I just saw a post encouraging readers to meet with friends for coffee or drinks. The post really interested me because it really showed how genuine friendships are developed. Genuine friendships aren’t developed in the club or at the bar. They are developed in intimate settings where people can talk and be themselves. This doesn’t have to be costly either because many of the suggestions in the article were free or low cost. Click here to read the article.

I share this with you because many of us focus on things like buying the perfect gift and how much we should spend during the Christmas season. In fact, according to Gallup, Americans plan to spend an average of $830 on gifts. This estimate has increased sharply from $720 last year. Imagine how much debt this adds to a household if this spending wasn’t budgeted in advance.

According to ABC news, consumer counseling agencies see a 25% increase in the number of people seeking help in January and February, and most of that traffic is due to holiday spending.

Christmas isn’t about the gifts under the tree or how much you spend on loved ones. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and spending time with friends and family. This Christmas don’t just focus on the gifts. Think about what you can do to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ. Look for a local food bank and see if you can serve food to the homeless or people who need a hot meal. I adopted a child for Christmas and purchased clothes and toys for this child.

Me dropping off gifts

Think about things that you can do with family and friends that don’t cost money. For example, head to a place where you can listen to Christmas carols.  Maybe you can even hang out with friends or family and snuggle up under a comfy blanket, drink hot chocolate or eggnog, and watch your favorite holiday movies. Turn the phone on silent and just spend time with those that you love.

Building solid relationships and friendships takes time. This season focus on the things that matter – being a blessing to someone else and showing those who matter most to you just how much you love them. You can do this not by spending more money, but by spending more time with the ones that you love.

If you did happen to overspend this season then here are 3 things that you can do:

  1.  Set a goal to repay any credit card debt that you accumulated during the holiday season. If you didn’t finance your purchases with debt and instead delayed bill payment, set a date to be fully caught up on bills.
  1.  Make a plan for next year. Calculate how much you spent and learn from your mistakes this year and determine a strategy to start saving immediately in a savings account for Christmas next year.  Use this year’s spending as a starting point for how much you will spend next year.  Challenge yourself to spend less and spend more time with the ones that you love.
  1.  I know this may sound extreme, but if the gifts haven’t been given or placed under the tree, then there is still time to exchange them for something less. Remember your goals. You are focused on your long-term financial stability so you will need to make some short-term sacrifices.

What are you going to do this year to celebrate the Christmas season?

If you want more tips and resources, download your FREE Hotsheet that will show you the best online savings sites and apps!  Click here to download!

Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), and creator of The Live Phenomenal Program. The Live Phenomenal Program is a program designed to give you the tools that you need to totally transform your finances, and stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal! Book your complimentary 20-minute financial clarity session with Aisha here.