It comes around every year, and yet, many of us scramble every year to be able to afford Christmas presents for our friends and loved ones. But you don’t want to shortchange your list, do you? Here’s a little help with ways to budget for the holidays without being a grinch:
Pray About Your Heart
There are two things you should ask the Lord to help you with in regards to giving gifts:
First, that you give for the right reason. Often people will give gifts because they feel forced or a sort of “keeping up with the Joneses” pressure. Ask the Lord to help you identify any poor motivations and give for the joy of giving instead.
Second, pray that God helps you to give generously. While generous and spending every last dime you have are not the same thing, you know when you’re giving a gift out of love or when you’re withholding for selfish reasons. Pray that God helps you set out your heart right before, during, and after you give a gift.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Once you feel your priorities are in the right place, you need to sit down and do some math. Look at your income and then subtract necessary expenses like your rent/mortgage, car payments, utilities, etc. Then subtract the money you’ll probably spend on other items.
If you can, cut items that you don’t need. For example, what if you pushed your haircut to January? What if you ate out less? What if you carpooled or took the bus to save money on gas? What if you picked up a babysitting job or two on the weekends? You’d be surprised what kind of money you can find or make when you need a little extra cash.
Set a reasonable price for each gift that does not push you outside of your means.
Start Planning Early
While it’s too late this year, as soon as your January paycheck rolls around, remember how stressful this time has been. Each month, set aside a small amount of money for a Christmas fund. Even if it doesn’t completely pay for all of the holiday gifts you need to buy, by December you’ll have a significant chunk of it available! This will help out significantly!
Make Some DIY Gifts
Gifts that are homemade are often far less expensive than those purchased from a store and often just as good! Here are a few resources that we found on Pinterest: