How’s sticking to the budget going? How many times have you been tempted to overspend or felt pressured to buy something you didn’t plan for?
Last week, I gave tips on creating a Christmas budget. Be sure to check out the budget template at the bottom of last week’s post!
This week, I want to provide quick concepts to help stick to the budget when the going gets tough. Let’s get to it!
3 Tips to Stick to Your Budget:
1. Rethink Traditions and Overindulging:
How can you make current traditions more affordable? Can you exchange names vs. purchasing gifts for multiple people? Spend $0 on new decorations and use what you already have? Do you really need 6 pies for 8 people?
Got kids and can’t imagine spending less? What can you do to fill in the gap with special memories (playing games, crafts, going to festivals, driving around to find lights, etc.)? I recommend “bringing them along” and explaining why you’re spending less.
I so appreciate my parents teaching me about a budget at a young age. Some years we did less at Christmas than others. We always understood, and I have good memories of every Christmas. I think explaining to your kids why you’re changing your spending habits will help prepare them to make wise financial decisions as adults.
Here’s some ideas to rethink traditions and trim back:
- Make lattes at home or spruce up your coffee with festive creamer.
- Got a Christmas party to dress up for? Get creative and spend nothing or less than $10.
- Send Christmas cards via email and/or on social media.
- If you have young kids, re-give a gift they’ve forgotten about. Or maybe they have grandparents that will be giving them plenty. 😉
2. Renew Your Mind:
Remind yourself: “I’m doing this because _____________ …“ (I want to be free from debt; I want to create financial margin; I want to be aware of how much resources I’m spending and be a good steward).
Remember: we spend ~$1 trillion as a nation this time of year. Between commercials that compare you to your neighbor, movies that make the holidays look picture perfect, and peer pressure and comparison of others, we’ll definitely be tempted to spend a lot of money. Have a game plan and stick to what’s “healthy” for you.
Keep an eye on what you’re putting in your cart before spending. Did you budget for it? If not, what’s at the root of the purchase? Did you get caught up in the marketing to make you want it? Or is it something extra special for a loved one? Does it fit within your budget? If not, where will the money come from?
3. Avoid Credit at All Costs:
I repeat. Avoid credit at all costs (pun intended!). What gift is worth going in debt over? What could you do to give a sweet gift, or cut spending in other areas to be able to afford the gift and avoid paying high interest on debt?
You can do it! Stay in the fight!