Friday, December 15, 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017
Many people have so little money to spend on just the basics that when Christmas comes along it's often a real struggle to buy presents, get a tree, decorate the house or all the other things during the Christmas season that you really want to do. In this article which comes from Christmas Joy When You're Broke from the wonderful blog: All in All, are a few suggestions for having a great Christmas on a budget.
How do those of us without a money tree make Christmas special, memorable, and fun for our families
A Simply Amazing Christmas means slowing down, being still and enjoying the moment, holding our children tightly, speaking kind words, being thankful, and remembering the love that makes Christmas peace possible.
Now, let's enjoy a simply amazing holiday. Here are some ways to celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank:
Set a budget for Christmas presents and stick with it. Let your family members know what the budget will be so they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
Be sure to budget all of the other things that go along with the holidays such as cookie baking, travel, Christmas pictures, Christmas cards and postage, pet boarding if traveling, decorations, holiday meals, holiday parties, extra gifts for gift office/school exchanges and teachers, holiday tips, etc.
Save all year long! Check with your bank to see what kind of savings club accounts they offer. You can deposit a small amount from each pay check into your Christmas club savings account and then you'll receive a payout plus interest when you're ready to begin Christmas shopping. So smart!
Volunteer. Do some research to see what homeless shelters, food banks, animal shelters, and ministries need donations and volunteers during the Christmas season. Make volunteering a part of your family Christmas tradition!
Attend a Christmas church service. If you belong to a church that will be holding a special Christmas service, be there! If you do not, then find one! If you love Christmas Eve services and your church isn't having one, don't write your pastor a complaint letter (like, seriously don't) just find another church to visit on that night. Christmas services are a wonderful way to reflect and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
Go Christmas caroling! This is so much fun and is a wonderful way to bring joy to others. Invite friends to meet at your house and ask them to bring a few dozen cookies to share. Split them up onto paper Christmas plates, wrap them well, then head out to a few location to sing and deliver cookies! Check with nursing homes and hospitals to see about caroling there and treating the staff to Christmas cookies. After the caroling, head back to your house to relax with your friends. Play Christmas music, eat cookies, and drink hot chocolate. Fun!
Shop consignment sales for gently used toys that your kids will love.
Give homemade gifts. Are you crafty? Make special gifts for friends, family, and teachers! Do you like to bake? Then make some awesome goodies, pack them in recycles cookie tins, tie them up with pretty ribbon, and deliver the yummy Christmas treats!
Play Christmas music. This may sound silly simple, but playing Christmas music costs nothing and adds a wonderful feeling to your home around the holidays.
Buy Christmas decorations... on December 26th! I have always made it a tradition to buy Christmas decorations and wrapping paper the day after Christmas at 50-75% off. Then I store the items until the next Christmas. By then I've forgotten what I purchased an opening the bags up is super exciting!
Do an Advent Calendar. Again, so simple, but really fun! You can make an Advent Calendar with your kids or buy one at the store. It is something simple and sweet to celebrate each day of December leading up to Christmas.
Have a Christmas movie night each week in December. Pull out some Christmas treats, get into your Christmas pjs, and have fun with Christmas classics like White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and even Elf!
Wrap up 24 Christmas books in Christmas wrapping paper and read one each night of December. On Christmas morning read the Christmas story from the Bible before opening presents and say a prayer together as a family.
Cash in lose change. Do you have jars of change sitting around the house? Cash them in! It's surprising how coins can add up. Use the cash for presents or other items needed during the holidays.
Deliver some smiles! On Christmas morning after opening presents, visit a few places where people have to work that day and deliver some cookies and thank them for their service. Think about gas station attendants, nurses and doctors in hospitals, nursing home staff, etc.
Have a family game night. Pop some popcorn and enjoy some fun interaction with your family over some games. Be sure to play some Christmas music in the background!
Start a giant jigsaw puzzle on December 1st. Everyone in the family can work on the puzzle throughout the month.
Go for a drive and enjoy the Christmas lights around your town.
Use cash. Don't mortgage next year for this years shopping.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Monday, October 30, 2017
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Sunday, October 22, 2017
1. Clean up your finances.
The rules of properly handling money can be summed up fairly easily. They are:
Spend less than you earn.
Save a portion of all that you earn. This can be as little as 5%, with most people saving 10%. This is your safety net in case of emergencies, job loss, unexpected expenses, etc.
Before paying your monthly bills/expenses, set aside a portion of your income just for you. This money should be used to invest in your future and in your financial security. Again 10% is a good amount for this. This is a separate savings from your emergency savings, and should be used to further your education, and things like this.
Have a budget and stick to your budget.
Have a pantry and a bit of food storage to help you weather hard times, or just because you save money by buying food on sale, or before the price goes up.
2. Eliminate the negative from your life as much as possible. This means decluttering your possessions, as well as eliminating negative people and situations from your life that are only bringing you down. Make positive and inspiring friends. You need them.
Clean up and fix whatever needs fixed in your life. Fix that door that jams, that faucet leak, and complete all the undone projects in your life. You don't have to complete anything that no longer inspires or interests you however. Fix one thing a day for awhile and watch your load lighten and your mood lift.
Seek out good news and avoid negative news as much as possible.
3. Get a job you like. We spend a lot of our time at work and some work places are very toxic and draining. Get out and find a job that inspires and uplifts you.
4. Plan for the future. Set goals and make lists of what you want in your life, then do at least one small thing towards accomplishing that goal every single day. Even a small step will move you forward.
6. Get outside everyday. Take walks, garden, or in some way spend a portion of everyday outside in the fresh air. Enjoy the fall leaves, a walk in the rain, a softly falling winter snow, or a sunny day at the beach. Nature soothes and heals. And get some exercise everyday, whether outside or indoors.
8. Think optimistically and positively. Use positive words to yourself and when speaking to others. Don't gossip. Don't criticize. Encourage people whenever you can.
9. Learn to meditate and to pray. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, a time for centering and quieting your mind, and connecting with the divine is a positive experience that will greatly enhance your life.
10. Practice gratitude and thankfulness everyday. We all have many blessings and a nightly time of writing down three things you're grateful for is a wonderful end to a day and will greatly enhance your life.