How To Stay On Budget This Holiday Season

Today's post is a little different and on a topic that is really important to me and I hope to share more around in the future! Like it or not, money is an important part of our lives, in fact it's a critical element. And when you think about how little we're actually taught about money and how to handle our own, it is concerning.

With the craziest weeks of shopping upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to pop in with a little reminder to not get sucked in to the materialistic world we live in, especially on social media!

When you're seeing all these amazing deals and people buying up every sweater they see, it can be hard to resist clicking 'add to cart' yourself! As a blogger part of my job is adding to the madness and sharing great finds with you. The idea though is that you pick and choose which items are best for you and fit within your budget, I just share enough that everyone finds at least one thing they might be interested in.

This post will be my attempt at balancing the proverbial scale (don't worry - the irony is not lost on me!).

Budgeting for me has always been kind of like dieting. I know it's something I should do but it isn't fun and I can only seem to keep up with it for so long before falling off the wagon. Now with the news I shared in my last post, I'm gonna have to try a little harder to keep up with it though!

Determining Your Budget

A common misconception about budgeting is that you only need to do it if you're poor, and that totally isn't true! Everyone should have a budget - the amounts will just vary!

I'll do a more in depth post soon on exactly how to come up with your budget, but the simple explanation is this:

Understand what's coming in and what's going out.

Look at your pay-checks and portion the money into categories (gas, groceries, mortgage, etc). Make sure everything that is a NEED is covered first. Whatever is left after that can go towards your wants (discretionary spending).

Now that you have your budget, below are a few...

Tips for sticking to it:

Avoid over spending. The biggest mistake you can make in your budget is to spend too much this week thinking "I'll make it up next week". I can guarantee you that next week will roll around and you'll be wishing you hadn't done that.

Always save up. Going hand in hand with the above, if there's something you want that's more than your weekly allowance - save up for it. Buying first and saving later is called going into debt!

Track everything immediately. We use the app Goodbudget (it syncs between our phones) and as soon as we buy anything we record it. This way we never accidentally-on-purpose forget to document our spending. You can also use apps like Minted that you connect your credit card to so things are recorded automatically.

The 3 question rule. Before you spend, ask yourself if you really want/need what you're planning to buy three times. Basically just slow down, stop and think. Don't spend impulsively. I use this most when I'm craving Chipotle :P

Get creative. Maybe your date night was always going to the movies on a Friday night with a jumbo sized popcorn. Learn to enjoy date night at home with a Netflix movie and snacks from your kitchen. Try to think of trade-offs you can make that don't feel like big sacrifices.

The bigger picture. This has been a big one for me lately with the shopping frenzy that's been going on online. My bigger picture is that I get to stay home with my daughter every day. So what? I don't get that new sweater dress I had my eye on or this season's new Lilly prints. When I compare the trade off, it's easy to click the 'X' instead of 'Buy Now'. So find your why and don't forget it!

I hope this was a helpful post! If you have any tips that work for you, I'd love to hear them! As always, I'm here for you to answer your questions or just be a support system when the Chick-fil-A drive thru is calling your name.

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