Ways to Budget for Christmas and Life
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Corinthians 9:8
When there’s more month than money, and the mason jar full of just-in-case coins is empty, what can you do today to reign in your spending and stay afloat this holiday season? Below are five ways:
Go back to cash
When we lived overseas, we were paid in dollars, which made for very short paychecks. For a while, we panicked. But once we prayed about our situation, we realized we could return to what we did when we were first married: pay in cash. Touted by Crown Financial Ministries, we took out our money and distributed it into discretionary envelopes (gas, grocery, miscellaneous, clothing, out to dinner, lunches, medical). Then we spent the cash as we needed it. If we didn’t have money in the food envelope toward the end of the month, we “robbed” from the out to dinner envelope. Plus, paying in cash hurt much more than simply handing a plastic card across the payment threshold. We become more careful with what we spent because we felt the weight of each expenditure.
This Christmas season, place all your gift money as cash into an envelope. Pray about creative ways to spend your cash. A helpful and insightful book you can read for inspiration is Unplug the Christmas Machine.
Pay off credit
Want to pay yourself great interest? Make it a goal to pay off your credit cards. Often those interest rates exceed any CDs or mutual fund returns by far. Forgo going out or buying new things for as many months you need to pay off your cards. And once they’re paid off, cut all of them up except one. Determine to pay that one off every month.
I know this is hard to do around Christmas time. But really, when is a good time? If you’d like financial freedom so that next year’s Christmas isn’t as tight, start now.
Make a budget
Are you living from month to month? Do you know how much you make and how much you spend every month? If you don’t, now is the time to figure that out. Record your expenditures for one month. If there’s more month than money, you have two options: make more money, or spend less. For budget help, go to www.daveramsey.com. But don’t simply create a budget for budget’s sake. Think of a goal you’d like to aim for. Here are several goals to save for:
- Three months’ reserve income
- Children’s education
- Debt retirement
- Pay off mortgage
You can even create a budget for your gift expenditures for Christmas and birthdays.
Buy some seeds
Grocery bills got you down? Have a little bit of earth? (Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow gardens on windowsills.) Consider buying seeds:
- Lettuce grows well nearly all four seasons. (In winter, try “winterwunder” fromwww.territorialseed.com.) One packet costs about the same as one head of lettuce, but will yield fifty heads!
- Any kind of squash is easy to grow, and fun for the kids.
- For the price of one package of basil, you can create hundreds of plants. (Simply place sprigs of basil in jars of water until they root. Then plant!) Later you can make homemade pesto for friends as gifts.
- Planting spring bulbs or amaryllis in a nicely decorated pot makes a great hostess gift for the holidays.
Don’t have room for a garden? Consider joining forces with other families to join a farm co-op. You will get fresh fruit and vegetables, without pesticides, for a competitive rate. Or look into farm shares.
Consider the value of planting seeds. We plant to harvest, and often a harvest means we are then able to give some of it away. It’s the same with our money. Even when money is tight and we’re struggling to make ends meet, consider finding little bits of excess to bless someone else. Giving from your abundance takes away a depression-era hoarding mentality. It frees you to live joyfully in the present in the midst of trying financial times, particularly at Christmas. Involve your kids in deciding how they’d like to spend a little excess money to bless someone else.
Spending the cash you have, eliminating debt, establishing a budget, planting your own groceries, and giving away from your abundance will help you keep your head in this crazy economy. Remember, too, that God will take care of you. He sees You. And He loves you!
Find a gift from this catalog to bless a child around the world. Involve your family in deciding what you’d like to give.
Find more from Mary at her website: www.marydemuth.com.
Photo cc by Kasaa on Flickr.
- Andrew MasonUncommon Gratitude http://andrewsmason.com/uncommon-gratitude/ #HappyThanksgiving
- Andrew MasonCreating A Small Group Curriculum Map by Ben Reed http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/creating-a-small-group-curriculum-map/
- Marcella WoodridgeThe longer I live the more I know I need GOD leading my life every step of the way.
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia Carter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost May Jesus Christ Be The Ultimate Treasure We Always Seek by Debbie Harris..
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost Father Who Can We Graciously And Humbly Walk Beside Today Just To Love by Debbie Harris.
- Bryce Johnson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost 13 Resources For Ministry Leaders Who Struggle with Porn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Expert Reveals Biggest Concern About Youngsters And Social Media.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Half (54%) Of US Teens Think Life Would Be Better Without Social Media.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Roy Lichtenstein's Most Popular Painting is Displayed.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost After Confronting Campus Bully, HS Football Player Gets Suspended.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Conservative Student Is Victim Of ‘Racist Rape Apologist’ Attack Fliers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Yik Yak app Putting Teens Behind Bars, Police Warn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression.
- Andrew Shivers just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost GIVEAWAY: Win a Framed “The Fault in Our Stars” FULL SIZE Movie Poster [Winner Chosen].
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost ‘Boxtrolls:’ Incredible Animation, Charmless Story.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: Dad Lip-Syncs Daughter's Tantrum.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost SOTW: ‘Chasing After The Wind’ by Alan Powell (Free Friday Download).
- Matt Perman published the blogpost The Drive Video: If You Want Engagement, Self-Direction is Better.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: The Unexpected Earl by Philippa Jane Keyworth.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost ‘Believe Me': Alum’s thought-provoking film now in theaters.
- Michael Ramsey published the blogpost Stress Kills!!! Here's 3 Ways To Do Something About It.
- Larry Carter published the blogpost How The New Fall TV Season Reminds Me Of The Gospel.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost 20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Hellion’ is A Wild, Family-Driven Ride Worth Taking.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is Cool, Uncommitted.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost “Kidnapped for Christ” Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Talking about cancer on WFAA’s ‘Two Chairs’ series.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Get Excited: New ‘Believe Me’ Trailer Validates Everything We Thought.