Practical Budgeting Tips

Creating an Intentional Christmas Budget -Part 1 of 4

OK, team, we’re approaching a wonderful time of year. Lots of traditions, seasonal lattes, scarves, boots, decor, and all the feels. Christmas budget, blog

But we need to be ready. We’re going into a season where we spend approximately $1 trillion on Christmas as a nation. A nation that is in roughly $20 trillion in debt (hmmm…).


We’ll be marketed to like crazy. “You’ve got to have the beautiful tree, awesome decor, gifts, and more gifts.” We’ll likely feel pressured and might get caught up in this whirlwind.

We need a game plan.

Check out these statistics on Christmas spending:

  • “In a recent survey, 56% of Americans admitted they’re planning to rack up debt this season, 16% of which expect it to take six months or more to pay off.”


  • “…data confirms that parents are spending an average of $422 per child on holiday gifts, with 34% of parents spending $500 or more per child.”


  • “An estimated 25% are taking drastic measures such as withdrawing money from their 401(k)s, dipping into their emergency savings, or taking out payday loans in order to purchase holiday gifts.”


  • “And while a fair number of parents understand the importance of creating a holiday budget, a good 58% of families fail to actually stick to one.”


These trends are pretty crazy, right? More than half our country plans to take on debt.

Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays. However, I can be disappointed when it’s all over because our culture, memories, and the Christmas movies we watch build our expectations so high it can be hard to make them a reality.

I try to battle all the pressure with thinking through what’s special to my family of two. To date, Drew and I have spent about $50-75 on each other/year, while focusing on the memories we want to make. We’ve yet to buy a Christmas tree and barely decorate, but we’ve done small things that were special to us.

These decisions were primarily made while we were paying off loans, but it’s taught us to evaluate what’s important to us and how much we want to spend based on our priorities. This year we may actually purchase a tree, but it’s been refreshing to wait and see what’s special to us versus feeling pressured to do something.

Here’s my encouragement: get ready for the battle against consumerism and the hustle and bustle that takes away from the meaning of Christmas. Start thinking about what you can afford (based on your budget) and have a game plan before you take on Amazon or the beautifully decorated malls that have spent tons to get you to spend more.


We’ve got to prepare and be ready to fight. Otherwise “they’ll” win.

Stay tuned for my post in 2 weeks, part 2 of this 4 part series. I’ll share practical tips around creating and sticking to a budget for Christmas.

In the meantime, think through how much you typically spend for Christmas. What can you change to avoid debt or prevent spending more than you can afford? Where can you begin saving to prepare (i.e. eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.)?

If you have the money in your budget, what’s reasonable? Do your Christmas expectations and what you’re willing to spend align with your priorities (i.e. financial goals, vision for your life, giving)? How could you make special memories without the overload?

May we pursue true joy in Christmas this year! ❤


Faith and Financial Resources

3 Scary Statistics that Point to Our Serious Money Problems

3 scary stats that point to our money probsEver wonder how much debt and/or savings most Americans have? My curious mind couldn’t help think about this, so I went on a research “adventure” to learn more. Today I’m highlighting 3 scary statistics that point to the serious money problems in our society.

My hope is by shedding light on these issues, we’re all more motivated to fight consumerism, have a plan for our money, and encouraged to “swim upstream” in a culture who tells us we should live outside of our means.

So here’s what you’ve been waiting for…

Scary Statistic #1: average household debt

Check out each category below. Did you know the average household owes over $15k in credit card debt, alone?

household debt pic

Main Source ; Other Source

Scary Statistic #2: zero savings and no emergency fund

Shocked that 49% said they don’t have a savings account or have $0 saved??

savings and ER Fund pic

While the majority of us have thousands of dollars in debt, many don’t have a savings account or an emergency fund (often defined as 3-6 months living expenses). So while we’re indebted to someone else, we don’t have much of a cushion for ourselves.

I’m convinced even if someone’s on a tight budget, most of us could save for an emergency fund if we’re intentional about it.

Main Source; Other Source

Scary Statistic #3: car debt

car keys

“Today, outstanding vehicle loans add up to more than $1 trillion, with the average consumer carrying $12,000 of auto loan debt. The total student loan debt of the country stands at $1.3 trillion, not that much higher.”


These facts are bad, right? I don’t share this to depress you, but to highlight the problem many are facing. We live in a culture where it’s normal to spend more than we make and not plan for the future.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Luke 14:28

I think the information above is true because we compare ourselves to others, feel discontent, and make unwise purchases. I also believe we live in a “you deserve it” influence. The question as to whether you can afford it goes out the window if you “deserve” something.

So what if we got “weird” and crazy about paying off debt, using wisdom in purchases and savings, and started fighting the trend?

What if we bought a less expensive home than the loan amount we’re approved for?

What if we drove an older vehicle that cost less than the car dealer approved?

What if we cut way back on purchases that aren’t needs and tackled our debt or saved for the future?

What if we did all of this so we could be more generous?

Just because living outside of our means has become so normal doesn’t mean it has to stay this way.

My vision for this blog is to create awareness of our spending habits and an area where like-minded individuals (you and me) can encourage each other to view our resources differently. I hope to partake in the movement of thinking and living differently and ultimately impacting God’s Kingdom because of it.


Peace and joy!

Em ❤


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