Save Money and Avoid Christmas Stress

Episode 18

Download the Christmas Budget from this Episode

Use this budget to list out the names, gift ideas and dollar amounts planned for each of your friends and family this year.

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Show Notes

Jack Frost is nippin’ at your nose, Christmas lights are up and checkout lines are a mile long—it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Isn’t it magical?

Or . . . does it just stress you out?

It’s easy to miss out on the joy of the Christmas season when you’re pulled in so many competing directions. If you’re hosting, you have to buy loads of groceries, cook a whole spread of food, and clean the house from top to bottom! If you’re celebrating at someone else’s house, you have to pack up the kids, bring the perfect side dish, and then do it all over again at someone else’s house!

And I know we all feel the pressure to find the perfect gift. For everyone.

But I want you to take a deep breath, because in this episode, we’re going to turn the most stressful time of the year back into the most wonderful time of the year.


There are two main areas of your life where I want you to have boundaries:

  1. Your money
  2. Your time

Let’s start with your money.

Make a (shorter) list.

Some of us need to hear this message (I’m raising my hand!) more than others: You cannot buy for everyone.

If you get gifts for the mailman, your kids’ teachers, all the nieces and nephews, and that sweet boy who sometimes walks your dog, you’ll go broke! Plus, your Christmas budget will go further if you limit who you’re buying gifts for. Make a list of people you feel like you need to buy for, and then narrow it down to those you really want (and can afford) to buy for.

I know you might feel bad for leaving some people off your list, but don’t worry. You aren’t being stingy—you’re being smart! Plus, I’ll tell you how you can still include people who didn’t make the cut in just a bit.

Stick to your budget.

Once you’ve got a solid list, write down how much you want to spend on each person. In fact, I have a Christmas budget that you can download here for free. It might feel weird putting a dollar amount next to each name, but it’s really okay. I promise!

When you’re shopping, stick to the amount you already decided on before you’re confronted with big sale signs and beautiful holiday displays.

Make sure you budget for life insurance from my friends at Zander Insurance.
It’s the best way to know your family will be taken care of, no matter what happens.

Get creative.

Now, for those people who didn’t make your shopping list—I haven’t forgotten them, and neither will you! Get creative with their gifts. Here’s what I do: I bake a bunch of cookies and package them separately with personal, handwritten notes. You can totally express the same sentiment without the big spend.

Now let’s talk about your time.

You can’t please everyone.

It may be uncomfortable to place boundaries around your time, because you’re going to let some people down. But is it worth it to put your family through six different Christmases every year and wind up feeling frazzled instead of festive?

Right now, at the beginning of the season, you can decide to say no to some of the people and obligations that run you ragged year after year. If you’re married, talk to your spouse about a holiday rotation of visiting different sides of the family.

If you struggle in this area and find yourself overcommitting a lot, my friend Christy Wright can help you say no, guilt-free, here.

What stresses you out the most at Christmas?

I have two more ways for you to free up your time this Christmas. Now, this may be controversial, but one of them is a tradition that I think has got to go! Be sure to watch the episode above to see if you agree.

What is your biggest cause of Christmas stress? Share your stressors and encouragement in my community here!


Believe it or not, you can have beautifully wrapped packages under the tree without breaking the bank on wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. My friend Sarah from Woman’s Day shows us how to wrap your presents with a few simple, affordable supplies that will wow your friends and family! Watch the episode for all the details.


“Our money was flying out the window faster than we could keep track of it.”

Do you know what that feels like?

That’s what Amber Jover said when I sat down with her and her husband, Barry. Amber and Barry have never done a Christmas budget or had a Christmas without credit card debt.

Unfortunately, their story is true for more Americans than not. Last year, a study found that 56% of shoppers were still paying off 2016’s Christmas debt in October 2017.(1) You guys, that’s 10 months of interest, payments and stress. Plus, it starts all over again in only two months!

I don’t want this to be your story anymore. We need to change the headline! In this episode, Amber and Barry are rewriting their story. Check it out and see how we gave their Christmas budget an epic makeover.

Take the stress out of home security with an easy-to-install system from my friends at SimpliSafe.


We have a special treat in this show, because my sweet friend Emily Ley is joining me! Emily helps women simplify and organize their lives so they can spend time doing what matters most to them. She has so much wisdom to share, and I really want you to hear her message. I mean, I felt less stressed just talking to her!

