The Holiday season has official begun and the shopping season is right around the corner. My family and I are already planning our meals, decorations, gifts, and travel. This, of course, costs money so I have to make a holiday spending plan and decide how much I want to budget.
Years ago it freaked me out to think about all the money that was flying out of my bank account. These days I feel calmer because I know that giving (spending) only means I’ll be receiving that much more in return. That is a mindset shift I hope to share more with you in the coming year. But back to the holiday spending plan.
The first thing to do is decide how much you want or have saved to spend for the holidays. If you were smart you opened a holiday savings account at the beginning of the year. I honestly didn’t do that but I will next year.
You can follow my lead if you didn’t do it but opening a free savings account with Ally bank or Capital One. Both are online and you can move you money in and out quite easily. You can also set up automatic drafts so the money comes out of your paycheck and it’s out of your mind so you don’t miss it. What a surprise it will be when you check the account in November and see all that money sitting there.
Now that you know how much you want to spend you can list all the categories you will be using the money for. Will you be cooking meals, decorating your home, buying gifts for anyone other than the kids, or traveling? List all the activities and then move on to the next step, dividing the money.
How much you choose to spend for each category is completely up to you. You might decide to do an even split across the categories. You may decide to use 50% of the money for the gifts then split the rest across the other categories. You have options.
For food you could use coupons and shop the sales to keep costs low. You may only have to buy a few ingredients because you are going to eat with family and only need to bring one dish. There will be sales all during the month of November and December so head over to your top three favorite stores’ website and look at the flyers and/or download their app.
For decoration you can use what you had last year and simply add a few items that rounds out the look you are going for. Making decorations with the kids is a fun activity. You can make snowflakes, ornaments, and garland with material you have on hand. You can also make decorated gifts to give to teachers, grandparents, and friends. The kids would absolutely love and feel they are a big part of the gift giving process. It doesn’t have to cost much but the value of a handmade gift is priceless!
If you are planning to travel be sure to check out travel deals on Groupon Travel, Expedia, or your favorite airline website. If you are traveling by car map out your trip using AAA’s travel planner or simply download the Waze app from the App Store or Play Store to get you to your destination. With the Waze app you can add stops and look for gas stations and food options along the way. It is my favorite GPS app. You should look me up and friend me on it.
Now that you have a budget, have set your categories, and know how to look for savings you can finalize your holiday spending plan. It does not have to be a long process but it does require you to be decisive so you remain in control of your purse strings. You can face the Holiday with confidence know you will not be in debt repayment mode for the new year.
If you need additional help creating a budget you can use the budget calculator below. Just enter your numbers and click the calculate button at the end.
I wish you a very happy holiday season and many blessings in the new year!
Happy New Year and welcome to a fresh start! Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.
Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.
We get to write a new story for a new chapter of our lives. There are a lot of opinions about how to make it a great year, how to keep your resolutions, and how to be successful. There are even these lists of 17 things floating around for how to make 2017 great.
Personally, I get overwhelmed with a list that’s over five items so to keep it simple for everyone I only have three things to do to make 2017 the best ever.
Here are my top three tips for how to have the best new year ever
1. Stop caring about what other people think
As I get older I care less and less about what other people think, but this year I cared way too much. Big mistake. I was miserable trying to keep up with the opinions of others. That was a total failure.
This year I’m pulling the rug out from under the opinions of others who are not where I want to be or have not experienced what I have experienced. I’m taking the attitude of Trust, but verify. I have to do a gut check to see if what others are saying, the advice they are handing out like lollipops, is worth the time and energy to follow.
Take a page out of my book and just stop caring about what other people think. Start following your heart instead. You know the answers and if you don’t pray for wisdom and trust that God will give you the right answers and send the right people your way.
2. Do you (improve along the way)
We live in such a copycat world right now that it’s hard to know what is genuinely you and what is someone else’s influence. Social media plays a huge part in this phenomenon. However, you have to decide to do what you do best and forget about the rest.
