How To Make A Prioritized Christmas List So You Don’t Spend Beyond Your Means


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Making a prioritized Christmas list is probably going to be the hardest thing I am going to ask you to do in order to create a Christmas to remember on a super tight budget.

Most of us–myself included–have a tendency to want to give everyone in our lives a Christmas gift. From our kids to our spouse to our siblings to the in-laws to those that teach our kids to our closest friends to our work mates and on and on the list goes.

Then there are all the added costs of Christmas beyond gifts. Christmas decorations, Christmas food, Christmas special events and Christmas attire for those Christmas events.

However, most of us simply cannot give gifts to all these people and do all these events and come out of the Christmas season without debt added to our credit cards.

How to Make a Prioritized Christmas List--So you Don't Spend Beyond Your Means

Christmas was never meant to be a season of financial stress. It is supposed to be a season of reflection. A time to remember the amazing gift God gave to us over 2000 years ago. A time to treasure our family as Christ treasures us.

Even if you are not a believer in Christ , I think you would agree that the root of Christmas is centered in family and togetherness. In simple memories made as we gather together with those we love.

None of these things require us to spend a single penny to create. Put the credit card away. It is time for us to get serious about what we can truly afford and just how far we can make that stretch. Hopefully with the help of this series it is going to stretch a whole lot further than you think.

How To Make A Prioritized Christmas List So You Don’t Spend Beyond Your Means

By the time you finish reading this series (psst–if you can’t wait for it to finish, grab the free eBook it is based on) you will have a better idea of just how much money you have to work with. Today I want you to concentrate on priority list of how you want to spend it.

Don’t put a dollar figure by anyone’s name or by the events. Simply list them by order of what matters most to what certainly does not matter least, but would be okay if cut. (I will talk more on how to do this in just a second)

For instance, the Christmas my husband and I were under financial strain we decided the kids came first on our prioritized Christmas list. They came before a big Christmas tree, before a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, before gifts for each other and before gifts for anyone else.

We prioritized even further than that though. We decided the main gift from us was most important, then their stockings, then their Santa gift. As we found money using the steps I have been describing in this series we worked our way down the list, agreeing if we didn’t make it past the gifts from us we would be okay.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to list people in order of gift priority. It isn’t right. Everyone is just as important as the next person. However, I don’t believe that our loved ones value getting a gift from us more than they value our financial well being.

I don’t know about you, but I know that if I found out that a loved one of mine went into debt to give me a gift and are now struggling to make those payments, I would feel physically ill and emotionally troubled. That is not how a receiver of a gift should feel at all.

How To Create A Prioritized Gift List

Sit down either by yourself or with your spouse if you have one and start listing all the people and things you normally spend money on each Christmas.

Make your first list a simple “list it all as you think of it list” then create your prioritized list. In other words list absolutely everyone you would give a gift to if you could afford it and every other Christmas expense imaginable in no other order than the order they pop into your head.

Then grab another piece of paper and start making your prioritized Christmas gift list.

Ask yourselves hard questions during this process. What do we really need to make Christmas feel like Christmas? What are we currently doing during the Christmas season that isn’t bringing us true joy and therefore could be cut? Do we really need to give gifts to our parents? How will we bring it up to extended family that we simply cannot financially take part in gift giving this year? Could people on our lists be just as happy with acts of service instead of physical gifts? Could we cut a few side dishes and desserts out of our Christmas dinner and still have it feel special?

Do not assign strict dollar figures to your list except perhaps for Christmas events that you want to attend that come with a set ticket cost you cannot change, for everything else simply put down the name or event only and a retail figure.

Concentrating on “retail prices” instead of a dollar figure is where the creativity of creating a Christmas to remember on a super tight budget comes in. Here is an example: let’s say you assigned $50 retail to your child’s main Christmas gift from you. Using the tips you are learning from this series you manage to get your child a gift worth $50 retail for just $20. Instead of going out and spending $30 more you take what you saved and move down you prioritized Christmas gift to the next thing or person on your list.

This will create a Christmas budget snowball effect and allow you to give to as many people as possible without getting you into debt. Chances are too that the recipients of your gifts are not even going to notice that you spent less on their Christmas gift this year as you will learn to give smarter (less cost) and give deeper (more heartfelt) Christmas gifts.

How to Plan a Christmas to Remember--On a Super Tight Budget

Follow the How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget Series and learn how to keep the cost of Christmas low without affecting the magical memories of the Christmas season.

Christmas on a Zero Budget: Free mini ebook and printable planning packGrab your copy of my free Christmas on A Zero Budget eBook when you sign up for my weekly newsletter.







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3 Things I am LOVING Lately! October 19


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3 Things I Am Loving Lately What about you

This post is late a.g.a.i.n.

Yesterday ended up being much more busy than I thought it would. Haircuts for 3 of us took over 6 hours by the time we left the house, did an errand on the way, drove to the hairdressers, got 3 haircuts, one hair dye, and a bit of facial waxing done, picked up ice-cream (hey the new hairdresser lives by the best locally owned ice-cream parlor in the county–I had to stop), got gas, and then finally got home.

Once we got home there was dinner to be made, laundry to do, and a few other chores. After dinner I was too brain fried to write a word so I vegged out in front of the TV watching, The Middle and American Housewife.


First Thing I am LOVING Lately….

My Christmas photo cards are made and for less than .75 each!

I love giving and receiving photo cards at Christmas time. They can be pretty expensive though. I have discovered however that you can keep the cost lower by using Shutterfly photo coupon codes. Here is a list of places I find them.

About 2 weeks ago they offered a $20 of $20 or more coupon code on their Facebook page. That is what I used for my cards this year and I believe it is what I used last year too.

I also recently got a code for a free 8 by 10 art print. It did cost just over $5 for the shipping but I love how it turned out. I was happy to get a code for another one a Joann’s craft store email earlier this week. These prints would make great inexpensive Christmas gifts when placed in a dollar store frame.


Second Thing I am LOVING Lately…

Indulging in a guilty yet simple pleasure of mine.

My name is Victoria and I confess that sometimes I bake just so I can lick the bowl clean. This bowl above had the makings of my simple chocolate fudge.

I love making up a batch of it for parties. It takes under 3 minutes to whip a batch up and it is always loved by party attenders.


Third Thing I am Loving Lately…

Really warm Fall days.

It has been very warm her in Indiana this past week. So warm that I have been able to wear shorts and a tank top all week long. I am a warm weather lover so this is making me so happy!

Oh and the pink toenails  in this picture were created with the Revlon nail polish I got for just $2 from Hollar. I am really happy with how long it is lasting.

I noticed Hollar this week has Melissa & Doug toys starting at just $2. These would make excellent stocking stuffers. Shipping is free on your first order but all orders must be $10 or more.

For more inexpensive and free sources for Christmas gifts this year read Friday’s post.

What are you LOVING lately?