Budgets, family, featured, Holidays, Money, personal finance

Holiday Prep

No matter your income, the holidays can be a stressful event for you and your family. Over my few years of Motherhood, I’ve perfected my holiday prep and wish to share with you somethings that work for me.

When to Prep:

I actually plan the next holiday season at the end of the current. What I mean by that is, as I am putting up the Xmas decorations the day  after Thanksgiving; I share with the kids (my decorating partners) my ideas for the following year and we plan the color scheme and theme all at once. What this does is allows me the time I will need to shop for and obtain any additional essentials that I will need to have when decorating the following year. So, as a result, I am always one year ahead to the rush.

Creating Traditions:

Many families create different traditions that are practiced for generations. If you are new parents, come from a small family, or simply are integrating into a new culture, starting tradition early on helps to build and make it a standard in your life. What I mean by that is when you create a tradition, the first few years it may be exciting to practice (similar to working out), you might find your tradition necessary and wonder why you hadn’t thought of it earlier in your life. However, the more you practice this tradition, the less excitement you might have towards it. But, by integrating it into your standard of life, you create a reason for the tradition. In the end, your holiday season seems incomplete without the tradition and this makes it even more exciting to practice.

Including the Children & Family

Like I said earlier, my decorating partners are my children. Since my son could walk, he’s been helping with Xmas decorations. Currently, he is the one who puts up the tree and helps with color schemes. With my daughter (who’s 4 years old) being a new member of the family, she is the ‘Director of Ornaments’. No ornament goes up without her approval. Of course, my husband is the packing master; and once the holidays is over, it is his job to dissemble everything and put it all away. By integrating each family member into our holiday traditions and giving them a job to do, the holidays is filled with memories that we each can have throughout our lives.

Building Memories

The holidays is filled with rushed, planned, chaotic events, but in the end, all we’re really doing is building memories. If you think of it, each holiday is different, each member in your family is different, so in the end, one event is perceived in so many ways that it makes the moment even more magical. So, as you create those traditions and build those memories, don’t forget your camera to document those events.

Budget Wise

But of course, what holiday season goes by without the exchange of gifts. For some of us, this is the most hectic moment of the season. What do you get Grandma? Mom? The Little Princess? The Newly Turned Teen with the Attitude?

One secret I’ll share with you which works like magic is to purchase Xmas or holiday gifts when purchasing birthday gifts (unless their birthday is on Xmas). Believe it or not, I am stocking up on next year’s holiday gifts in the current season. I especially load up on gifts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Those two days allow me to shop and save. I know you might be thinking, but what about trends, style, popularity. Luckily for me and my family, it’s not that important; but if those factors are important to you and your family, shop for minor things on those days and save them for the next holiday season. For example, Barbie for little girls will always be popular, if you couldn’t get the ones you want for this season, stock up on some for next year using those super savings days. For boys, it’s Nerf, their collection can never be filled. So you know those two items will always be trendy items, so stock up.

Summer beach. Christmas.

Secondly, if you’re one of those families who takes vacations around the holidays, you know how expensive things can become. Here’s the  best way to combat this

  1. Create an account specifically for the holidays (or the vacation);
  2. Calculate the full costs for your holiday needs, i.e. flights, hotel, transportation, food, misc, gifts, etc.
  3. Divide that total by 9 (as you’ll be saving for a total of 9 months so that you can book and pay any deposits that might be necessary)
  4. Each month, deposit into the account the amount necessary to reach your total within the 9 month period
  5. As the time draws near, book your flights, make your hotel and any transportation reservations
  6. Make any and all purchases pertaining to the vacation from the account you setup as this will help with managing budgeting
  7. If you can, withdraw some cash and purchase prepaid cards for the kids to use while on vacation (this will lessen the extra money you might’ve spent and allow you to keep an eye on your budget)
  8. Pay for any and all final travel costs prior to leaving for your vacation
  9. Know that whatever balance is in the account is all you will use while on vacation, so spend wisely
  10. Travel safe and enjoy your holiday vacation, I’m pretty sure you and your family deserve it

 

Let’s Make it a Merry Season

Overall, the holiday season is about family, spending time together, and friendship, so let’s make it as merry as possible. Bring your smiles, laughter, and stories to those dinner parties. Share ideas with your girlfriends, and allow the men in your life to enjoy as much football as possible. This will help everyone enjoy the season and each other’s company even more.

I wish you a warm and loving holiday season.  Talk to you soon.

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