Embrace your personality, your quirks, even your dark side. In the process, you will learn to trust and love yourself more so you have more to give your children and the world when it’s time. The hidden benefit of doing you is your level of self-acceptance increases.
When you accept yourself it is easier to make small improvements along the way. It is fun and you don’t feel the pressure of having to change because someone else said you should.
3. Plan for success and focus only on what you want
Finally, make a plan for success. How?
Simply decide what you want for the year (I suggest the top 3 things), write it down and post where you will see it each day.
The next thing is to focus only on what you want and ignore the rest. You almost have to have tunnel vision so you can’t see the distractions or the B.S. that is constantly coming up. This is the key and what they mean about living your life on purpose.
If you want to go to school put it on the list. Start with getting information about the school, programs, and enrollment dates. Talk to an adviser about your goals. Then register for a class to test out whether it is right for you.
Just stay focused on the activities that will get you toward your goals. Let the rest fall our of your view.
If you do these three things for the first three months of the year, the rest of the year will be on fire! Amazing! Unstoppable!
Want to learn the secrets to Unstoppable Power?
Grab my course, How to Unleash Your Unstoppable Power, for only $.99 (plus you get unlimited access to 1,000s of other courses for 3 months)! In my course you will discover the 16 steps to living fearlessly and authentically for the rest of your life, one day at a time.
Today is the start of the 12 Days of Christmas and the best time to share my last minute holiday gift ideas with you. I’ve broken it down to Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, and Gifts for everyone. You can check out my other holiday shopping posts Gift Guide for Busy Moms and Affordable Last Minute Gift Ideas guide. May you have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!
Here are a few last minute gifts for your mom, daughter, best friend, or co-workers to enjoy. You can buy them online at Amazon.com, on the product website, or in the store. It all depends on the way you like to shop. If you shop online be sure to check on Ebates.com to see if there are any cash back deals for the online store you are shopping at.
iLuminate 22pc Makeup Brush Set
This makeup brush set is for professional makeup artists and at-home beauty fanatics alike. It includes 22 extra soft brushes conveniently stored in a sleek faux-leather rollout pouch. It includes a carry and travel case plus a cleaning tool. Great for practicing all the makeup techniques you learned on YouTube.
If you are anything like me, you use your phone’s camera to check or reapply your makeup. The only problem is there is no light to
really see all the details. The iLuminate travel mirror has a LED light with a regular and magnified mirror so you can get in really close. This will probably be shared between me and my daughter for those quick makeup checks.
Nobody likes acne scars, especially teen girls. Get her this acne scar kit to help clear up her skin so it has a fresh glow. I like to keep things simple and have taught my daughter to do the same. Fortunately, we both have pretty clear skin but occasionally a pimple will leave a scar. This kit contains Pumpkin Enzyme repair cream and vitamin C serum to help the scars fade.
Clip-on jewelry is the first fashionable accessible accessory to women’s bras, tank tops, dresses and tops. It also clips onto swimwear, bikini tops and bikini bottoms, purses, scarves, and boots. You can also wear it in your hair as a delicate new hair accessory.
Created in Los Angeles California. The Jewel Bouquet sells around $25.00 – $30.
Blob Tagua Ring is 100% natural, sustainable, organic, vegan and biodegradable. The rings are designed in Vermont and ethically handmade in Colombia from “dried tagua seeds” (AKA “vegetable ivory —our raw material). Dried Tagua seeds are very similar to ivory in color, texture, and hardness. It would make a unique, original and affordable stocking stuffer.
If you are anything like me it can be challenging to find something that the guy on your list will love. It could be your dad, uncle, son, cousin, boss, or boyfriend. Here are a few last minute gift ideas that don’t include ties, socks, or electronics.
My nephews and quite a few men I know are into the colorful socks that are in style now. They add personality and flair to their usually boring suits and dress clothes. Vybe offers socks for men and boys that would make a great gift idea. There are matching socks for father and son as well.
