My Christmas Budget Survival Plan

My Christmas Budget Survival Plan

The Christmas season is upon us! Did you go out shopping on Black Friday? I stayed in and avoided the stores, because I was preparing for Peter’s 50th birthday dinner, but I’ve done some online planning and actually have quite a few of my gifts bought, wrapped, and ready to be placed under my tree–once we decorate it!

I do most of my shopping online these days, because I can compare prices and usually save on free shipping. Plus, I avoid crowded malls, so…bonus.

Speaking of shopping, are you wondering how to give to all the people on your list while staying within your budget this year? I am a gift giver by nature and want to be as generous as our budget will allow, especially to those who have blessed our family in some way during the year: teachers, friends, etc… I want to return the blessing, but also want to be respectful of my husbands budget and not overburden him.

My Christmas gift giving goal is twofold: to bless others and to give gifts within our means. I’ve learned that sometimes the “gifts” don’t have to be bought. They can be expressed through time, friendship, or service.


So, here is my plan of attack.

1. Prioritize my  list. I can’t buy for everyone, although I’d like to.  So I have to narrow it down somehow. Kids, hubby, parents and sisters always make the list. Then, closest friends, teachers, mentors, and out from there. 🙂

2. Divide and Conquer–your money, that is. Consider using an envelope system. Put the amount you plan to spend in cash in a single envelope, one envelope per person. When it is gone, it is gone. If you are purchasing online, stick closely to your budget to avoid maxing out your credit card. 🙂 Remember to search for online coupons…you can usually find them for every store! Free shipping coupons help save money, too.

3. Make handmade gifts or treats. Each year I make handmade ornaments, candy, chocolate covered pretzels, etc…and make up gift bags for those I  still want to give something special, but cannot afford to buy for.  I like to use pretty packaging, and have used these and these. If you plan to write a newsy letter as a gift, I like to insert special Harney tea (this variety pack is fabulous) as a little “something” to say I wish we could visit with a cup of tea.  Sometimes I sew, make candles, paint, needle felt, etc…Check Pinterest for inspiration galore!

4. Refuse to give in to consumerism. Advertisers spend big money trying to lure you into buying extras…decide what your needs are and stick to that.  “Beware of coveteousness.” Remember that Christmas is not all about material goods. Celebrate with simplicity.

5. Save money by decorating with fresh greens. If you live in the country, snip greens from an oblidging evergreen tree, and fill a basket with berries and a pretty ribbon. Check the LL Bean catalog for greenery idea inspiration, or do a google image search. By filling a basket with fresh floral foam, and then adding your greens, you can make a beautiful, inexpensive, great smelling centerpiece for pennies.

6. Spend time and do life with those who you might not plan to buy for but want to show love to.  Every year I host little gathering for friends of various kinds: Sometimes tea for the teen girls or a group of older women, greenery parties where we make up swags, wreaths, or centerpieces for our home and a few extras to be delivered to shut ins or a loved on in the nursing home.  I have friends over for a one on one cup of tea and encouragement. These things can usually be done within your grocery budget (tea and cookies, crackers and cheese) but speak volumes about how much you value your loved ones.

7. Enjoy local events with friends and family and just take the time to slow down. Get in the car with hot cocoa and see the Christmas lights. Invite friends in for a Christmas movie. Grab a cup of tea in town and enjoy the lights. Open your eyes to all the beauty around you. You can be just as happy watching the snow flurries flying curled up with a good book, as you can buying experiences, if your heart is thankful. Time, not things, fill our souls because we were made for loving relationships.

What ideas do you have for celebrating without breaking the bank or depleting your energies? Please share with all of us in the comments! We could all use the help!! 🙂


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