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 […]
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 happy dance)!! If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late! Read about my challenge here and join us in purging the stuff that’s bringing overwhelm instead of joy.
With last year fresh on our minds, now is the perfect time to look at our past spending habits to determine what we’d like to do differently. Many times we continue in the same bad patterns, because we’ve never taken the time to evaluate what we’re doing well and what we’re doing not so well. Let’s take a look, shall we?
When it comes to your budget, consider the following questions:
-What is my stress level on a scale of 1-10 in thinking about my finances?
-How much money did I save last year?
-How many unplanned purchases did I make last year?
-Did buying Christmas gifts leave me feeling frazzled and overwhelmed?
-Am I worried about my financial state this month because of my spending last month?
-Do I feel frustrated because of my inability to give to my local church or charities because I’m financially strapped?
-Do I have someone who I’m accountable to in regards to my spending?
Finances and budgeting can be intimidating, I totally get it. Our spending habits often give others glimpses of our hearts and what we deem as important, which makes us feel vulnerable. But it’s usually the hard things that are the most important to talk about.
What if you simplified your budget this year? What if you talked with our spouse about your spending instead of trying to hide it? What if you started saving for those far-off purchases rather than scrounging at the last minute? What if you spent what you actually had and stopped spending what you didn’t have? What if you started giving to those in need rather than being fixated on your situation?
It’s changes like this that will simplify your life. Having a plan in regards to your spending is a game changer. As with most things, getting your finances in order is hard work up front, BUT it will save you time in the long run. Simplifying doesn’t necessarily mean easy; however, when you choose to do the hard thing first, it actually eases the burden down the road.
This year, I want to encourage you to make a change with your spending. Where could you spend less? Where should you invest more? What little purchases are you making that, if you stopped, might actually add up to a significant amount at the end of the year (coffee drinkers, I’m talking to you)? Who could you bless this year? How could you start saving now to ease the burden of big-money purchases later?
Put some action behind these thoughts and talk it over with your hubby, your mom, or your bestie…strategize together and make a change!! Simplify your spending and put a stop to the anxiety in that mama heart of yours.
P.S. I know that you have what it takes to make some financial changes this year. And its ok to start with baby steps!! Read about 5 creative ways to save a little here and a little there, and while you’re at it, get some tools under your belt on how to save for those big purchases. You can do this!!
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?