This time of year it is easy to overspend and over stress. Recently, I wrote about three ways to have a stress free and affordable holiday season here and I’ve been doing my best to follow them.
The three tips came recommended by SunTrust Bank on being meaningful with your means and cutting out stress this season. Check out their site on meaningful holidays here. They are: You, Together, and Give. This post serves as an update and has even more details on how I’m making our holidays at the Fowler family household as stress-free, affordable, and meaningful as possible.
Tip 1: YOU. This tip was to focus on how to cut things out that don’t really matter and simplify everything else. Well many of you know that our baby came 3 weeks early, so I was unprepared for her to be here during the Thanksgiving holiday. Yet, because I had planned a lot of things out early and cut out a lot of plans we were still able to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving full of family, fun, and food…All with a beautiful precious baby! We got together with extended family for many meals and weren’t asked to provide anything (due to having a newborn) which was great!
I had outlined the Black Friday deals I wanted, and had been keeping a Christmas gift list and shopping in advance so Thanksgiving was relatively stress-free. We spent the whole weekend with my family and didn’t worry about buying too much except a few amazing deals on Black Friday. Black Friday was relaxed because I was prepared (guide on how to shop Black Friday efficiently here). I did the majority of shopping online and made a few purchases at stores nearby.
Now on to Christmas preparations… I’ve been slowly yet steadily crossing off the to-do list and cutting unnecessary things out of my life this year.
Instead of mailing out Christmas cards I’m going to be emailing them out or hand delivering them. Christmas decorations will be put up in the next few days. I haven’t gotten my neighborhood newsletter and gifts out quite yet, but they will be easy (similar to these) and I’ve already gotten a start. I do have the majority of my Christmas shopping done so all I have to do is wrap the gifts.
I have cut out a lot of the stress because I started my planning and preparing early. I also set a budget for each person’s gift (I recommend this free holiday budget calculator here), so I haven’t gone over the budget, and I’m feeling quite satisfied with the remaining things I have left to accomplish.
For New Year’s Eve, I will be going out to eat with family and celebrating the new year at home or at a friend’s house. I will also be making resolutions that are attainable and realistic. Keeping New Year’s Eve simple and laid-back after two big holidays is my preference.
SunTrust also has a site on how to save and been meaningful with your means this holiday, check it out here.
Tip 2: TOGETHER. This tip is to focus on spending precious holiday time together with people you love. So far we had a great time spending each day over the Thanksgiving weekend with family. I also had a blast with best friends at a charity festival full of Christmas trees, centerpieces, performances, etc.
Although Christmas activities with a newborn are somewhat limited, here are a few more things we will be doing: we will be making hot chocolate and decorating the tree; driving around while listening to Christmas music and viewing the lights; making cookies; visiting temple square to see the nativity; and attending a free concert or two. All of these activities have been and will be free.
For Christmas Eve dinner the extended family is divvying up the meal, so I will only be in charge of contributing one item, which is inexpensive and easy to do. We also put on a nativity play with the grandkids and great-grandkids which is also free. Christmas day will be relaxing, opening gifts, eating, and simply enjoying each other’s company the rest of the day.
I usually spend New Year’s Eve with my sister, and family. New Year’s day, I make resolutions and review the previous year by writing down my ten favorite memories and my ten goals for the coming year. It is free, enjoyable, and productive.
Tip 3 GIVE: Giving is so important to being able to enjoy the season. I was able to get our annual Christmas donation for a hospital charity done during the Thanksgiving weekend. Also, over Thanksgiving my family was able to put together a few large boxes and ship living supplies, food, and toys to people in Venezuela who are in need. We are also planning on donating some money to a few families who need help with gifts.
Giving to those in need along with giving gifts to those I love and spending time with family are my favorite parts of the holidays!!
So far the the efforts I’ve been making based on SunTrust Bank’s 3 tips have really helped me have an enjoyable, meaningful, and affordable holiday season thus far. SunTrust has tons of other ideas on how to save money and combat stress complete with info graphics, facts, and tips found here.
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At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.
To get started visit holidaymeans.com
Meaningful spending made easy with our holiday planning guide. Download here
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.
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