This is one tough bag that is great for carrying small electronics, cords, or toiletries. You will not have to worry about things falling out or getting damaged by water or the weather. It will definitely last for a long time and it even has a lifetime warranty. It’s a great gift for your resident gadget geek.
The CelebriDuck comes in different characters, both real and fictional, and makes a great gift for your kids or adults. They are safe for teething babies and are PVC-free. Makes a great stocking stuffer.
These last minute gifts are good for anyone on your list. Perfect for families, foodies, or folks you barely know. It doesn’t matter as long as they feel the joy of the Holidays through you!
CUPRIGHT, which is a table and desktop tip-proof insulated cup holder. It’s a perfect gift for co-workers or anyone that drinks out of a paper cup, bottle, or can work, or at home. Accidental spills happen when you least expect them, and keyboards and other electronics are expensive to repair, not to mention, rugs, dry-cleaning bills, and valuable time cleaning up messes. In addition, CUPRIGHT is insulated and also helps keep your beverage warmer or cooler longer and it eliminates the need for a coaster.
I like caramel every once in a while but when I tasted McCrea’s sea salt caramel I had to stop myself from eating the whole package. It was that good! This candy is perfect for your caramel lover. McCrea’s signature product features Hawaiian black lava sea salt swirled into caramel to provide a salty-sweet mouthful. Additional flavor combinations include Basil Cayenne, Ginger Fusion, Curried Butternut, and Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt. They also offer such classic flavors as vanilla, chocolate, maple, mocha, and coffee.
They use local, real-food ingredients and package our caramel in beautiful compostable containers. Everything is made in America. Our caramel is available for purchase online and in retail outlets throughout North America
I am a positive thinking pitbull but even I have days when the negative thoughts threaten to overpower me. So it’s exciting to find a product that helps re-focus your thoughts from negative to positive ones and it looks good too! Refocus bands allow you be to be more mindful and take control of your thoughts by simply flipping the band every time a negative thought overpowers you. Every flip helps encourage a positive thought that guides your inner voice in the right direction. There are over 10 different designs and affirmations to choose from, Refocus Bands are leading the way as the hottest positive fashion statement that conditions you to live a more mindful life..
Each item sold helps support amazing charities they discover that align with their values and make a difference in the world.
I tried the Bodyworks Ball and have decided it will be a gift to myself! This ball is perfect for my lower back. I’ve had a few issues after my accident in March with pain and discomfort. I tried the Bodyworks ball according to the instructions and got the stiffness to relax. Yes!!! Get this “O List” favorite for yourself or anyone who has problems with stiffness, soreness, or pain in their neck, back, shoulders, or feet.
My son loves to cook and bake so it makes sense for me to think about getting him baking tools this holiday season. I have heard about a few cooking subscription box services but never a baking subscription service until now. Rise Baking is a monthly baking subscription service that ships premium ingredients with original recipes directly to your door. The process is simple. Each month you will choose recipes that suit your taste. Then, your monthly baking box will arrive fully stocked with pre-measured and color-coded ingredients making the baking process simple. Rise takes the intimidation and hassle out of baking with results that will have anyone baking like a pro. All recipes are “from scratch” never mixes. They have a 3-, 6-, or 12-month plan. You can also give a gift box.
Use code “Holiday10” for 10% off a monthly plan or “Gifts10” for 10% off a gift box
Mary Tylor Naturals
For the crafter in your family, Mary Tylor Naturals has great organic products they can use to make soaps, creams, lip balm, or anything they can think of. I make Blyss Body Butter from 100% organic ingredients and am always looking for a great source for my product. You have a variety to choose from including Shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, and product containers.
Add a little flavor to your holiday party with Cranberry Spice Moonshine made with Everclear. It’s a festive drink made with cranberries, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves – it blends all the holiday flavors to form what may become a new tradition.
With two teens, my daughter who is in college, works, and drives all over the city, and my son who is beginning to launch out I’m always concerned about their safety. I try not to be paranoid when they go out but I’m that kind of mother with the wild imagination.