In this episode, Emily shares:

  • Practical steps to take inventory of your schedule and create space
  • How to give yourself grace
  • Ways to stop sacrificing the good to chase the perfect

That last one is something I know we can all work on, right?

I’m so excited for what this episode can do for your Christmas season, you guys! So pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate—or maybe some eggnog—sit back, relax and invest 30 minutes into making this Christmas stress-free!


Sponsors pay the producer of this show, The Lampo Group, LLC, advertising fees for mentioning their services or products during programing. Advertising fees are not based upon or otherwise tied to any product sale or business transacted between any consumer or sponsor. The following sponsors have paid for the programing you are viewing: SimpliSafe, Zander Insurance.

Read the full transcript

– Does it feel so festive, well it’s almost Christmas! But, if that stresses you out, don’t worry. This episode is for you. Well you guys, it is December and I’m so excited about it because Christmas is right around the corner, but there are so many times that we totally miss out on all the joy and the festivity of this season because we are stressed to the max. So this episode, I want to help lower your stress. So I brought Woman’s Day on, and we’re gonna show you some really cute gift wrapping options that won’t break the bank. I have a couple coming on who used to go into debt for Christmas, and this is the first Christmas they’re doing a Christmas budget, so we’re gonna talk about that, and Emily Ley is coming on and you are just going to love her. So those are some really great options you guys for lowering stress, but what I have learned over my 30 years of life that helps me lower my stress is having boundaries, okay, and this season, there’s too main areas of your life I want you to have boundaries. Number one, with your money, and number two, with your time. So when it comes to your money, you have to understand a couple of things: you cannot buy for everyone, and I’m guilty of this, I’m like oh, the mailman, all 700 people I work with need something from me. All the cousins, all the nieces and nephews, like I can just get out of control so quickly and a few years ago, Winston and I started talking about it and we’re like we’re not gonna make everyone happy, like we cannot buy for everyone, and so what that does is you figure out okay, who am I gonna buy for, which helps you create a budget. That’s something else we’re gonna talk about is making sure you have a budget, that you are being purposeful with not only what you’re gonna spend but who you’re gonna spend on. So making a list and saying hey, we’re gonna spend this amount for this person, which feels like really weird putting dollar amounts next to people, but it’s what you gotta do to win, people, it’s what you gotta do, so it’s really good because it’s gonna give you a limit and a boundary, and also, with your boundary of your money, you’re gonna have to get creative, because you can’t please everyone and because you’re gonna be on a budget, there’s going to be people that might be left out, so I learned to do something a few years ago, I bake stuff now, like legitimately. I sound like Susie Homemaker here but it’s true, I make cookies or do something and then I write like intentional notes for the people that I’m not gonna just spend all this money on because I’ve learned again to have that boundary, and even something Winston and I did a few years ago to kinda get creative, is we don’t buy each other gifts, and it’s just nice ’cause for me, it kinda just takes the pressure off, and for him, and it’s less money to spend ’cause well, we love each other and we know about that. So, again, having boundaries around your money, but also having boundaries around your time. So remember, just like with your gifts that you can’t give to everyone, well with your time, you’re not gonna be able to please everyone, and it’s really hard ’cause I have some friends and they have like 14 different families they try to go to on Christmas day and it gets stressful and you kind of again lose all your perspective ’cause you’re just trying to make everyone happy and you have to get to a point in your life where you’re like okay, this is our life, this is our family, and here’s what we have to decide, and it’s uncomfortable if you’re gonna make new rules around your time around Christmas ’cause some people, their feelings might be hurt but communicating that and just being smart because again this season you don’t wanna miss out, and that’s something else with your time. Don’t be in a rush, find some easy wins to do with your family, like Amelia loves Christmas lights. Like last year she just became obsessed with Christmas lights, it was like the thing and so there’s a way we can get to our house where we can cut through a church parking lot, don’t tell anyone but we do to get to our house faster, it’s like a shortcut versus going along this long road wrapped around. But the long road has this fence and they always hang Christmas lights on the fence and Amelia almost every time we’re in the car last year she was like can we drive by the Christmas lights, and we’re like oh, four minutes, no, we’re just going home, and then finally one night I was so glad Winston was like you know what, yes, we’ll go the long way around and I’m telling you, it’s so funny, she talked about it for like the next two weeks. She was like remember when we saw all those Christmas lights and I’m like, it just took four minutes, so that’s the great thing when you have a boundary and you’re intentional with your time, you can make some leeway for the things that you really can enjoy, and again, it helps lower the stress and so something else that’s a quick win that I loved but it kinda stressed me out last Christmas, Elf on the Shelf. So one thing I am obsessed with is Christmas and Santa Claus. I love Santa and I know some of you like don’t do Santa and all that, kinda makes me sad, but it’s okay, it’s your prerogative, whatever you wanna do, but in my heart, Santa is real and so that’s what I tell my kids. But I do, I love the magic of everything like Christmas and Santa Claus, and PS, we love Jesus and we talk about him too all the time. Don’t worry, guys, but Santa, there’s reindeer food and there’s like you make cookies and you go see him at the mall, you make a list, and the beauty of Santa is he has a friend from the North Pole that comes to your house and shows up every morning somewhere different. Oh yeah, you parents, you know what I’m talking about, Elf on the Shelf. Oh, when Amelia was old enough to actually understand it, I was like we are ordering this and I cannot wait and it was like this big presentation and she named her Sprinkles and it was fantastic, for the first eight mornings. Mm-hmm, things started going downhill quick with Sprinkles because this non-creative over here, I’m like I don’t know, like crap, Sprinkles hasn’t moved yet I’m like I don’t know where to put her! Like again, I had like eight really great ideas. I didn’t have like 25, and so I found myself in the morning sometimes or at night kinda like stressing and freaking out because hashtag comparisons, I would see my friends on social media and they like had theirs like with a little pencil and a string and a cheerio and they’re like sitting on the toilet and they’re like fishing, all this like cute, weird, creative stuff. I’m like man, Sprinkles has been on the chandelier for like a week, she just loves it there apparently because I can’t think of anywhere else to put her. But that’s the moment where I realized okay, stop Rachel, it’s okay, what Pinterest, and Instagram, all the stuff, you may not have time for all of that but you’re still doing something fun and it’s something small and I had to tell myself don’t stress over something so insignificant like Sprinkles, even though I love her, but stressful. So you guys remember, don’t let things that are supposed to be fun be a point of stress for you. But a point of stress for a lot of people, including myself, can be gift wrapping. Yeah, it can be stressful, so I partnered with Woman’s Day to show you some really cute, easy gift wrapping options that are inexpensive and really fun to make. So check it out. Guys, let’s be real. Being a parent is hard work. Now that I have two daughters of my own, it feels like the to-do list never ends. And as every parent knows, your priorities change and you have to make important decisions for your child’s future. That’s why term life insurance is a must for every parent. It’s so easy to get, and it’s affordable. What you’re looking for is 10 to 12 times your annual income, to make sure everyone in your family is taken care of. Winston and I use Zander Insurance. They do all the work for you to find the best prices and options, so go to to get started on a quote today, because that’s who we trust to take care of our family. Well Christmas is this month, which is insane, so Sarah, home editor of Woman’s Day is here to help us–

