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{day 11}: develop & stick with a budget

Author’s note: Check out the start of my minimalist holiday series if you haven’t yet so you can follow along with us! The authors of Minimalist Parenting are hosting a holiday email series that starts on November 25th, so you can sign up to read what they have to say too.

I am an impostor when it comes to the subject of budgeting. I struggle with maintaining a budget; what I am good at is making excuses for my purchases. But I try! There are others with great ideas for holiday budgeting, and I will share a few of those resources here today.

  • Organized Home offers holiday tools that help you keep a running total of holiday spending and make a holiday grand plan.
  • Asha of Parent Hacks has a great article about how you can make the decision to buy or not to buy, arguing that minimizing the holidays doesn’t means that you have to eschew all stuff. 
  • If and when you decide to buy new things, check out The Art of Simple’s Ethical Shopping Guide. It includes products that didn’t involve child labor, conflict, or environmentally unsound ingredients.
  • Check out LearnVest, which offers a 4-day email Debt-Free Life bootcamp (along with Real Simple) to help you get on track financially.

 My goal is not to control all spending but to celebrate the holidays within our means. Then comes the hard part for me, which is having the discipline to stick with the plan. When in doubt, I just stick with the shopping mantra, “I already have nice things.”

I came up against the desire for new stuff recently when I saw this Hanna Andersson dress that I really wanted for Vivi. I kept going back to the site for a week, hemming and hawing about whether or not we really needed it. Would it improve our lives? Even on sale, $42 seemed like a lot to spend on one dress. I ended up trying to find one used; I had to go to our local children’s consignment shop twice, but I found one!

Often the most cherished gifts are ones that don’t cost a lot and involve the whole family. I recently shared how we plan to buy frugal, yet thoughtful gifts for the girls at Christmas. I’m introducing the concept that Santa and his elves are into The Three Rs, meaning that they not only make toys in their workshop but also repair and clean broken toys.