I’m thinking about what to get them for Christmas. My daughter says she just wants clothes and makeup and my son wants Star Wars footed pajamas. If only life were that simple and if only those things could keep them safe. Well this year, in addition to getting them what they want, I’m giving them the gift of safety.
There are a few options. I can get my daughter a can of mace and a whistle. That really could work but she may need something more if she is stranded on the side of the road in her car or walking across campus.
Self-defense classes is a great gift. I took classes when I was in college and I always remember what I learned all those years ago. I need something more immediate, portable, and great for any sticky situation though.
I heard about and ordered the E/T muti-use safety light to see how it works. According to the website Special Operations
military uses it on missions. There are four colored lights that mean different things in a rescue situation. I don’t want to think about that kind of scenario but it’s better to be safe than sorry for example during hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc…
When I got the light, I took it out of the packaging and started pressing the button, I cycled through the four colors, red, yellow, blue and green. The final cycle was a strobe of all the colors. The E/T Light was originally designed for US Spec Ops medics. E/T Lights last from 4 to 9 days on a constant on selection, they can be used for backup lights for those with no power, signaling lights for rescue, and still be used for a Christmas party or Mardi Gras!
If you want to add another layer of safety to your kids, college-aged daughter, elderly parent, or yourself it might be a good idea to give the gift of safety with the E/T light and free Visual 911+ app.
You are a busy mom, but you also have friends who are moms and just as busy. This holiday season I’m sharing the perfect last minute and stocking stuffer gift ideas. They are just what the doctor ordered because they are both practical and affordable.
The FoMI Rewritable pillow is a bright, fun and functional way to leave others Holiday Cards, reminders or loving words…or just to design your own pillow. The pillows come in 3 upbeat colors and are easy to use and reuse. Just write directly on the pillow with the included marker.
To erase, remove the pillow and rinse under cold water. No soap needed. A SUPER COZY MEMORY FOAM CUSHION YOU CAN WRITE ON: Write and erase all the messages you want on this cushion. To erase, remove the pillowcase and rinse under cold water. Doesn’t need soap. Two markers included. Customize a design to make your pillow “yours”.
Side effects may include lower blood pressure, better sleep, and overall feeling of well-being. Recommended for bedtime use only. Safe for children and babies who are restless or wake up too early or too often during the night.
Journals and Notebooks by Jerry Gill
Perfect gift for journalers, scribblers, poets and other writers in your life. As unique as the people who use them. They also make fantastic notebook for students. Some have specified focus but can be used for anything. (foodies, dreams, planner etc)
Get them on Amazon http://amzn.to/2g6nn88
Get them at Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2gQKtki
Watch this space for more great gifts for yourself or the busy moms on your list!
Groupon Goods the Place to Buy Inexpensive Gifts for Women and Teens
We are officially in the Holiday Season! Wow! I can’t believe how time has flown so quickly. Just 11 months ago it was my birthday :-p. This is a semi-stressful time for me because my son starts putting pressure on me to prepare for the holidays. 🙁
It’s his favorite time of year because it means, gifts, family, friends, and food. His top four things. So what’s a wait-until-the-last-minute mom on a budget who hates shopping to do?
My best bet is to get out the laptop and start researching ideas (and prices). On top of waiting to the last minute I am a bit scatterbrained so I’m constantly looking for that website I came across six months ago. Ugh!!! Where is it…
One site I rarely forget about is Groupon Goods. It is my go to place for products, services, and travel discounts. A couple of years ago I did most of my Christmas shopping there and it was featured in Essence magazine.
For my holiday gifts this year I’m going back to Groupon Goods to snag some great prices at a discount.
My daughter wants make-up, jewelry, clothes, and electronics and my son wants cookware, superhero gear, and whatever else I decide to get him :-).
What do you have on your early holiday shopping list? Will you be shopping on online or in the stores?