweet-does this include honey or, dare I say, chocolate?! This goal is not specific enough to allow me to track my progress.
Example Goal #2: I will only eat 1 dessert a week this year.
This is measurable. If I only eat 1 dessert this week, I know I’ve met my goal. But, if I eat more than 1, I know there’s room for improvement, and I can set boundaries accordingly (darn you, peanut butter fudge cheesecake!!).
Hint: When it comes to creating a measurable goal for your budget, it usually means you need to have a dollar amount associated with your goal as well as a designated time frame.
Write it down (your goal, that is). Post this bad boy everywhere-on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, your nightstand, your car visor. Type it in a note, screenshot it, and set it as the background on your phone. Write it on your hand, get a tattoo, carve it in your lawn. Whatever it takes to remind you of your goal, do it!! Writing it down will keep you accountable.
Compare every purchase to your goal. This is crucial!! By comparing your needs/wants to your goal, you can determine whether or not they’re necessary to your life right now. You know that KitchenAid mixer I mentioned? If I buy it now, I won’t be able to put that money in my minivan fund, meaning the van may have to wait a month longer in the end. Is it worth it? Thinking of purchases in regards to your goal puts them into perspective. (Hint: a lot of small purchases can add up quickly. See my post on how to change your spending habits.)
After some debate, we’ve decided our goal for the year is saving for a minivan. It’s the highest priority for our family and the other things can wait. With that being said, this goal is going to take some work. It’s easy to stay motivated at the beginning of the year, because the decision is fresh on our minds. However, when March rolls around and Justin Timberlake just so happens to be in Cleveland, we’ll have to make a decision: save for the van or take back the night with JT? (Fingers crossed that we can do both!!)
Who’s ready to be a goal digger this year?!
P.S. If you feel like you’re having a hard time saving money for your goals, see my post on creative ways to save a little here and a little there. You might get to your goal sooner than you think!!
P.P.S. The year I wrote this post was the year we bought our minivan!! Read about our journey to saving + driving the van of our dreams here!!
The theme for this month at our house is simplify. I kicked us off on January 1st with a 30-day decluttering challenge and I’m happy to say that we’re still going strong (plus, Nate has really taken ownership this year which makes me do the […]
Now that I have kids, one of my favorite times to wrap gifts is in the early morning hours. The tree’s warm lights shine throughout the house, giving the darkness a hint of magic. That’s not to say that it’s easy for me to get up, because it. is. not!! But knowing that I’ll have some alone time makes it worthwhile to crawl out of my cozy bed.
I know some of you are probably dragging your feet on the wrapping process, but I’m here to tell you that it’s December 12th!! It is high time to get your wrapping game on. So, to get you excited, I’m going to give you my personal favorites of the three gift-wrapping essentials: tissue paper, wrapping paper, and ribbon. YAY!!
If you’re not a regular dollar store shopper, you are missing out!! They have so many great buys, including tissue paper. This is one of those no-brainer dollar store must-haves because tissue paper serves one purpose only: to make your gift look pretty in the 0.2 seconds before the gift opener tears through it. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this!! Our local Dollar Tree has a variety of colors, but my favorite is the white with sparkles. The glitter gives your gift some pizazz without coming out of the paper (meaning no mess). Plus, it’s only $1 for 20 sheets (5 cents/sheet). Do yourself a favor and drive yourself to Dollar Tree ASAP!!
I will admit that I am a wrapping paper snob (I only buy it from Hallmark). This is an area where I don’t skimp, because I want my gifts to look pretty all month long under my tree. Besides the pretty designs, it’s also
a) thick and durable, especially with heavier presents
b) easy to cut because of the handy dandy cutting lines on the inside of the paper
c) just as cheap as Dollar Tree wrapping paper (yes, you read that right. Stay tuned for my tips and tricks on getting Christmas gift wrap at Hallmark for a steal). You just can’t go wrong with this paper!!
One of my favorite steps of gift wrapping is putting the finishing touches on my handiwork with a ribbon. Because I use such bold and festive wrapping paper, I like to go pretty simple to tie it all together (literally and aesthetically). My favorite ribbon is from Pat Catan’s. It’s satin-trimmed (meaning it’s flexible and easy to tie in a bow unlike the paper-y kinds) and comes in large, 20 yard rolls (which basically means it lasts forever). I like to buy various colors so that I can switch it up (plus, you can always use it for other occasions).