– I am!

– Find some new ways and unique ways to wrap gifts this year, which I’m so excited about.

– We’re really excited about this. You know, it’s so easy for things to add up around the holidays between traveling and entertaining and the presents themselves but wrapping your presents should not cost a fortune.

– Yes.

– So we came up with a really cute and clever way to wrap your presents with a single roll of brown craft wrapping paper.

– Which I love, yes.

– Which you can get for six bucks.

– And like a huge one.

– A huge roll.

– So great.

– Huge, and all of these toppings that we’re gonna go through are things that are probably already in your house.

– Which I love, and no one else is gonna have this wrapping paper.

– No, they aren’t.

– Okay, so the first gift idea is?

– Stickers!

– Yes.

– Who doesn’t love stickers and these are big, fat, glittery ones that you know,

– They’re super cute.

– Maybe your kid just did the science fair project and he has some left over scrapbook letters that you got at the craft store. Don’t let them go to waste. We here have spelled out Merry Christmas, you can even use it as a name tag, and write a to and from.

– Thank you!

– You’re so welcome. Or you could spell out just some simple holiday letters, so here we have faith and cheer and they’re super easy, you don’t even have to glue, they just stick right on, they’re self-adhesive.

– [Rachel] Super easy.

– Peel and stick. It’s cute, and then what’s really great about these is if you’re traveling for the holidays, whether you’re getting on an airplane, packing in the suitcase or just driving to grandma’s, these are great ’cause they stack and pack really easily.

– Oh, you don’t have a big bow on top.

– No smushing, so it’s very pack friendly which is awesome.

