Another Christmas holiday has come and gone. As I think about a brand new year, I’m able to reflect on our December 2016 holiday budget. My husband and I went into December with a plan for every dollar. Our goal was to spend our money on practical gifts for our kids all while paring down the amount of gifts that we would purchase. Now that January is here, I can say that we did a good job of sticking to our budget, but there were a few areas that have room for improvement.
In the middle of December, I wrote a post on How to Simplify Gift Giving. In this post, I discussed a plan for keeping the holidays simple and keeping holiday gifts limited to a certain amount.
While I still feel this is an excellent plan, I must honestly confess that I had a hard time sticking to the plan. One of the reasons I had a hard time sticking to the plan was because of past mistakes we made during the holidays with overspending and overbuying. I guess I could say that I was a bit nervous paring down gifts to only four this year after buying way too many gifts for my girls in the past. Maybe I think my simplified gift giving would hurt my girls’ feelings if they didn’t receive a lot on Christmas morning. Maybe I’m afraid they will think Santa thought they weren’t good children this year. I do still like to see my children rip open a variety of gifts on Christmas morning because I love seeing the excitement on their faces. More gifts means more time spent enjoying the morning, right?!
Even though we didn’t stick to the plan completely, I do feel that I was smarter about the gifts we did choose to buy this year. Instead of just four gifts in each category (want, need, wear, read) we bought a few gifts for each child in each category, including an added “eat” category. When shopping for gifts, I tried to find and buy gifts that I felt my children needed but gifts that were still considered “cool” to receive in their eyes – things like Trolls movie socks, Shopkins underwear, winter gear that could be used in our new location that we will be moving to in April and even a new pair of shoes for my youngest daughter.
I do feel that if I would have started out every Christmas in the past this way of keeping gifts to a minimum, it would be easy to stick to the plan, but after 8 Christmas’ where I’ve gone a little overboard, it’s hard to go from many gifts to just a few. I want to simplify gifts eventually and save more money during future holidays, but it will take some time and self-discipline. I’d love to get back to the true meaning of Christmas and eventually give more to others than to ourselves. There’s always next year!
If you are sitting here in the new year thinking about how you may have gone overboard this Christmas, be kind to yourself. It’s a brand new year and it’s time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start going for those goals you’ve set for yourself and your personal finances this year. The past is the past and let’s look forward to making improvements, knocking down debt, saving for our future, and giving more to others this year.
Money Saving Goals for the New Year
This year, we have plenty of savings goals that we plan to stick to. A few of our family goals include the following:
• Completing a No Spend Challenge in January
• Sticking to our monthly budget
• Continue to cut back on eating out at restaurants
• Continue listening to helpful money saving podcasts and read books about saving money
These goals will be able to help us stay on track financially this year so that we can aggressively pay off our only debt – our rental home. We also want to save for our retirement and put more money away in our children’s college accounts. We want to give more to our church and to others in need. It’s a new year and I’m already excited about our money saving goals this year.
The new year is here, and there’s no better time to think about YOUR financial plan. Talking about money can be stressful, but SunTrust wants to continue to change the conversation on money with the onUp Movement.
While you are here, take this Mental Wealth Quiz. You may remember taking the quiz last year. If so, have your results changed?
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I wish the very best for you and your family this year!
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.