I hope this has helped you get in the Christmas gift wrapping spirit!! I’d love to hear your favorites for gift wrapping including tips and tricks (because you can never have enough of those).
Minimalism is all the rave these days. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve jumped on that bandwagon, not because it’s cool and trendy, but because it’s created a life that is less stressful and more manageable. While my minimalism journey is […]
My life is a bit of a conundrum: I am a huge lover of all things Christmas while at the same time loving a good deal and saving money. You’re probably sitting there, thinking, “How in the world are you supposed to do both at the same time?!” You’re in luck, because I’m about to tell you!!
I have always been a lover of gift-giving. I blame it on my mom since she’s the best gift-giver around (no joke). BUT, when I entered my adulting years, I realized that buying gifts for anyone and everyone can quickly become stressful when you’re forced to spend your own money instead of your parents’ (oh, to be young again). Rather than quitting gift-giving all together, I decided to change up how I did Christmas in order to get the best bang for my buck.
If you’re entering the holiday season knowing you’re strapped for cash but you still want to call on your inner Saint Nick, below are my favorite ways on how to grab some joy and make the most of it!
- Exchange names: Imagine you only had to buy one gift (or two if you’re married) instead of FIVE or even TEN (big families, I’m talking to you). Talk about maximization at its finest!! Not only will you save time and brainpower (less shopping & less thinking), but you’ll probably save money in the end as well. Exchanging names allows you to buy one meaningful gift that might cost $40 versus spending $10 per person on things that are small and insignificant. If you’re smart, you’ll talk your family into this one!
- Stocking stuffers: If you’re one of those people that can’t imagine a world where you don’t buy for each and every family member, try sticking to a set limit and only buy stocking stuffers (for example, buy $5 stocking stuffers for each person). This forces you to be creative with a smaller budget but also allows you to exercise your love of gift-giving.
- Make a game of it: Rather than setting a dollar limit or only buying for one person, create a fun task for yourself while still gifting each person on your list. Ideas include creating artwork from supplies you already have on hand, finding the perfect gift from a store like Five Below or Target (hello, dollar section!!), sewing a costume, thrift shopping, or re-gifting a meaningful trinket from your past.
Below are some examples of how you can mix and match the above tips for some holiday gift-giving fun:
Each year, my immediate family exchanges names for Christmas. We spend a larger amount on the person whose name we have, but then we also buy $5 stocking stuffers for each person in the family. This has been a fun way for us to give gifts to each person but also stay smart.
Are your kids into building things? Check with your mom to see if she saved that big box of Lincoln Logs that you played with as a kid. If so, wrap those puppies up and put them under the tree!! They may be used but I’ll bet your kids will be excited because a) they were yours and b) they’re a new toy they haven’t played with before. (The same could go for your old Barbies, tractor, Polly Pocket, GI Joe, etc. It’s amazing what moms will keep after you leave the nest!)
A friend of mine had a fun tradition growing up: her mother always filled their stockings with Goodwill finds (a t-shirt, coffee mug, paperback book, CD, etc.). She’d score thrift stores looking for things that she knew each of her kids enjoyed. I love this idea because it’s thrifty and fun at the same time.
Maybe your kids want to get Daddy gifts for Christmas. Give them each $3, or, heck, even $1, and let them explore DollarTree looking for the gift they think Dad will like the most. My guess is he’ll love it, even if it wasn’t expensive, because they chose it themselves.
Sew a costume or fun dress-up items out of scraps of fabric you have sitting in your craft drawer. Or, if you’re really skilled, sew some doll or Barbie clothes rather than spending that $7-10 at Walmart.
Have everyone in the family buy a $25 gift. Bring it to your Christmas gathering and play Bingo to see who will get which present! This way, everyone gets a gift and there can’t be any hard feelings because so-and-so didn’t buy for everyone. (WARNING: there WILL be hard feelings if everyone puts effort into their gift except for that one person who brings toilet paper because he/she couldn’t think of anything else. Leave your toilet paper at home!!)
Be creative when it comes to gift-giving!! It’s ok to break out of the box and choose a different path in order to save money this year. You can get more tips on how to spend less for Christmas here. (Would you like some ideas on how to budget for the holidays? You can get my Christmas Gift Budget worksheet straight to your inbox by entering your info below!!)
What ideas do you plan to implement this year in order to maximize your gift giving?
I’m going to reveal a little something about myself…I love Christmas!! It is, hands-down, my favorite time of year, and I want to start celebrating in October to make it last as long as possible!! However, my husband keeps me tame and makes me […]