– So fun, oh I love that, love that. Okay, number two?

– Okay, number two: so at the craft store, you can pick up a roll of gorgeous ribbon and gasp at the price. It’s so expensive and you can maybe get like three presents out of it.

– And it’s not a lot.

– No.

– I did that last year, and it was like three presents, literally, these beautiful bows and that was it.

– And then you spend $50 on ribbon which is silly.

– Yes, yes.

– So we came up with a way to make some really gorgeous ribbon out of a piece of fabric. This is a sample we got at a craft store, or you can take an old tablecloth, you can take dad’s old plaid shirt, you can take a tie, and all you have to do is just cut out one to one-and-a-half-inch strips, and the great thing about plaid is because it has lines on it, you don’t have to measure or use a ruler, you just cut down the line and I cut the ends to give it that little ribbon feel.

– So cute.

– And then, you just tie it on like a bow, and you can use these year after year, if you are one of those people who likes to save your, my mom saves her bows, so here we go, saving ribbon, and it’s super cute.

– And it’s so festive!

– Yeah.

– [Rachel] And super soft. It’s like warm and cozy feeling.

– Yes, exactly.

– I love it.

– Okay, this one’s really fun. These sticker dots, you probably have them in the back of your desk drawer, they’re at the drugstore on the corner, and they make a really great polka dot pattern just by sticking them on, so we have them of course in festive colors, so green and red, and this is great to get the kids involved because there’s no–

– I was gonna say, kids will be obsessed with these. All of these are good for kids but this one’s fun too.

– Exactly, so you just stick ’em on, no rhyme or reason, you can let them have their fun and create their own little pattern, and the great thing about this idea is that these dots come in tons of colors, neon pink, neon yellow, so if you have a birthday coming up or a baby shower, you can last-minute make it appropriate for that and not just the holidays.

– Yes, so even beyond Christmas.

– Exactly.

– Seriously, how cute it’d be for a little five-year-old birthday party, and you show up with pink polka dots?

– The wrapping paper might almost be as fun as the gifts.

– Seriously, it’s so great. Okay, this one I’m loving already.

– So tinsel garland, you know, let’s say you pack it away after Christmas and you get it back out of the attic and it’s not in the best shape. Before you throw it out, it can be a nice alternative to a bow for a fraction of the price.

– [Rachel] That’s adorable.

– So all you have to do is, from the biggest strand of garland, you’re just gonna take and cut six to 10-inch strips and all you’re gonna do is knot it, in a knot, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

– So easy.

– Yeah, and then you just stick it right onto the present, we used glue dots, which are awesome, and not even double-stick tape, you just stick it right on, and voila, you have like a fuzzy little caterpillar bow.

– So cute and so easy. I’m like not a crafter you guys, and and all of these, it is, it’s like so simple.

– It’s sticking, it’s cutting, it’s tying.

– So different and cute, yes, I love it.

– [Sarah] Very cute.

– Okay, and last but not least?

– So this one is really going to impress the gift recipient. So these awesome toppers are made out of cupcake liners, and it’s the holidays, you’re baking, and chances are you have this already in your pantry and what’s great about the cupcake liners is they come in a million colors and especially around the holidays they come in great green and red patterns.

– And so many for so cheap.

– So you could make probably dozens of bows.

– Oh, yeah.

– And just the thought of one bag of bows is, it can really add up.

– Yes, yes!

– So you can get a lot of toppers out of a single sleeve of cupcake liners, so all you have to do is just, you start with flattening them out. So take your biggest one and that’s gonna be your base, and then you’re gonna fold the smaller ones, just flatten them out.

– They all come in obviously different sizes.

– Different sizes and you can even cut them down so they’ll fit, so you wanna layer them from largest to smallest, and then to give it some texture, you can just simply like fray the edges around, or you can keep it flat. It’s really customizable, and then once you’re done cutting it,

– This is a creative’s dream. Like all the patterns and all the forms, everything you can do.

– Totally, here let’s get a little sticky tape in there.

– Perfect.

– [Sarah] And then we’re gonna top with this is just a thick piece of glittery card stock just to kind of add the little finishing, glittery touch.

– Just a little glam.

– [Sarah] Just a little glam, and then you can just stick it right on top of our ribbon.

– [Rachel] You guys.

– [Sarah] How cute?

– [Rachel] I mean that’s so easy.

