My First Time Christmas Shopping with a Budget

Christmas Budgetting

Ok. So what I’m about to say might sound absolutely insane to some people, but before this year I had never made a budget for Christmas shopping. Ever. Now, having spent the past year tracking every single purchase I’ve made it even sounds a little nuts to me too. I’m not sure how I managed to get gifts for everyone on my list and not go bankrupt in years past.

I used to place a lot of value on the dollar amount I spent on people and I wanted to make sure I was giving on par with what others might be giving me. This year since I’ve been using the EveryDollar app and planning out all my purchases, I had to assign a budget number to the amount I planned to spend on Christmas. Considering my monthly payments and other financial goals, I decided $500 would be a reasonable budget. Honestly the $500 was a complete shot-in-the-dark guess, but I was determined to stick to it.

I had about 26 people to shop for this year: 8 coworkers/work friends, 2 girlfriends, 5 kiddos in the family, 10 family adults, and my Austin. I knew there was a small gift I wanted to get everyone (not going to say what it is in case anyone actually reads this post but I’ll link it here). This would count as THE gift for friends and coworkers, and would be a little stocking stuffer type of gift for everyone else.

After buying all of the tiny gifts, I found a small gift for each family member on my list and whatever dollar amount was left would be what I used to get Austin gifts. I wasn’t expecting it to be much. Austin and I had already discussed not going to big on gifts for the next few years anyway since we don’t actually need anything. No need to throw money around just for the sake of throwing money around.

I wouldn’t say I was shocked, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised that even after getting gifts for so many people there was still around $100 to get Austin something. Obviously I’m not getting him a flat screen TV with that much money, but it was more than enough to get him the weird little game controller thing he wanted and some stocking stuffers. 

I think it’s safe to say I’ll never go without a Christmas budget ever again. Gifts are more important when there’s an abundance of love and thought put into them, not when you spend your whole paycheck on them. And, at the end of the day its just stuff. Stop reading and take a looking around you. We all have too much stuff. Never drive yourself broke for stuff that will in all likelihood end up in a Goodwill or a landfill. I’ve definitely been guilty of this in the past, but I have the tools to avoid it moving forward.

If you think you need to work on better managing your money I cannot recommend enough the EveryDollar app. It’s completely transformed my finances and helped me get on track with spending more responsibly.  

A Look Back on My 18 for 2018

At the very beginning of the year I took the challenge from the Happier podcast to think up 18 things I wanted to accomplish in 2018. I thought it might be fun to look back on my list and see what I’ve accomplished this year and what was a total fail. Spoiler alert – there will be quite a few fails, specially in regard to my goals for the home since for the majority of the year we actually had our house listed for sale. If you’re interested in hearing more about that entire fiasco you can watch my Life Updates video. 

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Wedding Dress Shopping Advice

Wedding dress shopping can be an incredibly daunting task. Before I got started I actually had a feeling of dread whenever I thought about it. For some reason in my mind I kept thinking my dress shopping experience would be miserable like my house hunting experience was. The physical act of house hunting – drive, get out of car, look around, hate house, get back in car, drive to next house – was complete torture to me. I suppose the idea of hopping in and out of dress after dress must have resonated as a similar experience.  Continue reading →

Easy Money Saving Tips

If you keep up with the blog or my YouTube channel you know that Austin and I are engaged and planning a wedding. While its completely unnecessary to have a big fancy wedding, I’m a total princess and I want one so that’s what we’re doing. Even though we’re making cuts to traditional aspects of a wedding that aren’t important to us like a cake, guest book, and favors – we’re still going to be spending a lot of money. With so much money being put out I’ve been looking for ways in my day-to-day to cut costs and keep as much money as I can in my own hands. Here are a few tips and techniques I’ve been using to keep a few extra dollar in my pocket  Continue reading →

Super Versatile Granola Recipe

granola recipe

Today I want to share my absolute favorite granola recipe with you guys. This recipe is great because it’s so versatile. You can add your favorite nuts, fruit, and nearly anything you have sitting around the pantry. This is a fool-proof combination that you’ll surely be making over and over again. I combine my granola with sliced banana and soy milk to create a healthy vegan breakfast cereal. You could also use it to top ice cream or waffles for a bit of added crunch.  Continue reading →