Sunday, December 02, 2007

Spend Less

The Advent Conspiracy gives a simple, yet compelling reason for spending less during Christmas.

Part of saying “yes” to Jesus means that we say “no” to over-spending. We say “no” to over consumption.

Sounds easy, but we all know better. How do we walk out spend less in a nation that thrives on bigger, better and more.

Here are a couple of ideas I came up with to "spend less."

Give Less Gifts
Many families I know give each child just three gifts, just like baby Jesus received. Think quality, not necessarily quantity.

Have a Budget
It is so easy to overspend when you don't have a set amount of what you can afford to spend...without going into debt. Get rid of the notion you need to spend the same amount of money on every kid.

Make a List
When I know exactly what I'm looking for it keeps me from buying just whatever looks good at the time. When I'm focused on finding specific items I'm less likely to overspend.

Have a 7th Heaven Christmas
One of my favorite shows used to be 7th Heaven. At Christmas, this family had a unique approach to gift giving. This family with five children drew names and could only give a gift that met one of three criteria: The gift had to be something handmade, something they owned and wanted to give away or they could give an act of service.

We used this concept years ago with our small group and gave them the same guidelines. It was so fun the night of our party to see the creativity and thought that went into every one's gifts. There were homemade cookies and candies by the gourmet cooks, a custom-designed tee shirt by the graphic designer in the group, and a kayak trip with the outdoorsman to name a few of the great gifts from that night.

How do you plan to Spend Less this Christmas?


Melissa said...

I'm so glad you asked because I am very excited this year! We tied the majority of our gift giving into our Advent celebration. Each night we pray for a family member and make them something. Last night we made votive candle holders with tissue paper and glitter glue (most of which we already had on hand). As the girls are crafting I read scripture verses and we decide as a family which verse we would like to write on that person's card, letting them know it is specifically for him or her. Some projects are a bit more expensive than others, but they are all homemade and most are under $5. I will add that my girls are grown up enough now that their gifts don't look like a little kid made them (I help #3 a bit)! I actually want them to make ME a set of candle holders (I'll be posting pictures later!).

My biggest downfall at Christmas? I LIKE to shop. I really do. It is like a hobby and it is so much fun. But, moving taught me a lesson. We had TOO much STUFF. The people at The Salvation Army gave me my own honorary parking space and know me by name. I've had to really exercise self control (which means not even going out to stores at all). Kohl's especially. It costs me about $100 an hour to go there!

The Gang's All Here! said...

We actually had the kids draw names among the four of them to give gifts to each other. The stipulation was that it has to be under $10, their own money, or something they make themselves. And we asked them to do 1 group gift from them to me and 1 to The Boss. We are also cutting way back on extended family, doing a "family" themed gift for the cousins. The biggest stressor: I haven't been able to even start yet - circumstances beyond my control! And I'm trying not to FREAK out about it :)