Christmas Planning Printable

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We don’t post about organizing finances very often, but it is something I whole heartedly believe in! Ever since my family started living off of a monthly budget two years ago (thanks to Dave Ramsey), it always feels like there is a bit more money to work with when we need it and a whole lot less stress! That was far from the case at the beginning of the process, but eventually we found more and more ways to cut back to get our finances in order and working for us.

When you don’t know where your money is going it is easy for a paycheck to quickly slip away. Especially now when the Christmas buying frenzy begins. You wouldn’t be the first or last who woke up in January with a spending hangover, unaware of the actual spending damage until the bills start to arrive.

Thankfully, much of this overspending can be avoided with a little pre-Christmas budget planning. Here is what I use to plan my Christmas shopping and help me stay on budget. Of course I made this version a lot prettier to share with you!

The 1st page allows you to plan for all your Christmas spending including the miscellaneous we often forget to including like wrapping paper and holiday travel. There are a few blank rows for you to plan for your own special traditions.

Christmas Budget Printable

 

 

The 2nd page helps you divide and conquer your Christmas shopping with room to plan gifts and set a budget for each person.

Christmas Budget Printable 2

 

I have used this same Word doc table for the past 4 years. I keep the previous years table in the same document and it has been so useful to refer back to. I can see what gifts I previously had in mind and what I actually gave which always fuels ideas for this year.

As a little pre-holiday gift to you, I’m including downloadable versions of both pages right here for free! Give them a try and take some of the stress out of the holiday shopping frenzy.

Click here to download the Christmas Budget Table as a-

PDF

Word Doc

It takes only a few minutes to plan your holiday spending and get you on track to making your holiday season a joyful one!

Do you plan your Christmas budget? Are you one of the brave souls going out on Black Friday? Or are you just focused on those leftovers, like me? Are you already finished with your Christmas shopping (if so, teach me that trick!)? Let us know in the comments how the printables work for you!

How Being Organized Can Save and Make You Money

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Today I am so excited to welcome, Kaui from Thrifty Military Mom, which has tons of resources for military families. We connected right away with her thrifty spirit and love of organized finances. I am pleased as punch she is here to share how organization helped her save money. Welcome Kaui!

I used to be painfully disorganized.  I had no idea back then that it was doing more than costing me time: it was costing me money.  After years of dealing with disorganization, and then many more years of learning how to streamline and organize all aspects of my life, I have come to realize something: organization can save and make you tons of money! Here’s why:

 

You’ll Be Able To Easily Locate Everything

“Honey!  Where are my flip flops?  And where are those darn spices I bought a couple of months back??”

Sound familiar?  I know for me, this was a constant problem in my house for many years.  If you are not organized then you won’t be able to locate your things when you need them most.  Like when you need those spices for a dinner you were planning on making for your friends coming over in less than an hour.

This means that you will not only be wasting your time running to the store, but you’ll also be wasting your money buying extras of something you don’t need more of.

You will totally eliminate this problem when you have a place for everything and keep everything in its place.

 

You’ll Cut Back On The Need To Run Errands

With the price of gas sky high right now everyone is looking to use less.  The best way to do this is to simply stop driving so much.

One way to do this is to minimize the amount of errands you run on a weekly and monthly basis.  By creating a detailed grocery list based off of a monthly meal plan, including hair and body care needed, you can go from shopping once per week to once per month.

Not only will you save yourself tons of gas, but you’ll also save yourself tons of money in groceries since there is something about paying a huge chunk of money once per month rather than a small amount once per week.  It tends to make you think more about what you need rather than what you want.

Calculator and $1 Cut in Halfsource

You’ll Free Time Up So You Can Not Only Save Money, But Make Money

I used to think I didn’t have time to be organized.  When I finally committed to organizing I realized that the exact opposite was true.  Being able to find everything easily, cutting back on my errands, and having a routine has streamlined my life enough to allow me time to focus on my blog and make money for the family.

