Every year the same two events happen during the Christmas holiday season. At its start, my husband and I make a plan for our spending and tell ourselves that we won’t go crazy on gifts this year. At the end of the season, we realize how much money we’ve spent, more than anticipated, and have a tight month or two making up for our overspending. This year, I’m planning for a different end result. I try to be a person of my word so my hope in writing this particular blog is that I can follow through with my plans.
My kids are the hardest for me to shop for. Not because they are picky but because I do a relatively good job of staying on track with their toys (or lack thereof) throughout the year that I want to give them something extra special for Christmas. I can think of 10 things that each of my kiddos would love right now and it’s hard not to buy them. Especially with all of these cyber week deals. However, I can remember “the Christmas let down” after opening all my presents. As an only child, there was no shortage of presents but I can remember, even now, feeling sad afterward. Sometimes after opening the last gift or a few days later, after coming to the realization that the season was over. The main thing I wanted growing up was family time. Don’t get me wrong, I liked stuff (and still do) but making memories with family and friends bring me the most joy.
Gift giving is one of my love languages and it’s hard for me to stick to a budget when I find a gift that I know someone will love. That being said I’ve learned a few things over the years. The first lesson is that my gifts (aside from the three people that I share a home with) don’t really make or break someone’s Christmas. As much as I want to shower everyone with “lavish” gifts, my budget won’t let me do it. I’d rather get something within reason than get something extra that I can’t afford. Not to mention nobody knows what you were intending to get them aside from what they actually got.
Secondly, a little bit of overspending here and there equals an unbalanced budget later. Some 5-10 dollar allowances over time can quickly add to 100+ in money I wasn’t going to spend during Christmastime. Thirdly, experiences beat things every time (at least for me). I’ve come to realize the older I get, that I would rather have a memorable experience with fond memories than more stuff. Now that I’m a parent, I really treasure the holiday traditions that I make with my family. Looking at lights, watching Christmas movies, making cookies etc. Those are the things I value. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites in a blog later this week for my top picks around the Ozarks area.
If you are getting your kids the whole Target toy section (RIP Toys R Us) or you’re getting all your friends diamond tennis bracelets, I don’t hold it against you. (Plus, where’s my diamond bracelet? I thought we were friends! 😏) After briefly envying you (and I mean blink and it’s over) I know that what works best for my family is to be mindful of our spending.
What about you guys? How do you handle holiday spending? Is it hard for you to stick to a budget? Tell me all about it in the comments. 🎄