How To Not Overspend During the Holidays

I'm a sucker for holiday shopping. I want ALL the things, and I want to buy my friends and family ALL the things! This year I've decided to put my foot down when it comes to overspending, and I'm sharing my tips on how to do it!

When it comes to holiday decor I would love to make my house more cozy and festive, but I have to ask myself a few questions. 1. Do I have the money for it? 2. Do I need it? 3. Where will I store it? I mean who doesn't want a comfy flannel throw blanket, holiday pillows, festive candles and numerous Christmas trees and all the trimmings? I wouldn't mind having a tree in every room! I do think it's OK to buy holiday decorations, but be intentional about each purchase. I simply don't have enough storage to have more than a few boxes of Christmas decorations (my attic is my only storage) so that helps limit my intake. If you need a storage unit to store your decorations, well you might need to reconsider ; ).

If you are looking at your Christmas tree and hate it, instead of buying a new one in November/December, plan ahead and write down all you need to create your ideal tree. Ribbon, tree skirt, ornaments, tree topper, garland, and a tree. Find a retailer that has the items you want and then WAIT till AFTER Christmas to purchase them. You will be able to buy them for a steal, and then next year you are all set! Donate your old decor. I always buy next year's wrapping paper, gift tags and gift boxes the day after Christmas.

Set a specific budget of you want to spend on each friend and family member or an overall lump sum and stick to it. Even better if you can set this budget early in the year so you can save this amount all year rather than waiting till December and going broke! Christmas comes the same time every year so it shouldn't sneak up on you ; ). When it comes to my kids I usually purchase one big toy (likely has wheels on it), and then 4-5 gifts made up of toys and clothes. For teacher gifts and family I set a budget of $25-$50 per person. Write down everyone you want to purchase a gift for and your spending limit. It adds up quick, especially if you have a big family. My family and I started drawing names a few years back to save money, and it's great! Our gatherings aren't about the gifts but about the quality time together. We aren't stressed because we didn't break the bank. We play the Saran Wrap Ball Game instead and it's SO much fun!  

Also if you have kids and know the grandparents will be spoiling them, make a list they can shop from. I make an Amazon wishlist for my kids and I send each grandparent the link. It will take some pressure off of your budget, and the kids won't be flooded with toys from both sides.

Walking in to a store with Christmas music playing, the scent of a gingerbread candle filling up the room, and twinkly lights brightening the space immediately puts me in a happy mood which makes me more likely to make a purchase. I'm the type of person that actually likes to shop in person, but the more places I go the more I will find and ultimately buy. Create a list of the items you want to purchase and buy them online. Online shopping is not fun for me, but it gets the job done. It also saves time and gas. I have a Christmas list on Amazon for my kids, and then in a note on my phone and desktop I list out the gifts I will be buying for family. 

If you struggle with the Target dollar section, stop going in to Target. Shop at another retailer that doesn't pull you in (they do it so well at Target). Try trading off a shopping trip with a holiday activity that doesn't cost much like baking cookies or watching Christmas Vacation while drinking hot chocolate. CLARK??!!!

It's easy to get sucked in to buying the cute and colorful trinkets (stay away from end aisles), especially when shopping for kids. DON'T DO IT! Stop buying plastic junk your kids will lose in about 2.5 seconds after they rip open the wrapping paper. Don't get me wrong, we definitely have plastic toys in our home and more hot wheels than I care to count, however when buying gifts think bigger picture. Do you see your child or family member using what you are buying for them for years to come? Does it hold meaning and value? I often think about the money I spend on the small items and how much it adds up to, and instead I could take that money and buy one really awesome gift! 

Photos by Madeline Harper 

I hope this post encourages you to spend wisely this holiday season! Enjoy shopping but be conscious of every purchase. Ask yourself, Do you or your kids NEED it, LOVE it, WANT it, or LIKE it? What does your holiday shopping look like this year?

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