December is by far the most difficult month of the year to stay within a budget.
We’ve all been there; things are tight and the goal was to keep Christmas presents under control, but it’s just so cute!
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you try to stay under budget this Christmas.
- Financial security is better for your family than any gift
- Buying something on sale is still buying something
- Christmas isn’t all about gifts no matter your religious tradition
Financial security is better for your family than any gift
There’s an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information with some interesting findings on family finance.
“Economic hardship led to economic pressure which was associated with parental emotional distress and couple conflict. This conflict was associated with harsh parenting and child problem behavior.”
I’m not saying that buying a single toy will throw your family into ruin. I’m just saying that it’s well worth staying as far from financial hardship as possible.
Why do we buy gifts for our families? To show that we love them, right? If buying a gift would put you anywhere near the line of financial hardship, then show your love by leaving it on the shelf.
Buying something on sale is still buying something
News flash, when you buy something for $20 usually costs $30, you’re not saving $10 — you’re spending $20.
I know this idea is intuitive, but this time of year there are so many sales that it can be hard to resist the urge to buy.
I don’t care how good the deal is, if an item is not on your budget, you don’t need it.
When you set your budget, you weren’t deciding how much money you could spend on full-priced items. You were deciding how much money you could spend, period.
Put up a mental block against the allure of the “Sale” sign. Look for great deals on items that fall within your budget, but don’t think you’re saving money when you buy something outside your budget even if it’s on sale.
Christmas isn’t all about gifts no matter your religious tradition
No matter where you fall on the religious spectrum, the Christmas season is a wonderful time of year. It’s a time to serve others, be with family, and enjoy some emotional warmth through cold December days.
If you didn’t catch it, none of those things require expensive gifts.
As you go through the Christmas season, remember why you’re celebrating, and focus your attention there, not on presents.
If you’re celebrating family, then be with them! If service is part of your celebration, then give time, not gifts.
There are infinite ways to find fulfillment during this season, but spending more than your budget allows is not one of them.
If you can focus on trying to be happy rather than buy happiness, then you’ll find true satisfaction this Christmas season, and your bank account will thank you for it in January.