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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.
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.
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.
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.
How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget: The Series
Week Four: How To Make A Prioritized Christmas List–An Essential Item For Keeping Christmas Affordable (you are here)