When Meagan and Christina suggested I write about holiday budgeting, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. I’m not a meticulous budgeter. I am a person who lives within their means and keeps debt to a minimum. I’m frugal at times, but I also like my little indulgences. I am a money conscious person.
When buying something, I check myself with questions like:
- Is this a need?
- Is this a want?
- Is the price right?
- Are there already three short-sleeved blue silky blouses in my closet?
I apply the same behavior to holiday spending. I usually have a dollar amount in mind as to how much money to spend per person. Sometimes I go over that amount if I find an exciting item, but it’s never by an exorbitant amount.
Lately, the area where I have to monitor spending a little bit more than usual at holiday time is buying things for myself! There are so many great prices on sweaters and tops and boots and jackets and jewelry and books and blankets and towels…I think you get the idea. And you probably understand my dilemma all too well.
The past couple of years I’ve been able to cut down on unnecessary spending by following a few changes in my holiday shopping habits. Here they are:
The earlier I get my shopping done, the less I spend. It’s that simple. This year I had just about all my shopping done before Black Friday. There is a shift in attitude, for me, when shopping without the flurry of holiday activity all around. It’s easier to stay focused on shopping goals and intentions and not get caught up in the hype and excitement of the season. There’s also less pressure to buy things that might not otherwise get purchased because of time crunch issues. I still go shopping on black Friday with my daughters, but since the bulk of the shopping is done, and since there is that attitude shift, there isn’t the same temptation to buy unnecessary things.
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When my list is fulfilled, I stop shopping. I stay out of Target, the mall, or other shopping establishments I don’t need to be in. The shopping circulars that come with the Sunday paper don’t get opened. I have to admit that I did fall victim to an unnecessary purchase just the other day. Christina asked for a Too Faced makeup set from Ulta. Since they didn’t have it on black Friday, I stopped by an Ulta close to my office instead. They also didn’t have it, but they did have a great price on a 4 piece set of Fresh Cream by Philosophy. Yes, I bought it. Next time, I’ll call Ulta to see if they have the Too Faced set before I head over. Checking its availability online isn’t a bad idea either. Also, I need some tree lights. There is no way Target is in my future right now!
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While it’s fun to receive gifts and fun to buy gifts, it’s more fun and satisfying to
spend time with and do things with my favorite people. Give gifts that involve experiences, not material things. There are restaurant gift cards, movie tickets, theme park tickets (a big one here in Florida), trips, and so much more. My husband will be getting some concert tickets this Christmas that he is going to LOVE. Of course, the time we spend with our loved ones taking walks, talking, cooking, and just being together is really what it’s all about.
I hope everyone enjoys this special time with their loved ones and has a blessed and peaceful season.
Please let me know your tips for maintaining spending sanity this time of year!
Lisa is a mother of three lovely young women and is a new grandmother to a baby boy! She has been married to her high school sweetheart for more than thirty years. Lisa is originally from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, but has lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1984. Running a small business for over 25 years and raising a family has made for a busy, busy life with many ups and downs; it’s definitely been an adventure.
Lisa’s always involved in one project or another whether it’s work related or serving her community. She also recently went back to school to finish her bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Lisa tries to make every day a good day—that means learning something new, practicing kindness, and enjoying the present moment.