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Monthly Archives

December 2014

Money

6 Ways To Keep The Holidays From Ruining Your Financial Life

December 5, 2014

Most of us have gotten swept up into Holiday fever and blitzed our budgets in the process. All it takes is one well-played “Jingle Bell Rock” at the mall…and the next thing you know we are shopping zombies with an off-budget Pumpkin Spice Latte in one hand and six bags of off-budget purchases in the other.

Scary. Stuff.

What are we to do? How do we survive the Holiday season with an intact budget?

Today I want to share with you 6 ways to keep this year’s Holiday season from ruining your finances.

Budget!

First things first…you need a budget before you head into the deep end. Think of it as your life saver. The budget will give you freedom to set expenses aside for Holiday spending (gifts, travel, parties, and clothing) but also a hard stop so you know when you are done spending in those categories.

Sticking to the budget is the hardest part but it will prevent you from going over the deep end this year and derailing your other financial goals.

Planning!

“If you fail to plan you plan to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

A great way to stretch your holiday budget is to sit down with it and plan out how you will likely spend it. In addition to your monthly budget, Dave Ramsey even has an even more detailed Christmas Budgeting App specifically for tracking gift purchases per person you are shopping for this holiday season.

Sitting down with your realistic budget and making a plan for what you can afford and an idea of what you will get all the various people in your life is a great way to prevent a budget blow-out.

Know Thyself!

How tempted are you when you go out shopping? How will you make sure you are on budget?

If Black Friday will cause you to overspend and throw all caution to the wind…don’t go shopping that day. Perhaps you hit some deals up on Cyber Monday instead.

Or maybe you are the person who forgets your budget at home a lot. Perhaps you create multiple copies and have them in your purse…car…at work…just make sure you can’t forget it.

Basically know what your weaknesses are going to be and try to plan around them.

Become a Deal Shark!

It’s easy to bust through your budget for holiday spending whether it’ large or small. Becoming a deal shark will help you stretch your budget farther, making each dollar work hard for you!

Obvious days for snagging a deal are Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or each weekend leading up to Christmas. There will be sales and more sales you can shop during that time.

However, don’t forget Craigslist, eBay, or Thrift Stores for gently used items. The holidays are a time when some people are selling things just to get some extra cash in their pocket so you can snag a real deal. Or they are cleaning out the closets and donating great items to local thrift stores.

Make sure you capitalize on these deep discount opportunities before paying retail prices!

Get on Pintrest!

If your budget is really tight this year, maybe Christmas is going to be a craft. That doesn’t mean “cheap” or “bad” but it does mean you can make several gifts for a much lower cost than buying at the store.

Get on Pintrest and search for “DIY Christmas Ideas” or something along those lines and you will discover hundreds of blogs and articles. This is a great way to give highly personal gifts while staying within budget.

Stop fearing others!

For some, this might be the biggest hurdle to your holiday spending. It’s easy to fear what this or that person will think about your gifts, decorations, or holiday activities. It’s especially difficult if other people in our lives refuse to budget themselves, respect our budgets, or be grateful for whatever gifts we can afford this year.

When you are getting out of debt, there can absolutely be pressure to feel like you need to spend “x” amount on family because they spend “x” amount on you. Other people could resent you for something as silly as not spending as much on them as they spent on you. Oh well. That’s sometimes the reality and as long as you are doing what’s best for you and the budgeting goals you’ve got this year, you are doing an outstanding job.

No more keeping up with the Jones…not at the holidays and not ever! And hey, maybe later when you are in Baby Step 7 you can have a year where you’re incredibly generous with your family and friends for all the years you had to tightly reign things in! 🙂

Money

One Simple Tool to Keep Christmas from Breaking the Bank

December 2, 2014

It’s that wonderful time of the year once again…

Christmas time. Well actually it’s currently Advent but you know what I mean.

For some of you, it snuck up when you were least expecting it despite the fact that Christmas always falls on December 25th.

Oops.

I fully admit to being one of those people this year. Having a baby on November 10th meant that my time to mentally and financially prepare for Christmas sort of went out the window. Until yesterday…when we had the Teixeira Family Budget Committee Meeting and we had $0 in the Christmas category.