– [Sarah] And then you can even write–

– When I first saw this I was like ooh, that’s intimidating, and it’s not!

– It looks like a professional crafter, but no, it’s simple.

– So great.

– And if you get a non-glittery card stock, you can even write a little message or a to and from right onto the paper.

– Yes, oh I love it.

– These are all such great ideas, seriously, and like the Cruze household, it’s gonna be so festive and merry because of you, Sarah. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Alright, you guys, make sure to check out Woman’s Day magazine on newsstands now for the December issue to get more budget-saving ideas around Christmas, and click the link below to get more unique gift wrapping ideas just like these! Thanks again Sarah for being here, so fun.

– Thanks for having us!

– Okay, how cute were those? I mean, guys, give me some cupcake liners and some scissors any day, I mean I can even do this stuff! Oh, so much fun. Okay, so that is a great way to save money on gift wrapping, but what about all the other expenses you have during Christmas? Well if you’ve not done your Christmas budget, it is not too late. You might be thinking okay, that’s awesome Rachel, but where do I start? Well, you’re in luck: thanks to my friends at SimpliSafe, I was able to bring on a couple onto the show and show them how to do their very first Christmas budget. Now, they’re in week seven of Financial Peace University and they have vowed to stay out of debt this Christmas. Now if you’ve not taken Financial Peace University, you need to. You guys, this is the best thing you can do to get in control of your money so make sure to click the link below, and I want you to take it because I want you to see progress when it comes to your money. Now they have never done Christmas without going into debt, so I am so pumped to show them how it’s done. Alright, so take a look at their story.

– We were just swiping four grand in a month, and we didn’t even realize that. We didn’t budget ever and we didn’t plan, we just spent what we needed to when we needed to, you just swipe it and you don’t realize and I wasn’t looking at numbers. He was seeing them.

– Yeah, I was seeing them. I was just feeling the stress of the debt.

– We realized that we had to do something and so I thought you know, we need to get a plan and he was always like kinda push back, you know, like I don’t want someone or something telling me how to spend my money.

– I was more worried about like what I would be restricted in doing, ’cause I was a spender, she’s a saver.

– When we sat down together and listed everything, I thought it was gonna be here and it was here. And it took probably a couple years, maybe more, for him to finally hit that wall this summer and go we need help.

– I didn’t want it to go out of control, ’cause I wanted to do something before something really bad happened.

– So we challenged ourselves for that month to cut our spending down, and in that month we cut it in half. In about six weeks, seven weeks, we had paid just over $8,000. It was exciting, we never thought that would be possible, so this will be our first year–

– Doing Christmas budget.

– Doing the Christmas budget, yeah. So Christmas won’t follow us anymore. When we swipe our debit card, it’s gonna be done.

– Well thank you guys so much for coming and chatting with me about the Christmas budget!

– Yes, you’re welcome.

– Okay, so I wanna know first and foremost like what made you guys want to say okay, this Christmas, we’re actually gonna do a budget and not go into debt for Christmas?

– That’s one of the things that we needed to do. We wanted to be you know, gazelle-focused on this kind of stuff?

– ‘Cause y’all are paying off debt?

– [Barry] Exactly.

– And it’s perfect timing, too, because we just started to learn to budget and we’re still in those ironing out stages.

– Yes, okay, so I love that this is a part of your journey ’cause as you guys are working to pay off debt, you just did your first budget, your first household budget about two months ago, right?

– Yes.

– So how’s that going?

– It’s going good.

– Wait, it takes about three months to kind of really get it going,

– Yeah.

– So you’re two months in.

– We’re telling ourselves that.

– So I always tell people when you do a budget for the first time you feel like you got a raise. What would you say, true or false?

– Yeah.

– No, absolutely.

– Yeah, it was definitely, you know, to see where we’re telling it to go versus it’s just flying out the window faster than you can even keep track of it, really.

– Absolutely, okay, I love it. You guys are like doing so well, the fact that you’re even budgeting and even getting out of debt is remarkable because most people aren’t, so this Christmas is gonna be a little different, ’cause you guys are like okay, we’re not going into debt for this Christmas, because in the past, you have, right?

– Yes.

– In the past, you’ve gone into debt. So tell me about the past Christmases, what did that look like?

– I stopped working a couple years ago, so before that we had double income, and so we just spent and we never thought twice.

– Credit card spent, or you had the cash to do it?

– No, this was all credit card spending.

– Yeah, just swipe the credit card.

– Yes.

