Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas: Week Two Mission

This week’s Simple Christmas mission is planning a budget. Don’t skip this step! It’s vital! It’s life-changing! It’s CRITICAL! Just do it.

This week we’re talking about the budget. Get your butt back here! 

Nobody likes to talk about budgets, except my friend Stacy, but it’s got to be done. Come January, you will high-five October You for figuring out a doable budget and you will flat-out kiss November and December Yous for sticking to it. Trust me on this.

Honestly, we should have talked about this first, but I didn’t want you to all run away from Twelve Weeks of a Simple Christmas before we got to the good stuff, like the chocolate whipped cream. Seriously.

Let’s get down and dirty and talk about a Christmas budget.

Twelve Weeks of Simple Christmas -- Week 2: Plan Your Budget

How to Set Up a Christmas Budget

First, if you are married, grab your spouse.

Second, realistically assess how much money you can spend on Christmas this year without going into debt! 

Third, figure out what you want and need to spend money on this Christmas. Include all of these things:

    • Gifts
    • Stocking stuffers
    • Gas
    • Accommodations (your own or anything you need for guests)
    • Food

(We’ll discuss this in a later mission)

  • Cookie supplies
  • Wrapping supplies
  • Cards (don’t forget postage)
  • Did I mention cookie ingredients?
  • Activities (as determined by last week’s mission)
  • Clothes
  • Decorations

Fourth, figure out how much each of those bullet points above will cost.

Fifth, make it work. You undoubtedly noticed that the number in the fourth step is significantly higher than the number in the second step. That’s when you start to get real. Do you really need new clothes for Christmas? Do your kids? Do you really need a professional family photo in your Christmas card? Is it time to make this year’s dinner a potluck? Do you really need a 12-foot fresh-cut Christmas tree with new ornaments? Can you get creative on wrapping supplies? Can you order early to avoid extra shipping fees? Can you cut back on cookies?

To help you out with “step fifth” a bit, remember this: whether you have new shoes for Christmas or not, the Savior still came, your family still loves you, and the celebration will go on. And when Uncle Bob spills bargain-brand spinach dip on your old shoes, you’ll be glad you didn’t shell out for newbies.

Next week we’re talking about gifts and the week after we’ll chat about food, so have your budget ready for those two missions so you know what you’ve got to work with.

By the way, it’s not enough to plan a budget–you have to stick with it over the next 11 weeks. Here are some tips I wrote for Humorous Homemaking, formerly known as Stacy Makes Cents on just that topic: 10 Things You Already Know (But Will Probably Forget) About Sticking to Your Budget at Christmas.

Accountability Time

How did you do on last week’s mission, scheduling your holidays?

I did schedule out all my deadlines and write down all known events, thanks in part to some text time with my sister-in-law. We don’t always know this far in advance what will be happening with the music mission schedule, so things will be filling in a bit more, but that’s our life!

I did not yet fill in blank days or all the family favorites that the kids like to do every year…but drat, that Simply Homemaker is such a nag she won’t give me a minute’s rest until I do it, so I’m doing it today! (It ain’t always pretty having The Simple Homemaker living in your head!)

Two more things:

My book, From Frazzled to Festive: Finding Joy and Meaning in a Simple Christmas, is available here.

While you shop this Christmas, it would help my family’s Christian music mission out enormously if you shop through my Amazon link or one of these links, some of which save you money! Thank you!

Don't stress this Christmas!

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