This Christmas season has felt….. different. Anyone else?
Every year we try to keep our holiday budget tight without sacrificing the things we value most. This year, between changes in our household income and rising costs we’ve had to be extra tight with spending. And, thankfully, we were able to do that with some creative solutions (I’ll explain more in a below).
Let me break it down into a handful of spending categories:
As much as we wanted to travel this year, as a family of 5 this can be a big chunk of the overall Holiday spending so we decided to skip traveling this year and stay close to home.
Total spent on travel : $0
As I sit here writing this, we haven’t entered our kids’ Winter break which I know will bring about some extra expenses if we want to do things outside of the home so, while we haven’t spent anything yet, I’m setting aside $100 for us to use during the break.
Up until this point we’ve taken advantage of all the free things available in our community. We’ve done multiple Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and parades, we’ve gone to various neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights, and we have our eye on a local events calendar for more free things we can do as a family together these next few weeks.
Total spent on experiences: $100
This year we attended a handful of friend and neighborhood parties. They all happened to be potluck style so, while we did bring a dish to share, we also were able to enjoy the other dishes everyone brought. So this year we were able to avoid extra expenses holiday parties can bring.
Total spent on parties: $0
*Before I share what we spent, it’s important to note a few things. In addition to my profit, I earned points for my sales in my direct selling business that I could use to shop in an online store. I chose to use points to shop for gifts for nieces and nephews. Plus, I got a part time seasonal retail job and was able to use my employee discount to buy some gifts and stocking stuffers at a really great price. I realize not everyone would be able to duplicate this. If anything I hope it helps you think outside the box on ways you can get creative next year.
- Nieces and Nephews: Most were either free using points or inexpensive using my employee discount. I was able to get some Melissa and Doug toys, pajamas, slippers, craft sets and books and I only came out of pocket $44
- Christmas Eve gifts: We have a tradition every year where each of our kids gets to open a gift that contains Christmas pajamas, a Christmas book, and an ornament. Someone was giving away Christmas books on facebook marketplace so I got those for free, I got the ornaments on sale, and I used my employee discount to get the PJs at a great price so for all 3 kids this totaled $25
- Stockings: For all 3 kids their stockings came to $72
- Gifts for our Kids: For our youngest, I stockpiled hand-me-downs all year so I didn’t end up spending anything for her. For our older kids, we tried to get a couple things from their lists, plus some things we knew they needed (clothing items or shoes) so all together this totaled $237
- Other: This included teacher gifts and a couple other little gifts we gave for a total of $36
Total spent on gifts: $414
Grand total for all holiday spending: $514
Every family is different. Some of you may have spent much more, or much less. This is just what worked for us this year.
If this year didn’t go as planned for you, maybe you went way over budget and put a bunch on credit cards, or maybe you are frustrated with how tight you had to be, the good news is next year can look entirely different for you. If you want to feel like your spending is on track with the goals that you have for 2024, you may want to consider the January round of my Overflow Program.
To save time and see if it’s a good fit, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on instagram @moneymindfulmoms
Wishing you a beautiful holiday season!