Anyways, it felt like Black Friday was the perfect time for us all to have a little chat about Christmas and it's crowded shopping malls, overspending and January denial....
I'm kidding, mostly, and I am in no way above all of those things, so there's zero judgment here! Up here in Canada, we don't take Black Friday nearly as seriously as our Southern neighbours. But hey, you do you America...we'll just chill up here in the great white North with our polar bears, not so controversial politicians and add extra letters to words. Off topic, let's get back to it. I'm not here to tell you to stay away from Black Friday sales, in fact, I think it's a good time to sift through the sales and buy those gifts you are going to be buying anyways. Just make sure you stick to your Christmas list and aren't buying crap just because it's on sale. I actually checked the bf off my shopping list this morning by picking up his much desired Nespresso machine at a great price on Amazon. He was also given a not so subtle hint about a low price on a robot vacuum that would make me very happy on Christmas morning...because I'm old and a vacuum is where it's at.
I love everything about Christmas; the decorating, the parties, the gift giving, the gift getting, the food...so good. But to save yourself from the January hangover it's important to keep yourself organized, stick to a strict budget and don't get carried away with the season. There are plenty of ways to show people you care without having to splurge on expensive gifts. A small token, a coffee date or even a sweet card will often be more meaningful to your friends and family that that hot ticket item. I find this is more and more true the older I get because I really just don't need that much stuff. My preference would almost always be a nice dinner out or tickets to a show instead of a new outfit I likely won't wear or another kitchen gadget to clutter up the counter.
My two non-negotiable rules for the festive season are:
- Make a REASONABLE budget. Don't short change yourself and make it impossible to stick to but know your limit and let your frugal side rule.
- No do-overs! Your budget is set, and stone and there are no exceptions based on the adorableness of that ornament.
If you haven't made a Christmas budget yet then go do that now...I'll wait right here :) Then add up any purchases you've already made and let's hope you're not already in the red and have to sell your cat. Rules are rules! Now that you've got a spreadsheet running your life you'll be able to knock off those last few Christmas gifts and enjoy that post-shopping bliss.
Instead of falling for the materialism of Christmas let's remember what it's really about...spending time with your loved ones and eating all the food ;) There's no need to be the house with the most Christmas lights, or the tree with the most presents, or the person with the fanciest dress at the office party. Make your own traditions that don't cost a dime, and you'll find yourself more content and less stressed out when December 25th comes around.
If you're looking for a few ways to reduce your Christmas budget, you can check out my '10 Tips for a Money Savvy Christmas' post from a few weeks ago.