In the midst of the holiday pressures, I wanted to make sure that you don’t start the upcoming year in a bad, indebted way.
Christmas can be that time of year that just gets people into a complete frenzy and sometimes cause more anxiety and financial stress than it’s worth. We forget what this time is truly supposed to be about and get caught up on the “things” rather than the person we’re celebrating and that person is Jesus. Some people are pushing their household expenses aside and spending much needed money just to satisfy one day.
Even though Christmas is exactly a week away, I am quite positive that EVERYONE has not completed their Christmas shopping, I’d even bet some money that there are some of you reading this RIGHT now that haven’t even started. If you are a part of either one of those groups then YES! I’m not too late. Last Sunday, my Pastor preached a sermon and titled it “Don’t go broke trying to be a Blessing: Avoiding the Spirit of Christmas debt.” The word was RIGHT ON TIME!!! He began to share with us that there are two spirits in competition for our attention: The Spirit of Christ(Mission and Salvation) and The Spirit of Christmas (Merchandise and Sales).
The sermon was so on time for me because I too once got caught up in the Spirit of Christmas and focused on wanting my family to have a “good Christmas” then, after it was all said and done and Christmas was over, I was reaping the negative financial consequences from my failure to be more responsible with my spending.
Although, I have a new mindset and a better understanding about the real purpose behind Christmas, I also know that there are still many of us that have that “I want my family to have a good Christmas by any means necessary mindset” I want to share a few tips that will speak to both your mindset and your pockets on how NOT to go broke this Christmas holiday. Here are some practical tips on how you can save yourself some money and sanity this Christmas. Some might seem simple, but just a little reminder that sometimes it’s not all about what you’re giving, but the love and heart that goes behind it!
1. It’s Only ONE Day - This is probably the most important thing to remember (If you don’t remember anything else (but remember lol). Keep in mind that this is only one day and that your kids (nor your spouse) need everything that they’ve asked for and desire at this time. You don’t need to buy EVERY single thing they’ve asked for in order for the day to be great and you DON’T need to feel guilty about it either.
2. Get out Early - If you are insistent on buying gifts, be sure to get out early to catch some of the sales. You may run into some things at discounted prices.
3. Shop Online - I love shopping online, in fact,I did all my Christmas shopping online at one store (That’ll be my next blog).Shopping online for products is a good idea because you can budget better mentally, and you save time by not being in long lines at a physical store.
4. Stay on Budget - Make a budget and stick to your budget. Setting the budget is easy sticking to it is the hard part. If you feel tempted, leave any extra money and/or cards at home. You can’t spend extra or unnecessary money if it is not in your pocket, wallet, or purse.
5. Be content with not having it - This one is a hard one because when it comes to wanting to provide and feeling like you can’t, our bff ‘pride’ likes to come in and take over which leaves us making impulse decisions that impact both ourselves and our families all because “we want it to be a good Christmas.”
6. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses - That’s just not a good idea. The Joneses are broke. They have a lot of bills, ridiculous car payments and tricked-up mortgages. But at least they look good! We don’t want to go broke because we’re trying to keep up with people or want to show this false reality of who we are which goes back to #5 be content with “not having” seasons change and so will our financial circumstances. Even when they do change we must learn to be better stewards over what we in the season that we’re currently in.
7. Go Minimal on Gifts - I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how little the gifts actually matter. Yes, really. The biggest mistake you can make is to try and translate someone’s worth in presents because the truth is no amount of stuff will ever be enough. Gifts are about the spirit of giving, and that doesn’t mean you leave it out altogether, instead, you simply buy some quality presents for a select few. You would be surprised how much money you save by thinking quality over quantity. As for the rest, we send personalized Christmas cards to the friends and family members that we don’t see that often and they love the personal touch so much that a bunch of them have started doing that too.
I pray that you find these tips helpful and that you are going into 2020 without the spirit of Christmas debt hovering over your head like a storm cloud. My family and I have had wonderful Christmas’ where we’ve spent hundreds and some where we have spent hardly anything. All were wonderful. But the years when we had less to spend didn’t feel like it. We were creative, we discovered ways to enjoy each other’s company. We learned to treasure friends, cherish moments, and just how to be present with each other. During this holiday season, I encourage you to cherish what is most important and remember that Jesus is truly the reason for the season.