A few weeks after the holidays had come and gone, I finally sat down and looked at the aftermath that emotional spending and people pleasing had taken on our bank account.
Holy fin' shit.
We spent how much ??! ?!!
I counted everything.
The atm fees for the times I was too lazy to go to the bank and take out money.
Last minute gifts and no game plan.
For everyone we knew. ( That is crazy !!! )
Buying a ridiculous volume of gifts, overspending because of expectation and trying to impress.
I am vowing that this holiday season will be different.
This year, I've got my budget and a game plan.
Do you ?
Here is how to help your bank account ( and yourself ) survive Christmas spending.
1. Create a budget.
I'm serious. This is the biggest and most important part of the puzzle. If you are living your day to day without one and always feel like you are behind this is why.
Here is a spreadsheet I created in Google Sheets. You can download it here. ( Go to "FILE" and "MAKE A COPY". Any changes you make will be seen by all if you don't ).
Create a income column and a debt column.
Next, make sure all of your monthly bills are covered and upcoming expenses (ie. annual payments).
Don't forget to add in due dates and when you plan to pay each bill.
Once you have a good idea on the amount of money left over, you can begin to think about spending money on xmas.
Don't have any left over ? Check out diy and give your time.
2. Write down who you have to buy for and how much you are spending.
I think this was the hardest part for me. The thought of not buying someone a Christmas gift.
***Make sure that you are clear with these people so that they also know not to buy you anything.
I use Google docs and create the list with the amounts. Then I make sure I share it with my husband so we are on the same page.
Make sure you stick to your "guns". Don't let pressure from anyone cause you to stray from your budget / plan. You'll end up feeling guilty / stressed / anxious / and straight up angry and resentful .
3. Get creative with what you are gifting.
With the way the economy is lately, I focus on buying local and from small businesses first.
Check out your surrounding neighborhoods for your gifting needs. You may find the perfect couch blanket or mittens made by a local artist.
Talk with your entrepreneur friends and support them by gifting their services. I'm giving 5 coaching sessions to a few women in need who normally couldn't afford to invest in themselves.
There are tonnes of free or diy gifts you can make for little or no money. Check out 100 Handmade Gifts Under $5 , 15 Christmas Gifts That Aren't Cheesy ,or Arm Knitting 30 Minutes Infinity Scarf (I'm trying this one now )
4. Save money on wrapping paper.
This stuff can add up and think of the landfills. My tip is to use whatever you have around.
5. Keep track of your spending along the way.
Write that shit down. I make sure I update my google doc as I buy.
6. Celebrate yourself for taking control of your finances this year.
I'm all about celebrating the little things. And this is a big one.
When you are in control of your $$, then you are in control of your life. You are empowered.
I know many women ( I used to be one ) that defined my worth by the pennies left in my bank account.
What tricks do you have to save money this holiday season ? Share in the comments, I'm dying to know. I love saving money !