Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sticking to a Budget this Christmas. Wee. Woo.

Budgeting. I don't know about you but just the mere mention of that word makes me want to karate kick things and eat copious amounts of chocolate. I hate that word. Why? Because I enjoy spending money--der. Giving gifts is a love language of mine. It's how I show love--I give things to people. So Christmas time? Is the time of year that I spend ALL OF OUR MONEY and send warm, fuzzy, candy cane scented love gifts to everyone. It's a time of magic, glitter, and twinkling eyes. It's so hard for me to reign in the reckless abandonment that I have because Christmas! jingle bells! happiness! children!

Our experience with Dave Ramsey and his class Financial Peace University has taught me that sticking to a workable budget will get you out of debt and create a peace in your daily life that living with my money--to-the-wind tendencies will. not. Eleven months out of the year it isn't that  hard for me to stay on point. However when December rolls around I blow it. Big time.

If I stick to a budget I will avoid the after Christmas guilt of knowing that I put our family in a position that makes things tight.

If I stick to a budget I will make my husband happy. Budgets make his heart sing.

If I stick to a budget I will be proving to myself that holidays can be happy even if you don't spend all your money.

So how can I ( and maybe you too)  resolve to sticking with our budget this Christmas? 
Cash Envelopes
This year we sat down and wrote out an exact budget for each person we'd like to purchase gifts for. In the past this was more of a guideline rather than an end all be all. This year, we really need to be strict with it. So to curb my over spending tendencies we withdrew the exact amount for each person and placed it in an envelope with the receivers name on it. Yup, currently carting 13 envelopes around town #mommysizedpurseforthewin. This will prevent me from going over budget. The only way I would be able to would be dipping into someone else's gift envelope. How terrible would that be!? Sorry for the $5 gift honey.....

24 Hour Wait Period
Something happens to me when I get in the gift giving mood. I lose all sense of reason and tend to fill my bag with everything that my loved ones will love. I do this because Christmas! Glitter! Music! Candy Canes! SALE! Clearance! BOGO! Ah! Happy!  I'm a marketing dream because those shenanigans totally work with me. We talked about ways to curb this without stealing my Christmas Sunshine and came up with a plan for me not to purchase impulsive gifts immediately. Think on them for 24 hours first and if after time has passed it still would be the MOST! PERFECT! GIFT! EVER! then game on friends. Game on. I'm thinking this will help a great deal once the popcorn scent and jingle bell music is out of my head.

Avoid Guilt Add-Ons
I have a Christmas fairness police that's been hard wired into me. Christmas gifts MUST be of equal price and quality for a holiday to be successful. I get holiday gift giver anxiety over it (me, anxious?!come on now!).  It always results in me wanting to give MORE because I'd rather be the giver that spent too much, than the one that didn't spent enough. So hours and minutes before I know an exchange will take place I often run for a "quick trip" and pick up random things to UP the gift.  This means I'm spending more money and derailing the budget. again. This one I just need to stop cold turkey.

I hoping these three things will help me stay on budget this Christmas. What strategies do you use to keep on track? Mind sharing with me? I'd say I need an intervention.

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