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How to Spend Less at Christmas – Money Tips for Couples

Spending less money at Christmas is possible with these tips from “The Money Couple” themselves! The holiday season doesn’t have to bring heavy credit card bills or financial stress – that’s no way to start the New Year.

Before their tips, a quip:

“What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented against you? If I would work my will … every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas,” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” ~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

You can banish that “Bah, humbug!” spirit over the holiday season – and all year ‘round – if you don’t have money problems to worry about. These money tips are from Scott and Bethany Palmer, authors of First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple’s Guide to Financial Communication.

“For so many couples, the holidays are a minefield of difficult money decisions,” says the Money Couple. “How do we stick to a budget and still give meaningful gifts? Do we really need to buy a gift for Great Aunt Martha? Where are we going to get the money to pay for all of this stuff? With so many money-based decisions coming in the midst of all the other stressors of the holiday season, it’s more important than ever that your financial communication stays strong.”

How to Spend Less at Christmas – Money Tips for Couples

This Money Couple recommends starting the holiday season with a Money Huddle to check in on expectations and create a spending plan that won’t leave you broke come January. Here’s what you need to cover:

Plan the Christmas gift list: Work together to figure out who you need to buy Christmas presents for. If money is tight this year, consider one gift for your sibling’s whole family instead of a gift for each person. Suggest exchanging names, or get creative and give handmade gifts instead. For more tips, read 10 Christmas Money Saving Tips – Holiday Gift Shopping.

Set spending limits: Before you set foot in a store or do any online shopping, know what you can spend on your gifts. Look at your budget and be realistic about what you can spend. Be conservative on your limits so you have a little wiggle room if you need it.

Avoid last minute shopping: Last minute shopping usually leads to overspending at Christmas. Start your shopping early – before Thanksgiving – to give yourself time to find the best deals on holiday gifts and make smart purchases. If you’re starting early enough, read How to Save Christmas Money Before the Holiday Season.

Check in with each other: To spend less at Christmas, plan on weekly Money Huddles to make sure you’re staying on track. Write down what you’ve spent, check people off your list as you buy their gifts, and keep communicating.

Be aware of your money personalities: The holiday season brings out the strengths and challenges of every money personality – Spenders are in the zone, Savers are freaking out. Keep your money personalities in mind as you make your plans, and be prepared to compromise to keep the holiday season merry and bright for both of you.
The holiday season brings with it beloved traditions, joyous memories, and happy moments with friends and family – but it doesn’t have to bring financial stress.

If you have any thoughts or questions on tips for spending less at Christmas, please comment below…

For more info about the Palmers, visit The Money Couple.

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2 thoughts on “How to Spend Less at Christmas – Money Tips for Couples”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi TriNi,

    I have a TON of ideas for buying your spouse something he or she doesn’t already have — in fact, they’re not all things you buy and they’re very creative!

    Check it out:

    80 Ways to Say “I Love You”

  2. I’m more or less okay with the whole spending thing, but my biggest issue is “what to buy someone you’ve already bought everything!”. It’s like I’ve been with my hubby for what seems like a very long time and I feel like I’ve already gotten him everything there is to get. What should I get him this year? Any ideas?