What’s Happening with the Corum Crew
Celebrating the Holidays on a Budget!
Take the stress out of January! The beginning of a new year should truly be about a new beginning. However, as consumers, we can look forward to the credit card bills rolling in about the middle of January. What a great reminder of how much money we spent during the holidays! Why not take this holiday season to make a change? Consumerism has truly taken over what should be a season of reflection and family togetherness. We live in an environment controlled by the stuff “we must have”. But, ask yourself tough questions, like “Why MUST I have that?” or “I already have several of these, why do I need more?” or “Do I really need that?” or “What is THAT truly going to do for me?” or “Am I even going to use this?” You will probably discover that the answer to most of these questions is “no I really don’t need it or I probably won’t even use it”. A better question to ask yourself is, “Is it really worth getting into further debt just to have stuff I truly don’t need?” Most of us can look around our homes and see things that we bought that we thought were going to be GREAT and things that were going to make life EASIER. But, in reality they are just things that are probably collecting dust.
It’s not too late to assess your holiday budget and take time to reflect on what is important and how you can make some changes this season that will make life better in the New Year for you and your loved ones. As a family, this holiday season is going to look a lot different from one’s past for the Corum Crew. We recognize that we have gone overboard every year since our children were born. We also know that if we don’t start making changes now then the expectations of our children are going to grow each and every year. Following are just a few tips that may help us and you establish a plan for a delightful and less stressful holiday season.
1. Set a firm budget. Decide exactly how much CASH (yes cash…credit cards should not be an option!) you have available to spend for the month of December. You have to include everything from your mortgage, your utilities, your gas and your groceries, and any other monthly expenses you normally have. And, this would also include any credit card payments you will have to make as well. You may have to look at previous months to determine what your average spend is for each of these. The cash you have left over is all you have to spend on Christmas gifts.
2. Make a list of the loved ones who you MUST buy for. You may find that that you cannot afford to buy for everyone on your list. It may be time to have a family conference call to say you are making a change this year. I think you will find others in your family who agree that a change is necessary.
3. Talk to your kids. Be honest and up front with your children. You might even have to explain that you have made mistakes in the past and you want to show them now, before it’s too late, what the true meaning of Christmas is.
4. Celebrate advent with your family. We began this a couple of years ago. We have a book that we follow along each evening during the advent season. This includes activities and meal suggestions. But, the best thing about celebrating advent is doing it with your family!
5. Simplify! Most of us are guilty of having too much or overdoing it! I have 2 thoughts here that I would like to share in regards to simplifying:
*Sell your abundance. We all have stuff that we don’t use anymore! It may be clothing, accessories or things around the house that we simply don’t need. There are great avenues to sell things that someone else may have a need for. We recently sold some clothing on EBay and made several hundred dollars!
* Pass it on. We have a crawl space in our basement that is half full of Christmas decorations! We are talking more Rubbermade totes than you will find on sale the day after Christmas at Walmart! Yes, we love to decorate for Christmas but at some point it’s time to say enough is enough! We have to go through the totes and save the items that mean the most and give-a-way the rest…or even sell them!
6. Find a part-time seasonal job. If you are still coming up short, then you may want to find a seasonal position somewhere to earn some extra money for the holidays. There are plenty of retailers hiring this time of year. But, you may not be able to work outside of your home. If you need extra income, then you may consider joining my team! You will be your own boss, have the potential of earning as much money as you desire based on the efforts you put in to it and the best part is you will hold yourself accountable for your own fitness goals during the most difficult time of the year to do so!
7. Plan your meals. The most important thing here is to stay home! Eat in! Not only will you save money but you will eat healthier and cleaner. Keep your meal planning simple by creating a repetitive menu of meals that your family enjoys. Sitting around the table together as a family is the perfect time to reflect on your day, the season and the year. Talk about past Christmas memories and establish new traditions.
8. Be creative. Most of us believe that we don’t have a creative bone in our bodies. However, there are lots of resources, like Pinterest, that have great ideas for low cost gift ideas that you can make yourself…or your children can make for others. The most meaningful gifts are usually those that are made by the hands of loved ones.
9. 10. Forget the hustle and bustle. It’s busy everywhere and every hour of the day during the holidays. Getting out in the thick of this only creates stress and exhaustion. Again, family time will be more memorable and enjoyable. Think of ways you can enjoy spending time together as a family without having to fight crowds and traffic. Our family loves to drive around our neighborhood and look at Christmas lights. A couple of years ago, we began a new tradition of making homemade ornaments and leaving them with the families of whose homes we enjoy looking at the most. Our kids love to do this. Also, family game time, watching Hallmark Christmas movies, and baking cookies together are favorite activities of ours during the season.
10. Don’t forget the reason for the season. We celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! If we keep ourselves focused on what the true meaning of Christmas is, then we are more likely to stay on track with our budget.
Why is it that we have made the “holidays” the most stressful time of the year? It’s time to take the HOLIDAYS back! Make a change this year. You will be blessed and you are sure to bless others around you. Look forward to the new beginning but don’t forget to reflect on the past. Start meaningful traditions that will become treasures to you and to your family.
Tim and Shanna