That means Christmas expenses are going to come solely from December’s budget…which is doable by cutting costs elsewhere but we should have saved for the past several months in smaller chunks.

I’ve read the statistics. The average household is planning to spend over $861 on Christmas gifts this year. To us that sounds like a LOT and we don’t plan on spending anywhere near that. To others that might be about right or nowhere close to what you plan to spend. We simply want to write this blog post to be a blessing to all of you, no matter what your Christmas budget may be this year.

For those who have saved up or are like us and all of a sudden need to squeeze Christmas into your December budget, there is a tool designed to help you keep track of your Christmas spending. This way Christmas spending can be budgeted and tracked – reducing damage to your bank account, financial peace, and relationships.

Why are we using Dave Ramsey’s My Christmas Budget web app, and why you should too:

1. No Fighting.

We don’t want to have any money fights associated with Christmas. Not only does setting aside a specific overall dollar amount cut down on the potential arguments but this app lets you break down spending by person or event on your list. That way you can’t even fight over how much to spend per person or worry about going over or under budget for the important people in your life.

2. No Guilt

Budgeting = Freedom. I can go to the mall and joyfully spend lots of money (to me) in one fell swoop without guilt since I know my budget won’t lead me into harms way. I can be guilt-free about walking to my car with a dozen store bags since I know it was all planned and accounted for. Ahhh, I can feel the peace now.

3. Keeps My List Organized

When I am out shopping I always forget who I am out shopping for or who I already bought gifts for etc. The app allows us to track who we’ve shopped for by name and even enter the details of what we purchased for them.

4. Balance and Intentionality

I love how the app allows me to take my overall Christmas Budget and spread it out over the people and gift exchanges I plan to be part of. This helps us think in advance about what we want to spend on certain people, why we want to spend that amount, and what items may fall into that budget realm….making shopping even easier.

That’s why we are using Dave’s Christmas Budgeting app and a few reasons why you ought to download it too!

Protip: You can use this website like an app by visiting it on your iPhone in Safari, then clicking the share button (square with an arrow coming out of it) then selecting “Add to Home Screen.”

Have a wonderful rest of your Advent season as you prepare for Christmas!

Adoption

3 Ways to Bless #BabyTex

December 1, 2014

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

We are INCREDIBLY grateful for the gift of Josephine Rose to our family this year and for EVERYONE who’s been part of this story.

We wanted to wrap up our adoption journey with a final post on how YOU can bless Miss Josie as she enters our family.

Her adoption is something that has moved, inspired, and touched many of you. We weren’t alone in this ride…we were accompanied by so many of you every step of the way who are as thankful as we are for her arrival.

You cheered us on.

You spoke encouragement to us.

You blessed us immensely.

Now we want to give you 3 final ways you can bless #BabyTex as she settles into our home.

1. Pray

Please join us in prayer for Josie – that she would grow up to be a disciple of Christ and a radiant and bright light in our world and for all eternity.

If you wish to say a formal prayer, here is a novena to the Holy Spirit you can pray for her.

You can let us know if you prayed for her specifically and we will record it so later on she can know how many others have prayed for her life.

2. Write to us

Josie’s story really touched and impacted many of you…and some have reached out to tell us exactly how her life and this adoption journey has affected you.

If you haven’t told us yet how much this journey has meant to you or inspired you, let us know, so we can share those stories with Josie as she grows up.

3. Donate

We just got the final bills in the mail from the adoption agencies….to the tune of several thousand dollars just as we had estimated.

This third and final way of blessing Baby Tex is by participating in our Adoption Puzzle fundraiser so we can write your name on the back of the puzzle and show Josie that YOU played a significant role in bringing her home. The puzzle is 79% complete…so really close to being complete!

Though no the most important, this is the most practical and tangible of ways to express your thanks. It alleviates the financial pressure that adoption can be on our family and we couldn’t be more thankful to have your participation in this way.

We literally can’t wait for the day when we get to show Josie the back of this puzzle…with all the names of individuals and families who cared so much about her they wanted to bring her home. That will be a cool day indeed.

Thank you all again for joining our journey!

Have a wonderful week and thanks for taking the time to bless Josie!