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Hands up if you can’t believe that we are at the end of the year? Where did 2019 go?! I can safely say that this was the fastest year of my life, and also the most joy-filled, in part because I’m intentional with my spending. My budget has allowed me to live without financial stress, to do things that I couldn’t afford to do in years gone by. And not because I make more money this year. I just choose where I spend it very intentionally, aligned with my goals, and it feels like I have more than ever. Plus, I focus on gratitude every single day, which makes the things I have feel like enough. With all that said, I have a list of commonly missed budget items for December – things you might otherwise forget to include in your financial plan. Do a check through these December budget reminders and make sure you are set up for the month ahead!
Outdoor Christmas Decor
Last year I made the mistake of promising our son that we could get one of those inflatable Christmas thingies “next year”. Well, next year is now, and he has certainly not forgotten. We will build that into our December budget, along with a bit extra for any Christmas lights that need replacing or a new wreath for the front door. Last year we didn’t spend a penny on decorations because we were in the final month of our debt payoff. This year we are planning to spruce up our setup, but I’ll build it into the budget!
If you are like me, you have already finished your Christmas shopping. But, I know that most people haven’t actually started yet. Prep your budget for your Christmas list. Ask yourself these six questions to get organized for a budget-friendly Christmas!
And while we are on the topic of gifts, don’t forget about the stockings. I LOVE the tradition of Christmas stockings. But, man do those little bits and pieces add up fast, especially if you have several stockings to stuff! Try to balance out things they need (i.e., chapstick, shampoo, hair elastics & bobby pins, new underwear) with the toys and treats that make stocking so exciting!
In this busy season, there are social events every second evening. Plan for the box of chocolate or bottle of wine you will take with you to say “thank-you” to your hosts. My mom used to buy a few extra boxes of chocolates that she would wrap and pop under the tree in the weeks leading up to Christmas, just in case someone came by with a delivery. That way, she never got caught empty-handed! (Plus, because they were already wrapped, we couldn’t ‘accidentally’ eat them!)
There is no denying that one of the best parts of the holiday season is all of the delicious food we get to indulge in. In the spirit of living with intention, I try to keep balanced with my eating just like my spending. I do indulge in a few extra cookies and treats, and of course, the turkey dinner! My goal is to not eat until I feel sick – where is the joy in that?!
When you are planning your December budget, add a bit extra to your grocery category for the extra food and snacks, and any baking ingredients you’ll need when you are whipping up Santa’s cookies!
One of my favourite family traditions is our yearly Santa photo. My cousins and I delighted each year in getting silly photos, and any time we are together during the holidays, we keep the tradition alive. But, more than anything, I love seeing how our wee-boy is getting bigger and is not so wee anymore!
Fun Holiday Outings
At this time of year, there are SO.MANY.THINGS.TO.DO! The Nutcracker. The Christmas train to the North Pole that recreates Polar Express live. Musicians doing special Christmas shows. Christmas light extravaganzas at the zoo. The list in our city goes on and on (and on!!), and I’m sure your town is just the same. Depending on your financial situation, you may choose to do none, one, or many of these – but may I offer this advice? There is nothing jolly about rushing to a different event each and every weekend, and these events can add up to a small fortune if you are not careful. (Speaking from experience!) If you are in the spirit of cutting back and living with intention, you may like to choose one special event to enjoy.
Check out this post for a list of free things that you can do as a family too!
New Years Eve Shenanigans
Nothing says goodbye to the year gone by like an overpriced party and a crowded bar! Just kidding! I choose to ring in the new year by high fiving my humans and going to bed at 9 pm, but I know I’m not the norm! Plan for your new year’s expenses in your budget. (And don’t forget some new lipgloss to prep for the midnight kiss!)
Donations & Giving
I believe in giving all year long, so I have charitable giving in my budget every single month. In December, however, I do intentionally give more. Food drive donations at the community Christmas light display, and a new pair of boots for the family being sponsored at Dan’s work. Extra generosity and giving is the true meaning of the season, so I bump up my budget in this area!
This jolly season is my favourite time of year. The lights, the sights, the smells, and the bells, I love it all. And I can enjoy it with way less stress when I organize and make a plan for my money! Get budgeting now, and have the happiest holiday ever!
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