Spend less is an ambiguous goal. Spend less than last year? Spend less than my neighbor? The truth is there is no formula. The challenge of this tenet is to be willing to ask more questions and then be open to hearing what God says in return.
Is this something I want or something I need? Why do I want to buy this? What kind of company am I supporting if I purchase this product? Can I afford to spend this amount? How many presents do we actually need? What did we do with the presents from last year?
You see, spending less requires us to plan. Instead of mindlessly shopping online and ordering more than we know what to do with, we take the time to think about each purchase. We strive to thoughtfully evaluate what we support with our spending, and we allow our spending to support products, people, and causes worthy of being supported. By spending a little less on ourselves we are able to more joyfully give to others in need.
It is not enough to say no to the way Christmas is celebrated by many; we need to say yes to a different way of celebrating.
It’s important to remember that when we choose to spend less on Christmas presents, it doesn’t mean that we love our friends and family any less. In fact, for many of us, we’ve found that the creative, intentional gifts we give showcase our love – and perhaps God’s – more clearly than ever before.
More than just an invitation to say no to overspending, this is an invitation to a new way of celebrating. This year start a new tradition of spending compassionately and responsibly.
Some ideas to help you Spend Less this Christmas:
- Make a Christmas budget and then stick to it. Don’t compare yourself to others, pray and do what is best for your family.
- Research companies that are Fair Trade.
- Pray for the people on your Christmas list before purchasing anything. Make spending a conscious decision that engages your heart.
- It’s not just about the presents. Notice how much you’re spending on other Christmas activities (going out to eat, new outfits, wrapping paper, decorations, etc.). Find one area where you can cut back this year.
- Write down five things you’re thankful for. Take inventory of how blessed you already are.
- Set a spending limit as a family. Let everyone have the same amount to spend on each other. You’ll be surprised at how creative your kids will get!
- Donate old and unused clothes, toys, and books to a local organization. Notice how much stuff you actually don’t use or need.