If you’re a stay-at-home-mom and you want to contribute to your family’s finances, then the best thing you can start with is organizing.  If you’re a working mom then it is still beneficial for you to keep organized so you can have more time to focus on saving money.  You’ll be thanking yourself in the end.  I know I am!

 

Elance

 

Kaui Eiklor is the lead blogger at Thrifty Military Mommy.  Her focus is to support our heroes, help their families, and make the world better spenders and savers.  All the advice she offers is free of charge…come and see!


"I’m Better then I Deserve"

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If you would have told me a year ago that my finances would be in their present condition, I would have laughed and called you crazy! Last February, I read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and it completely changed the trajectory of my financial path.

This may seem like a break from my usual organizing book reviews but getting your finances organized and in order is more important than cleaning out any closet or drawer. When your finances are out of order you inevitably feel stressed and out of control. The clutter on your counters is the least of your worries (unless of course the bills are the items causing the clutter on your counters)!

In all honesty, this time last year, I felt like I was sinking under insurmountable financial obstacles. We had gotten ourselves into a financial mess that looked and felt hopeless. I felt I had no power to change the situation we were in, so I prayed. I should have done that a lot sooner because I soon found hope. That hope came with a peace that God is our provider and we soon had a plan to move forward.

Matthew 6:26

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

As I read reading The Total Money Makeover I realized that I could change things, not everything, but I could make a difference in some areas. I decided that I had 2 choices, bemoaning our situation and wringing my hands or being brave and taking responsibility for what I could change; my choice was clear. I focused on the circumstances I had contol over. This gave hope in a seemly hopeless situation.

In his book, Dave Ramsey gives a step by step plan, called Baby Steps, to get out of debt and become financially secure. One aspect of the plan is to get on a monthly written budget and using the envelope system, only spend cash on the categories you tend to overspend in. My parents had used the envelope system back in the day so is wasn’t an entirely new concept, but I was surprised by what a difference it made. You really do spend less when you are spending your hard earned cash rather than swiping your debit or credit card.

We used the budgeting forms in the back of the book to buckle down and cut our spending to a minimum. I began to pay attention and really count where every penny was going. I became so focused and my poor hubby stuck to it too, even when my penny counting got a bit extreme. Taking active steps towards change put us in control and gave us a sense of power that is hard to describe.

We also took the Financial Peace course through our church. The FPU class prompted us to communicate more then we ever had before. Even though D and I never really fought about money before this class, we still found it incredibly helpful. We ended up having some pretty strong discussions that ultimately strengthened our marriage. We had to hash things out while working together to achieve our goal. Truthfully, this is what we looked like at times.

I can’t discuss our complete 180 throughout our finances without focusing on Gods’ provisions. Each time I struggled with faith, I was shocked time and time again by the miracles, both big and small, that were going on around us. I don’t want to get into numbers but there is no denying that we had some miracles!

For one, we won a contest. I mean, who ever wins those things! The number of things that aligned just perfectly that day for us to win is amazing. It is another story for a different day. But I’m still amazed to say that the amount we won, plus another unexpected check, was the exact amount we needed to pay off the final debt! We are now debt free except for our home mortgage!

I am not saying everything is perfect. There are still many unknowns and we have more work to do, but we are sitting in a much better position than would have ever been possible without sticking to an organized plan. It is inconvenient, it is not fun, but when you come through to the other side you have a sense of pride and freedom that couldn’t have come without that earlier storm.

My goal in sharing this very personal story and how I connected to this book is to offer encouragement to those who are feeling financially hopeless. I could have never imagined the change that occurred in just one year. If we can do it, and others have done it, you can do it too! If I could share the same feeling that I have now with just one person, it is all worth it.

For a simple tutorial on budgeting check out Simple Mom.  She also shares how her family budgets.

So how do you organize your finances? Any other Dave Ramsey fans living like no one else?

*check out my high tech envelope system – Spend app

Images from Dave Ramsey.com- book, envelopes, fighting couple, calculator

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