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How I’m Going to Conquer Holiday Stress



As I’m sitting here looking at all the Christmas decorations I’ll have to take down in the coming days (ok, probably more like weeks if I’m being honest) it makes me think of the stress of the holidays. To be clear, I love, love, love Christmas and everything about it. I love going into lavishly decorated stores, I enjoy Christmas light shows possibly more than anyone and I adore the cheer in the air. Everyone seems happy about the holiday season, it’s infectious and it’s great.

What’s not so great is the amount of money I spend annually on gifts, decorations, cookie supplies and everything else. It’s not spending the money that bothers me, it’s the giant hit my checkbook takes each year in December. Since I’m about to change my spending habits, Christmas is a good place to start. I don’t anticipate spending much less, however I am going to do something about the timing.

In 2019 I have a game plan that should allow me to get everything on my family and friends’ lists without kissing my Christmas bonus goodbye. Because next year I’m using that bonus to put towards savings and paying off some debt, a little Christmas present to me!

So what’s my brilliant game plan you ask? Well, it’s simple. I’m going to make an effort to spread the Christmas shopping over the twelve months of the year and enjoy the tree trimming without stressing over presents. I’m not sure if it’ll work - but it’s where I’m going to start - one gift a month. Since I have a relatively small family and only exchange gifts with a few close friends, come December I should be pretty much set. Besides, one gift a month seems totally doable.

The hard part? As much as I love Christmas, I also love Black Friday and become super tempted when I see that newspaper full of flyers. It’ll be challenging to not go overboard when I see the deals. No one loves a sweet deal more than me!

Don’t worry, if I have a lapse in judgment I’ll be honest and spill the details. Even if it is embarrassing. And it probably will be, like that one time I bought a tire swing. I don’t have kids, nor do I have a tree that is suitable for a tire swing, but I still own one. It’s really no secret I have a shopping/spending problem.

Now that I’be started thinking about Black Friday, I’ve discovered what the major downside will be about my early Christmas shopping - paying full price! But with some coupons, well timed sales and a good cash back site, I think I can get a handle on things. A detailed list of just what I actually bought might help too. I’m pretty sure if I don’t document my purchases by December I won’t be able to tell you a single thing I bought.

Giving myself a full year leaves me with one other advantage: time to think about thoughtful gifts. We’ve all been at the mall two days before Christmas wondering just what the heck mom would really like. With my mom, the good news is she wouldn’t be awfully surprised if I did give her a tire swing.

Another Christmas savings idea? I’ll be hitting the stores tomorrow in search of half priced (or hopefully more!) cookie tins and wrapping paper. I’m going to try to avoid decorations unless it’s something that I just need to have but the last two years I’ve found myself at Target with an armful of still not discounted necessities to get through Christmas. Next year I will be prepared.

I know my game plan sounds silly. I know that you’re probably thinking “but just how will that help you save money?!” Honestly, I don’t know if it will. I’m going into this with the idea that my bonus next year will be all put towards my goals. We’ll see how it works out but I’m definitely excited to give it a try. Besides, if I’m spending money on Christmas gifts that’s less money I can spend on another shirt I don’t need.

Special shout out to my 160 lb Newfoundland, Miss Sadie Donatella AKA Cakes AKA Oompa, for all the help untangling those Christmas lights this year. And then posing for my photo shoot. As you can see, it just wiped her right out.
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