The Christmas season has officially arrived! We have begun highlighting deals in earnest (starting with Black Friday) and if you’re not careful, you could blow a serious wad of cash.
One of my primary goals with this blog is to help each of you save money so you can meet your family’s financial goals. There’s always a small pit in my stomach as I share a really good deal, especially an online one, because I don’t want to be responsible for encouraging you to overspend or to spend impulsively. I want all of us to be intentional spenders.
In an effort to help you get through the Christmas deal frenzy, I strongly encourage each of you to prepare (and myself, too) to have an intentionally spent Christmas — a time when you spend wisely and avoid buying stuff no one needs just because it is a “deal.”
1. Figure out what type of Christmas you want for your family.
What do you want to experience? What do you want your house to feel like? What purpose will the gifts serve?
For instance, I am determined to be intentional with how we spend the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day this year. I often get to a few days before Christmas and think, “We didn’t do anything special again this year.”
2. Figure out how much money you have available to spend on Christmas.
And not just the gifts — factor in the experiences, decorations and events. Please, please, please don’t set an amount based on what you expect, what others expect or what you think others expect. Look in your bank account. How much can you responsibly devote to Christmas this year?
If you live on the envelope system, this will be an easier task. All I have to do is look in my “Gifts” and “Family” envelope to know how much we will be spending over the next five weeks. And it’s super helpful that we have been saving and preparing all year long.
Then divide that amount among the different “things” you could spend money on during the Christmas season. Do you always see a Christmas movie during December? Set that amount aside. Do you plan to bake a bunch? Set that amount aside, also.
3. Figure out your gift list.
Who will be receiving a gift from your family this year and what do you plan to buy them (or how much can you allocate to each person)?
I’ll never forget walking through Toys ‘R Us with my mom a few years ago (it was nearing midnight on Thanksgiving — we’re hard core) and watching a woman pick up a $13 item and say to her husband, “I don’t know who to give this to, but it’s only $13 and will be a nice filler gift.” In my world, $13 can be used for something other than a gift that is given with no intent and will probably be discarded by the recipient.
By creating a list, I can now spend intentionally. When a deal arises, I can make sure it is actually being purchased for a person and that the amount fits within my budget. This will help me pass on many, many deals and thereby save money. Because, as Kari from KariPatterson.com told us, the only real way to save money is to not spend it.
Check out our great list of gift guides if you need some inspiration. The gifts have been hand-picked with the hope that people will enjoy them to the fullest. We also have a great list of toys and gifts for kids that WILL ACTUALLY BE USED. These have been tried, tested, loved and loved again by our kids and won’t just get thrown away after a few days.
Remember, not every deal we post over the next month will be of value to you, but it may help another reader save money on something they were already planning to purchase.
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