Christmas is the most beautiful time of year. For many, however, it’s also the most stressful. How can you have a great Christmas without breaking the bank?
1. Set a Budget – This is the most obvious but the most important thing you can do at Christmas. Don’t just set a budget, however. Set a budget that you can afford. Then stick to that budget.
Sometimes, you might feel pressure from other people to spend more than you can afford to spend. I was once told that it was selfish not to buy expensive gifts, even though things were tight. It’s important to stick to your budget no matter how much pressure you feel. Never forget that Christmas is a time to celebrate our Savior, not a time to get into debt.
2. Pray over your budget – It might sound strange, but I often pray over our budget. After all, God cares about every little detail of our lives.
Last Christmas, my husband had recently lost his job and things were really tight. I prayed hard that God would stretch the $30 that I had for my husband’s gift. As I prayed, I felt in my heart that God really wanted to bless my husband. Sure enough, that small amount of money filled up a stocking and got him a waterproof camping Bible, a book, and two CDs that were on his music wish list. I’m not sure who was more excited on Christmas morning!
Believe me, it’s a lot of fun to watch God stretch a budget.
3. Use your Points – I shamelessly cash in my rewards cards at Christmas time. For example, most of my gifts for my kids this year were “purchased” with diaper points. Translation? They were free.
Canadian Tire money, Huggies and Pampers points, Disney reward points and Swagbucks are all great rewards programs to cash in on around Christmas time. I’ve even shamelessly used Pioneer points to “purchase” chocolate bars at the gas station to use as stocking stuffers.
Just a note: Some places require 6-8 weeks shipping time, so plan ahead!
4. Shop for Bargains – There is nothing as fun as a great sale! Keep an eye out for clearance items and for stores that are going out of business. Use coupons whenever you can. It pays to shop smart!
5. What’s in Your Hand? – Time is the most precious gift of all. Isn’t it so touching when someone takes the time to carefully and lovingly create a gift just for you?
Pinterest provides a wealth of inspiration for home-made gifts! Last year, I made oatmeal soap for women in the family. This year, I’m crocheting scarves. My toddler and I have also made a huge box of fire-starters for my in-laws to use in their fireplace. We’re making hand-print ornaments for the great-grandparents and baking several different kinds of cookies and treats to give away.
DTLK has some great printable coupons for children to give to their parents. But really, you can make custom coupons to give to anyone. If you’re good at cooking, then give someone a coupon for a home-cooked meal (Oh how I would love to get a coupon like that!). If you are good at fixing cars, give someone a coupon for a free tune up. There is no end to the possibilities.
What’s in your hand? Whatever you are able to do, find a way to use it.
6. Maintain focus – Ultimately, Christmas is not about the presents we give. It is a time to celebrate One who was born in a stable, surrounded by animals because people could not make room for Him. He slept in a feeding trough, wrapped in cloths to protect him from the hay. He came in the most humble of circumstances because He was driven by intense love for mankind. He is the most precious gift of all – Jesus Christ.
Let’s never forget that He is the reason for Christmas.