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How to save your money and sanity for a joyous holiday

How to save your money and sanity for a joyous holiday

Be a good rebel and undo the holidays spending tradition in an awesome way to save your money, sanity and stress this holiday season.

Have you had THE conversation yet with those whom you exchange gifts with this year?  If approached genuinely and diplomatically on how to save everyone’s money, stress, and sanity for a joyous holiday, you’ll be the life of the party, a hero!

First of all, nobody likes to get into debt to buy gifts. Secondly, nobody likes to sit in traffic, find parking, fight to crowd, get a super stressed out cashier who would rather be anywhere but there. Thirdly, these gifts will end up given away, regifted, donated because let's face it, we don’t have the funds to get those exact items on someone's true wish list unless they're your immediate family, who does? So we settled for some token gifts. I’m not against gift-giving, but I’m proposing that we re-think the kinds of gifts we give and why we give them.

Giving out of obligation is no fun. Giving out of guilt is doubly worse, and it's only benefitting the giant conglomerates and businesses.  

In my humble opinion, I’m suggesting that you have that conversation with your family members, your sisters, brothers, and friends that you’ll exchange e-cards or printed cards for the grown-ups. The nieces and nephews under a certain age, maybe under 13 years old, will get something they can benefit from like books/ebook, gift cards, you know your family more than anyone so discuss what’s appropriate with the parents. This way, you won’t wrack your brain trying to figure out what to get and overspend, or worse yet, just become a silent scrooge without discussing it with your siblings.

Once you have that conversations about gifts. Let's look at the numbers. Use my Gift Budget Printable Sheet to plan your gift budgets and who will be on it.

Gift budget and recipient Planner


BUDGET: First thing first. It’s about about a budget so figure out what you can afford in December. Whatever you do, please don’t rack up a debt that makes you have a cardiac arrest when you get the statements in January. 


GIFT LIST:  Who’s made it on your list this year and who gets the cards? Do they fit in with your budget list that you just made? 


Once you made your budget and the gift recipients, here are some less stress gift ideas:

LESS STRESS GIFT IDEAS: These are some ideas to give the Christmas cheers year round, especially if you don’t live in the same area as your relatives and friends. There are a few benefits to this gift giving hack because for one, you get to spread the costs year round, so not all expenses hit at once, but the best part is the gifts are these experiences that you’ll have together with your loved ones. I especially like the time-specific promise gift notes to do something for someone. Get my printable Gift Promised Note and ideas below:

Choose to spend time with the young nephews and nieces as gifts. I take mine once a year out to a bookstore and they get under $25 to buy what they want. Afterwards, I take them out to ice-cream or lunch. It’s a win-win because we get to spend time together and they get the gifts they wan

Take family vacations instead of big gifts. For examples, our kids still got stocking stuffers and books, but we went on our family vacations to Vietnam, Hawaii, and France for several Christmas holidays

TIME-SPECIFIC PROMISE NOTES Click here to my printable Gift notes 

Christmas gift Note

Christmas gift Note

  • Offer young parents babysitting time. I know I loved it when our kids were younger and that allowed us to have a parents night out without costing us a fortune for babysitting. 
  • Offer older parents minor house maintenance projects that they can’t do anymore like changing the light bulbs, fixing the gate that won’t close properly, leaky faucets, etc.
  • Offer pets sitting credits with family and friends who have pets while they travel for work or leisure 
  • Offer mail pickup or housesitting for those who travel for work or leisure
  • Offer to water someone’s gardens and houseplants when they travel 
  • Offer family and friends to take them to lunch, drinks, desserts, dinners, movies so you can spend time with them throughout the years
  • Offer to go hiking, camping, ballgames, or any other outdoors activities with family and friends
  • Offer someone for a home cooked meal, baked goods, or morning coffees for a colleague, etc.


Give certificates to climbing gym sessions, yoga sessions, mani-pedis, massages

SHOP ONLINE whenever possible to avoid driving stress, gas, and time which you can’t take back for more enjoyable activities like spending time on the floor with your toddlers, or having a chat on the phone with your grown children or siblings

  • Ask yourself before a purchase whether it’s a need or a want and its effect on your budget
  • If you must purchase an item, put it in the shopping cart and after a few weeks, if you still need it, then by all means buy it
  • Remember, if you purchase one item, look to get rid of at least one other like item to avoid clutter. Out with the old pair black ballet flat!

INVOLVE FAMILY & FRIENDS in gift makings and giving. Make edible treats for gifts, usable items that people will actually want to have. Be mindful with scented items because not everyone likes what we like to smell or put on ourselves. (Get my soap recipe and wax candles making tips How to lovingly make adorable soaps that everyone loves)

  • Give kids a budget for their friends and work with them on how to make choices on gifts
  • Please teach kids to write thank you notes. These are very important steps to walk through with young children about being appreciative and showing it thoughtfully.
  • Ask friends what they would like from you. A recipe? A lunch date? A coffee date? Your favorite cookies? I think it’s always a good idea to ask people what they would like instead of assuming what they’d like to receive
  • Be gracious if someone gives you a gift even if you asked them not to. Don’t deprive their joy of giving

DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE (Get my Free Ebooklet to start practicing minimalism)

Spend 30 minutes each day in one area to purge what you no longer need

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