Planning and Budgeting around the Holidays

I have to be honest, I have not bought a single gift or done a single thing to prepare for the holidays yet. It’s only December 6th, so I’m sure there are others that are with me but I am avoiding it because I don’t want to spend the money even though I will eventually have to. This has me wondering how I can handle times like this in a more planful and thoughtful way that doesn’t make me tense up and super anxious all month long.

 
Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

 

What do people do? How does everyone else handle this crazy time between Thanksgiving and New Years without completely blowing their budget or getting off track with their financial goals? Yes, there are very obvious answers such as – don’t buy as much, make things and/or buy gifts throughout the year but let’s just talk this out to see if processing this together helps me and potentially one of you who is reading this.

I’ve been reading articles, listening to podcasts and such hoping that someone is going to give me insider info or a magic website that will solve everything for me! What? You have to? Funny! Anyway, I have found a few things that stand out to me and feel like they might be doable. Now, remember I did just tell you that it is December 6th and I have done NOTHING so take this with a grain of salt.


1.

Make a list of all the people you need to buy for or want to buy for

the process of listing out the names and a possible amount that I plan to spend really helped take the stress off for me. I could see once I totaled up numbers that if I just stick to my plan this month would be manageable. Instead of allowing myself to be overwhelmed buy the constant thoughts of – “I have so much to do, so much to buy, so much to spend…” I have everything listed out and my mind doesn’t feel as cluttered or anxious.


2.

Don’t pay full price for anything this time of year

This was a great reminder to me that this time of year is full of deals and sales and that if we do our research and look around we should be able to find most items we will buy on some kind of sale.


3.

Brainstorm what gifts could be made or could be experiences!

In my former life (pre-kids) I would have loved this idea but now as a working mom of 3 boys I am less excited about making time to make crafty things. I’m still keeping it in mind and I might do a few handmade gifts but I assume this would be great advice for someone who planned further in advance than I have. Now, the experiences part – love this! My husband and I have agreed to go more of this route for our boys this year. They need nothing and we aren’t thrilled about spending money to buy toys that they will play with for 2 hours and then be done with. So, putting money toward experiences is on my list!


I tend to overbuy or spend more than planned because I save everything until the last minute and I am not as thoughtful and planful about what I am doing. My intention this year is to do it differently and see what the result is. I am hopeful that this year will be as exciting and magical for my kids even though we are choosing to do less when it comes to gifts.

This time of year goes so fast, is filled with fun things to do and time with family and friends and I am working to just be in this moment and in this excitement instead of stressing about everything going as planned, turning out perfectly and buying the perfect gifts. If I’ve learned anything over the years about this time it’s that there is NO perfect gift but it’s more about the joy of giving to the ones we love and finding something that we think might make them smile and feel special.

As I work to change my habits and behaviors around spending this time of the year I would love to hear what you do! Please share.