– And so you guys would swipe everything with credit cards, and then when would you pay it off? What was kind of like?

– I’d strive to pay it off in January but it ended up trickling down to February sometimes.

– Yeah, totally, so a few months after?

– A few months.

– And I feel like maybe that’s what made us feel like we were doing okay, because it wasn’t following us all year.

– Yep.

– When in fact it shouldn’t follow us at all, like we’re learning new habits.

– Yes, yes. Okay, so Barry, you were the one in charge of like paying off the bills and all of that after Christmas. So what was that like, like when January came and you know okay, this probably is a year that we won’t be able to make the bill, what did that feel like?

– Well when I’d see the balance, I’m like oof, that’s a lot, and it’s a lot more than I was expecting so I would just kind of you know, finagle my way through it and if it didn’t make it in January, I’d say okay, fine, we’ll just push it to February and hope it doesn’t go into March.

– Yeah, so did you feel like you were in control or was it a little isolating knowing that she wasn’t like a second brain helping, do you know what I mean?

– Yeah, it was very, I felt like I was more reactive to things, it was definitely not something that was like oh, I had a, it’s like I had a plan, and the plan failed. It wasn’t like that at all, it was more like okay, I’m just gonna take whatever comes and you know, just, I didn’t really talk about it all that time, all that much. I would just try to make it work within myself.

– Right.

– So that way, she didn’t have to worry about it so much.

– I didn’t know.

– Right.

– Like literally, we did the numbers and I was blown away, you know, it was double what I thought it was.

– The debt or expenses?

– The debt.

– The debt?

– The debt, yeah, and so now that we’ve sat down, we know what it is, we’ve got a plan, we’ve got a budget, and it will only get better, we got this.

– And I do wanna point out, it wasn’t like you were intentionally hiding the debt.

– Oh, no, no.

– It was just that it was completely not communicated.

– Correct.

– Like it was not talked about. So you kind of got budgeting a little bit under your belt, so I was looking at last month’s budget, ’cause you guys sent it to me, and as I was looking over it, I thought, really, you guys for the most part, are very responsible with your spending. Like I looked at most of your categories and I was like okay, there’s not a ton that you have to cut because a lot of it is needs.

– Right.

– It’s your insurance, it’s your food, it’s cars, it’s all that kinda thing and so, I did see debts in there and you guys are talking about working your way out of that, which is huge.

– We’re starting our snowball.

– Yes, because it’s about 25% of your income is going to debt, so you’re feeling those payments for sure and so Christmas this year may look a little different, because you’re not going in debt for it, and you’re being intentional so as I was looking through, really the biggest things I saw was that you still had about $250 left to budget in your over dollar account which was awesome, so again, giving every dollar a name and being purposeful is huge. So like that’s a great place, you could literally add Christmas line item and just drop that money right in, $250. Now on average, the average American, how much do you think the average American spends on Christmas, I’m putting you on the spot?

– Oh.

– Um.

– I’m gonna be judging some of you watching this too.

– I would imagine it would be like $1,000 or more.

– Yeah.

– You know, because you feel like you need to buy for everybody.

– Yes, so on average, it’s about $700 to $1,000 different studies show different amounts. But I read that, I was like that’s a lot of money.

– Yeah.

– I mean that’s a lot going out, and so for you guys, my goal would be that, you’re not average, right? That you’re not normal.

– Right.

– So I would even go below that, so the $250 that you have extra can totally go to Christmas and then there were two areas in your lifestyle that I think were October-specific.

– [Amber] Yes.

– So a $20 one, a $40 one, and another $40, so that’s some you can throw at there, so really on average you’re about $350 that you can budget for Christmas, and you guys, I think that that’s great, because when you do it, you’re gonna name out okay, here are all the people, you list ’em out, who you’re gonna buy for, and the dollar amounts next to each of those names. So who, just off the cuff, like who are people you would buy Christmas gifts for normally? The two kids, obviously.

– Yeah, the kids, we gift for my sister, and his brother.

– My brother.

– My mom has requested a gift, sorry mom. So and then my dad is usually, it’s never anything crazy.

– So that’s encouraging for me to hear because I’m like you can do that for $350, you really could ’cause I would say the spender, ’cause I’m a spender like you, you said that earlier, I am too, so part of me was like you could still probably keep that $350 into December as well and that’s $700 total, but I’m like no, you don’t need to, you really don’t, and so I would so encourage you guys if you can, challenge yourselves and say okay, we’re gonna just take this $350 that we’re gonna get in November and that’s gonna be it.

