December 22, 2016

Stretch Your Pennies: Holiday Saving Tips

How do you determine your holiday shopping budget? If you're anything like me this year, you might have found yourself scrambling at the last minute and end up spending more than you intended for rush shipping, settling for less than personal generic gift selections, etc. 

Maybe you're one of those people who shops all through the year and right about now, you are sitting back drinking egg nog while the poor procrastinators like me are running around like mad. Don't rub it in. 

The bottom line is that we want the holidays to feel special. And while the love we feel for those we hold dear can't be summed up in a package or gift bag, it still feels awfully great to see their faces light up when they unwrap something they were hoping for. 

No matter what your shopping habits or style, it's never a bad time to think about your budget. 

Are you familiar with the 50/20/30 rule? Not only is this a handy way to keep your holiday shopping in check, but it's also helpful to remember all year long as you are managing your money. 

I've never been so great at budgets. I've always been more the type of person who tried to save some, but didn't really track my spending. The times I have really paid close attention, it was crazy to see where my moolah went. 

My husband and I have been making a more conscious effort to cook meals at home as opposed to grabbing lunch or dinner out. This has made a huge difference in our health as well as our pocketbook. We love to treat ourselves to a special dinner at our favorite restaurants, but we're trying to meal plan and bargain shop for the most part. 

I'm always reminded of that Bible verse in Luke that says "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..." There have been times when I've had little as well as times when I had a little more. But I want to be a good steward of my resources, from my talents to my funds. 

Last night, after dinner with my best friend (her treat!), our server followed us outside the restaurant with nearly tears in his eyes and said to my friend "God bless you. Thank you so much." She had given him a considerable tip as part of an idea she and her 9 year old are trying called "Secret Heart Santa." They are being generous this holiday season, as their hearts lead them to be, and trying to do it in a secret way. This also included paying for another family's Christmas tree. 

Of course she wouldn't want me bragging on her, but this warmed my heart so much and reminded me of exactly why I want to be a good steward of my resources. So that when my heart leads me, I can give generously without hesitation.

Thanks to Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, for the infographic and inspiration for this post.  I was not compensated for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own