5 Ways to Avoid Overspending during Christmas

5 ways to avoid overspending during Christmas: Learn simple, practical tips when you're shopping, and make more memories this holiday season.

Christmas is meant to be a main course of memories with a side of gifts, not a main course of gifts with a side of memories.

If you have any desire to downgrade your gifts to a side dish and find some ways to avoid overspending during Christmas – I can help you out! You can have a practical strategy for sticking with your spending plan so that you wake up with zero regrets in January when your credit card statement is delivered.

You with me?  

Christmas shopping used to look like pretty different

Do you remember when we went to stores to purchase Christmas gifts?  

It wasn’t that long ago, really.  I’m afraid my kids aren’t really going to get to experience “Christmas Shopping” THE EVENT, like I remember.

  • When I was a kid, my Dad would make a trip to the store to buy gifts for my Mom (because Moms are pretty much always in charge of gifts for the kids) and then bring them home and ask me to wrap them.  Sorry about the shoddy wrap job Mom.
  • My Mom would start her Christmas shopping in July whenever there was a bluelight special.
  • My Uncle Dan faithfully went out on Christmas Eve every year, and not a moment before.

What do we do?  We add to the cart in an online shop, maybe pick up a gift card, or on the rare occasion, head to a store with a quick drive thru Starbucks for a white peppermint mocha first.

It’s the experience that I miss most!  The hunting for the right gift, the bags and the wrap, the hustle and the bustle.  Or..maybe it’s the idea of it that I miss most.

These days we spend the week after Thanksgiving vacationing most years.  Delay the hustle, forgo most of the bustle, and skip getting our kids gifts altogether.  If you’re interested in a game plan for that, check out the free Calendar Adventure guide below. 

P.S. It’s their FAVORITE gift/non-gift that they get, and ours too.

Okay, we still have other shopping to do – and you do too.  Yes, there are some ways to avoid overspending during Christmas, so here is your strategy for staying on budget this year!

Your Holiday Shopping Strategy

5 ways to avoid overspending during Christmas, so you can actually enjoy the season.

  1. Make a list.  Check it twice.

Just like Santa, I want you to make your list, and check it twice.  List everyone you typically buy for, would like to buy for, and might feel obligated to buy for.

  1. Edit your list.

Whether they’ve been naughty or nice…you need to edit the list.  Let go of any feelings of obligation, ignore who your sister buys for, and for goodness sake, your grandmother doesn’t need anything more than an updated picture of your family!

You should now be left with people that make your heart smile, that you want to give a token of your love and appreciation to.  If they don’t make your heart smile – cross them off the list.  You will not be damned to hell, or kicked out of Christmas.  Do what feels right to you…not anyone else (it really is that simple).

  1. Add yourself to the list.

You read that right.  Let’s just call it out.  You see stuff that you want too.  And…you buy it.  Let’s be realistic and add your name to the list.  This way, you can give yourself permission to spend a bit on yourself – because we both know it was going to happen anyway.

  1. Decide how much you’re going to spend on gifts this year.

If you have already set money aside for the holidays (kudos!) you know how much you have to spend.  If you didn’t – you need to decide your amount, and how you’ll fund it.  Savings? Credit card?  (No judgement…just make a decision.)

Now, take that dollar amount and assign everyone on your list an amount. It doesn’t have to be equal, and it may take a few reiterations to get to your goal amount. In fact, it may mean that you cross Aunt Susie off the list altogether. She can still be your favorite Aunt, I promise.

This may be the point that you want to get creative. Call up your siblings and make a vow to stick to a $____ gift this year. Or better yet, draw names from a hat, or do that between the cousins. Or both.

P.S. I much prefer for you to make a plan for your holiday spending in advance!

January is coming up soon, so if you don’t already plan ahead for the holidays, make it a goal to do so in the new year.  Start saving $___ each month to put in your holiday savings fund.  $25 per month will get you $300.  $50 will save you $600 and $100 will buy you $1,200 in holiday goodies.

  1. Stick to your budget.

Last but not least..do what you said you would!  Stick to your budgeted amount for gifts. Sure, if you get a killer deal on Bailey’s gift then you can spend extra on Josh’s gift.  But, make sure to stick to your overall gift spending plan.  You can do it!

You actually can spend wisely with the right plan in place, and make memories this holiday season.

Wrap up your thoughtfully procured gifts with a cup of eggnog or hot cocoa with schnapps.  Yell at Alexa to play Bing Crosby and have yourself a merry little Christmas…(you’re singing it too, right?!)

Wake up in January with no regrets about going overboard, spending too much, or dreading your credit card statement.

Admit it, you will have had JUST as much if not MORE fun this holiday season focusing on the memory making more than the gift shopping, splurging, and spending.

What does our family do?

You already know what we do for the girls. If you want to read more about the history of how all that came about and what we’ve done check out this post called Calendar Adventures and another version here as well.

Our family now skips adult gifts altogether….although I’m still working on my in-laws! 😉

My siblings and their spouses get to enjoy each other’s company and watch the kids open gifts, eat too many cookies, and play in the snow.  The cousins draw names and get involved in picking out a gift in secret (only revealed on Christmas day, which is a large part of the fun). This also allows us to spend more money on that one gift – instead of buying for the whole crew of 5.

We purchase a large canvas print of an updated family photo for my parents every year. This is my Mom’s only request…and the push that I need to do annual family photos.

James and I choose a vacation instead of a gift!  Randomly, I’ve seen a larger stocking surprise than others – but by and large, we enjoy travel and put our money there instead.

Our ‘savings’ on gifts allows us to be generous and sponsor a family for Christmas from a local family shelter. This year, we have a single Mom and her young son that we’ll be spoiling. 

This 2021 holiday season-how will it look for you?

I want to know-how will you ensure that this season will be memory making as the main course?

I hope these 5 ways to avoid overspending during Christmas were beneficial for you, and that you will implement them!

Much love to you and yours this Christmas season-I hope it is very merry and bright.

Thank you for joining me on my my journey to influence.

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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