– Yeah.

– And it’s kind of a hard pill to swallow but where you guys are with the debt, I would say I would do that, that’s exactly the goal I would make and you just write it down, it’s so easy, and it’s not a lot of people.

– No, not at all.

– Which is awesome, six people, and say okay, this Christmas it’s gonna look a little different, and even prep the kids, ’cause you guys have two kids.

– Yeah.

– Yes.

– And their ages are?

– Nine and five.

– Nine and five, so sweet, they’re adorable, I met ’em earlier, your daughter, I was like give me a hug and she did!

– She ran right into your arms.

– She’s so sweet, so sweet. And so and I’m like kids, that’s still a great age that they’re not like teenagers that their expectations are off the roof.

– Yes, and even when I was home with the kids, we decided to do instead because they get so many gifts and we had mentioned this earlier, is breaking it down into the four, the need, want, read, and wear.

– Yes, yes.

– And so even though that wasn’t budgeting, to me it felt kinda budgeting.

– Like there was a boundary, there was kind of this limit.

– There was a limit, yeah.

– You know, it’s just a great season of life for you guys to kind of edge this new habit in and I think you can do it. Most family members, you know, are pretty encouraging with that.

– We’ve been pretty vocal with everything.

– That’s awesome.

– And like we’re open with our story on Facebook, and so I think at this point everyone is–

– They know your journey.

– Pretty aware, yeah.

– Well thank you guys so much, again for coming in and sharing your story, so huge. You guys, if you’re motivated to budget now especially for Christmas, make sure you download Every Dollar, it’s a great budgeting app, but if you want a Christmas-specific budget, click the link below. Oh, weren’t they so great? Now if you’ve been working on your Christmas budget, that means you have worked hard all year to give your family the Christmas you want to, with so many packages being left at your front porch and being kept in your home, you need to keep them safe. My friends at SimpliSafe can provide everything you need to keep an eye on your home when you aren’t there because we all need one less thing to worry about during the holidays. You guys, this is it, right here, this is SimpliSafe. This is the base station, look how small it is! I mean it’s so easy to use, and I love it because it’s affordable and there are no contracts or long-term commitments, and you can even customize it to your home to get exactly what you need for your family, and it is so easy to set up. You will have it up and running in no time. Winston and I even added two additional cameras because we love monitoring things on our phone. Now, I know I’m talking about Christmas, but you can look at this as an investment in keeping your family safe all year long. We all like to save money, so having an alarm system can save you as much as 20% on your homeowner’s insurance in a year! Head to Next up is my friend and simplicity expert Emily Ley. She’s going to talk to us and show us how to lower our stress and have more fun over the holidays. Hey guys, we are backstage at the Business Boutique Event and I heard that Emily Ley was gonna be here and I was like someone contact her, someone contact her to see if we can get her on the show!

– I’m so glad to be here!

– Emily, thank you.

– Thank you.

– Seriously, I know some of you are like freaking out right now that she’s on because I know so many of you love her. But those of you that don’t know who she is, Emily, will you kind of just share a little bit about like who you are, what you do, all the above?

– Yes, I do all the things, I feel like. I’m a mom, first and foremost. I’ve been married for 10 years now, and I have a seven-year-old little boy and three-year-old twins, boy and a girl.

– Twins, I can’t believe it.

– It is a circus but it’s wonderful.

– Yes, yes.

– It’s more than we ever hoped and prayed for, and I’m also the creator of the Simplified Planner and founder of the Simplified brand, so I have a team of amazing women and we make products for women to help simplify and organize their lives so that they can spend times on the things that matter most to them.

– So good.

– Yeah.

– You know, on this show we talk so much about budgeting money, right, like ’cause that’s one of the main focuses, and you do just a brilliant job about your time, budgeting your time.

– I try.

– It’s like yes, okay, so like what are some things, you know, it’s the holiday season, and everyone’s like being pulled in 18 different directions. So like, you’re a mom, like this is your life, so like what do you do when you feel like there’s just like all these things going on?

