I have never been as out of disposable income as I am this year and simply put, there is just no extra money to spend on the holidays.
Like many, I was downsized so long ago I no longer show up on the charts and graphs of government labor statistics.
Keeping up with SearchAmelia is a full-time labor of love but we should have made it a non-profit organization, because it is not producing a profit, let alone an income.
SearchAmelia does however, open doors for many short-term projects that, along with my husband’s income, helps to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid.
There are no vacation days, no personal time off, no retirement plan or health benefits included. After nearly five years of blogging nearly every single day, this passion has indeed taken its financial toll on my family… and I’ve used this saying before, “You are not broke, you are simply out of money.”
Every year I create a holiday spending plan, but this year is has turned into a holiday necessity plan. (I honestly spent less than $70.00 on Black Friday this year!)
Creating a Holiday Spending Plan
Set a spending budget
Determine how much money you can spend this year. Include everything:
Make a list of who you will buy gifts for.
How much money will you spend on gifts?
How much will you budget to throw your annual party?
How much will it cost you if you accept certain party invitations?
How much in Christmas cards?
How much will you spend in postage?
How much for office gifts or in Secret Santa expenditures?
How much will it cost you if you are traveling?
how much extra money will you spend on holiday dinners?
How much for your tree, your wreath, wrapping paper and other decorations?
After creating your spending budget, discuss the plan with your family members and adjust the list accordingly.
When you look at your income over the next couple of weeks, ask yourself this question, “Do I have that much in disposable income?”
If you are like my family this year, the answer was a very loud and clear, “No!”
Happy Holidays on a Small Budget
It is time to start crossing things, and some people, off of your list!
Out of town relatives that are not immediate family? They are off of our list.
Our Annual Christmas Party? Canceled!
Party invitations? We are only accepting one invitation this year.
Meeting friends for the holidays over drinks? We will not be there.
Christmas cards? E-cards will be sent only if I can find the time.
My mother-in-law, our daughter and our grandson will be shipped small, lightweight gifts to save on shipping charges.
Traveling? I may drive to my Dad’s in Yulee on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve has always been fondue at our home and we will keep the tradition alive by frugal grocery shopping.
Christmas dinner will be leftovers from Christmas Eve.
We bought a $30.00 Christmas tree.
Presents will be wrapped in the colored comics section of the Sunday newspaper or leftover paper from last year.
If you are out of money this year it is possible your family and friends are, too. There are additional ways to save money this holiday season:
-Draw names for gifts instead of buying something for everyone on your list.
-Make gifts this year; they tend to have more meaning anyway.
-Get creative and offer a service as gifts. You could make coupons for babysitting, mowing the grass, cooking a dinner or organizing a closet.
Most importantly, keep track of how much you are spending. It is very easy for holiday shopping to rapidly get out of control, especially if your Christmas budget involves purchases made using credit cards.
This is the time of the year to know your limits, count your blessings, and be thankful for what you do have.
With the promise of a New Year, it is time to re-set our goals, make new resolutions, embrace encouraging friendships and let go of the toxic ones that may be impacting our mental health and physical well-being, and remember… as 2013 heads to its close at the end of next year, there will be a whole new Christmas season to stress-out over!
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