Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas: on a budget

Yes, this post is about Christmas. I'm hearing Christmas music in the radio, and I'm seeing decorations up.
It's November...Yes...Christmas is around the corner!

Being debt free...

and living on a shoestring budget

makes people ask me not "how do you do it?"

but "how do you do Christmas?"
Ok...this is how we 'do' Christmas.
  1. Establish boundaries!!! Not everyone needs a gift! Friends will understand if you just want to get together for lunch or a craft, etc.
  2. Establish limits. We do a gift exchange for our small bible group. We establish the limit at $15. Manageable if you budget for it (or find things on clearance throughout the year).
  3. Don't be afraid to re-gift. Yes, I am a regifter! I don't burn candles, and I don't use many lotions. Therefore, when I receive one of these, it goes into a regift bin. They are great generic female presents.
  4. Name exchanges. For larger families, its great to enjoy each other's company and only have to bring one or two gifts for your named individual.
  5. Have an idea of what you want to purchase for someone before you go shopping. By having a game plan, you don't aimlessly wander through a store and pick up 'stuff' that someone may or may not need. If you put thought into what you purchase before you buy it, it shows as a thoughtful gift- not a "hey, I saw this on a rack somewhere and figured maybe you could use it."
  6. Try to make some gifts. Photo albums and picture frames are affordable can be personalized easily.
  7. Start early. Like the day after Christmas sales. Cards and wrapping paper, bows, etc. are cheapest then. If you pick them up and store them for a year, it won't cut into your Christmas budget later.
  8. Have a game plan for a budget, get an envelope with cash and STICK TO IT! Dave and I sit down at the beginning of each year and allocate funds to each big purchase- Christmas being one of them. We make a list of each person we need to purchase gifts for and how much we are willing to spend (don't forget to budget for possible shipping fees for those that live far away).
  9. Give with your heart. If you can't be a cheerful giver, don't bother.
  10. Don't forget the real meaning of Christmas.


Kathy said...

Great list Sandy! You and I talked about this before but I still found your post helpful. :)

And I have to ask, is the time stamp accurate?? Are you really up posting before 5am??

Sandy Hop said...

Kathy, blogspots time stamp is off. BUT, I also write up a bunch of posts usually on Sunday night and post date them. There's a few more coming this week. :)

Thomas and Jamie said...

Sandy - I'm SO all about this! I made a list of everything I wanted to get everyone this year, AND, gave myself the added challenge that I wanted them all to be personalized. Then, when I got that first 30% off sale from, I ordered away and now we've gotten gifts for 11 people for less than $150!!!

Brittney said...

I was going to say #9 if you didn't. :) It's totally a good idea to budget ALL YEAR LONG for Christmas so when the shopping times come around, you know where the money is coming from!