Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming!

Christmas season is coming up, and I need to be extra-careful about my finances. I don't want to wake up on January 2 with plenty of gifts but no rent! It's a little hard to enforce strict limits when my checking/debit account's accessible from every store and street corner, but going analog might just help me--and you--splurge wisely this Christmas.

Here are a few tips to control the holiday hullabaloo:

  • Put real cash into envelopes earmarked for specific purposes. Leave your debit and credit cards at home when you go shopping. (My mom suggested this tip!)

  • If you need more control, give yourself an allowance. Instead of making your entire Christmas slush fund available from day 1, schedule it so that you give yourself bonuses after you pass certain milestones. For example, I sometimes have problems managing my book budget. I'm in the bookstore the first week of the month, but then I can't keep out of the bookstore even when I'm done with my allocation for the month! I've split my book fund into a weekly allowance instead, which makes it much easier to manage. I should probably shop for stationery the same way!
  • Give inexpensive, thoughtful gifts. I gave a 4-year-old kid a box of crayons and a pad of paper for his birthday, and he was delighted. (No such thing as too many crayons!) Even better: ditch the Hallmark cookie-cutter Christmases and write a warm, wonderful card or letter instead.
  • Keep track of little expenses and you might find things you can give up in order to spend on more important things. The D*I*Y Planner Finance form is great for keeping track of those luxuries
  • And remember: despite the focus of this post, Christmas isn't about shopping... =)

Have fun!

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I was thinking the hipster

I was thinking the hipster or planner makes a great and thoughtful gift or stocking stuffer if you have a printer and are not afraid of cutting paper. (A lot of people don't and are.) Especially if you are creative with customizing covers! but somehow I think my mother in law is still holding out for her chanel no. 5, and I had to get my designer/writer sister a moleskine though... I think the hipster with a photograph on the cover will be a bonus.

Using envelopes work well, at least every time i've tried it. Just remember to label the envelopes and not get them mixed up.

Another alternative

Ok ok, I'm just feeling onery this morning. And admittedly this has nothing to do with DIYPlanner. But just for something different I stole these ideas from "Alternatives for Simple Living."

10 Tips for a Simpler More Meaningful Christmas

1. Plan ahead. Instead of going on auto-pilot the day after Thanksgiving, hold a family meeting to decide what the group really wants to do and who's going to do what.

2. If you need a symbol for giving (in addition to Jesus and the Three Wise Ones), learn about St. Nicholas. Santa Claus has been completely taken over by commerce.

3. Avoid debt. Refuse to be pressured by advertising to overspend.

4. Avoid stress. Give to yourself. Don't assume that things have to be the same way they've always been.

5. Draw names rather than everyone giving something to everyone else in your giving circle. Set a ceiling for each recipient. Give children ONE thing they really want, rather than so many gifts. If need be, pool funds.

6. Give appropriate gifts. Get to know the recipient. Give what they want to receive, not what you want to buy.

7. Give alternative gifts. Give 25% of what you spent last year to the needy... individuals or groups locally, nationally or internationally.
Buy crafts and clothing from developing countries at alternative gift markets, not from commercial importers, so that the artisans receive a fair price for their work.
Give of yourself, not just "stuff" - a coupon book for future services (such as baby-sitting or an "enchanted evening"); something baked, sewn, handmade, composed, etc.; or a family service project, such as working together at a soup kitchen.

8. Celebrate Advent for four weeks before Christmas.

9. Put the gifts under the tree shortly before opening them. Then take turns opening them around the tree, not all at once, so that each gift can be admired and each giver thanked.

10. Make changes slowly but persistently. Don't try to change everything and everybody all at once. The resistance will make you feel defeated and lonely.

For more help and a free catalog of ideas, contact Alternatives for Simple Living at 800-821-6153.

Those are all good

Those are all good suggestions. I've seen little kids completely overwhelmed by the amount of gifts they've received all at once from well meaning grandparents and parents, when they might have appreciate just a few special things or quality time with their family much more.
Sometimes you can get carried away with making things and spend even more time and money though... I know I did one year, and it ended up being more stressful for me as I rushed to finish things in time.

Family Planners

I am not a "crafty" person, but thanks to DIY I am "creating" gifts for my family. I am using the widget kit to do a weekly calender for the upcoming year with family birtdhays and other such stuff. Calander pages go on the right, a next-action, waitng for, someday/maybe and projects list page on the left so I can run these off on the "backs" of the 8.5 X11 pages that my printer likes before I cut.

I am still trying to decide between cheap notebooks (around $5) and spiral binding (around $2).

My sisters will have a postcard of the disintergation of the persistance of memory (had on hand, the orentation is not the right way, but it will work) as a joke about why planning is nessacary.

that's so sweet.

that's so sweet. a lot of people need help remembering important things like birthdays. way to go! (:

With beautiful cover the

With beautiful cover the storyboard and journal pages could make wonderful gifts! Is it possible to print two across, fold and sew a booklet? Just add beautiful paper, stamp print, or a collage on the cover and a ribbon? There is no end of creative possibilities. You can design your own or use found objects.

I found these two links for free paper designs that you can download and print yourself on PaperForest. (Lots of creative inspiration, and there are a many more ideas for gift making and paper resources to be found there!)

More than resources for cover designs.

There is so much on this Canon website (stationary, paper designs, cards and envelopes, and paper crafts to download and print for free). If you are especially motivated you can print and make your very own paper Christmas tree to give to someone you love. Very cute! The cost of ink could add up though... at there very least there is inspriation here. I don't see why colouring or painting your own couldn't be an option.