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Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas and Staying on a Budget

This is the first year I've actually tried to stick to a budget with Christmas.  It's not that I ever went crazy or anything but I just didn't keep track of expenses in prior years.  This year I set an arbitrary budget of $500 for all family and that was meant to include shipping expenses.  We went over budget by $55.61 and quite frankly I could have stayed on budget because I was tracking all the way through Christmas Eve but for some reason I panicked that we didn't have enough presents for the kids and so I overspent at Target AND went to Big Lots and bought 3 more 10 dollar toys.  It was unnecessary because they were more than happy with their other presents. 

Advice to myself for next year:
  • Start earlier with a plan and stick to it!
  • Husband and I have agreed to one big present for each child, it might be something we suggest family go in on but it will be one toy item that they can get excited about.
  • All other items should be stocking stuffers or family presents.  I had the idea to pack one box with family style gifts that could include board games, movies, family calendar from Shutterfly, etc. 
Gifts for extended family:
This year we did plan early and made Peppermint bark and Apple Cinnamon Jelly for our extended family.  It was an awesome way to quickly pack a box and ship to family who are not local.  The part that put me way behind was photos.  I love to pack and send out photos to my Texas family but it takes some serious planning to make sure every family gets the right photos, one of each child, etc.  I spent extra time scanning photos and ordering them from Shutterfly.  It was disappointing when the wallets never even showed up - still need to call Shuttefly about that.  If I can plan this part earlier then I can ship earlier and avoid the more expensive fees that happened this year from shipping right on the deadline!

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