– It’s so stressful and I feel like I, I have times in the year especially where I feel like I’m doing a really good job having everything kind of you know, all the I’s dotted and all the T’s crossed and everything’s kind of going the way it’s supposed to go, and times in the year where I feel like I’m being terrible at everything and I’m disappointing everyone and I’m stretched too think and I’m frazzled and frantic and I am my absolute worst when I’m like that and so with the holidays, I feel like I have to just decide early on what memories, especially as a family, I try to always put that first and say what memories do we wanna make? You know, if I look back on New Year’s Day, what will I look back and say I’m really glad we did this, you know? It might not be that we went to all the Christmas parties or we went to all the major productions in town but maybe we went and drove around and saw the Christmas lights, and that’s something we do year after year or maybe it’s some other family tradition but starting ahead of time and planning it out and saying okay, there’s three things that I wanna do and making those happen just like you would a dentist appointment or anything else, having those just already lined up and planned for, it helps you kind of work other things around it.

– Yes.

– And make sure at the end of the day you’re focusing on what matters most to you.

– So for you, as a working mom ’cause there’s a lot of working moms watching, I love to ask other working moms like number one, I know that life balance is not a true thing.

– [Emily] No.

– Yeah, we’re all out of balance all the time, so how do you deal with things like the mom guilt and deal with you have kids and you have this booming business and all the above like how do you do it all?

– How long do we have?

– I know, seriously.

– Can I just put my feet up? I know, it is so hard, and I totally agree with you that balance is not a thing that you just achieve, like I think a lot of times we see people on social media or we see other entrepreneurs and we’re like they’re doing everything and why is it that they have like six-inch heels and perfect hair and dinner on the table at six and my life is a disaster?

– Yes, yes, yes.

– My first book, Grace Not Perfection, is about that very thing. I wanted to have this perfect life where I had this beautiful balance that existed all the time every day where my children were perfectly behaved and I was a wonderful cook. I’m a really bad cook, that’s a whole nother story.

– Talking about that, I get it, I get it.

– I’m really good at ordering to-go food, that’s a whole nother story. And business was great, and it isn’t a real, it isn’t a reality, and so I just had to learn to give myself a lot of grace and know that every day was gonna look different and I also had to say okay, what is good enough? Like what at the end of the day, what will I regret? Will I regret not going to that conference or will I regret not showing up at the Halloween party at school, you know? And for me, it was, I quit my full-time job after two years of working two jobs, I was able to leave my full-time job and I did it so I could be a mom with flexibility, and that’s it. That’s the only reason. I started a small Etsy shop so that I could have a side income to bring into our family and it grew much further beyond that, but at the end of every day, even with a business like we have now, with thousands of customers around the world, at the end of the day, I go to the Halloween party, you know?

– Yep, yep.

– And that has to be for me, what’s good, what’s good, you know?

– Yes, yes, yes, totally.

– And somebody said a quote and I’m gonna get it wrong whoever it was, but it was don’t sacrifice the good to chase the perfect.

– That’s good.

– So for me, what’s good, what’s good enough, and then giving yourself grace along the way, and one more thing about balance, I heard this analogy once that balance is like riding a bike. You’re never just fully there, you have never just arrived, you’re constantly shifting your weight from left to right to keep from face planting.

– Yes, that’s so good.

– And that’s me on the bike every day, I just don’t wanna fall on my face. Some days I have to spend more time at work, some days I’m with my kids more and then we just, you go back and forth.

– That’s right, that’s right. And different season, different decisions are going to be made.

– Oh, definitely.

– And you’ve got three great tips about this, simplifying your schedule, so talk me through those.

– Well, I think you have to start with taking inventory of where you are. So, what are you currently committed to? My husband laughs, whenever I get out a big poster board and a Sharpie, I have to have a big poster board and a Sharpie but when they come out he’s like here we go.

– It’s about to happen.

– It’s coming.

– What do you do with it, you write everything down?

– I write everything down, so what are we committed to? We’re committed to church, we’re committed to school, we’re committed to these volunteer things.

– And is this like, what are you committed to in life or is it like, or in the month?

– In the month. So in life for us is like we have this church thing, this volunteer thing, this work thing, this kid thing, and we have to write ’em all out and see like where are we, and then number two, what can we cut? And you just have to unapologetically say no. It can’t be part of this, even though this volunteer project is good, or being classroom mom is good, I can’t do it in this season, and so saying no, finding things that you can cross off the list, and then manipulating things in a way where you have margin. I think a lot of times with this time of year, we overschedule ourselves.

– Yes.

– And maybe we have 20 memories we wanna make with our family so we have back-to-back-to-back-to-back and especially with little children, that does not go well.

– Yeah, no.

– At least with mine, and so we have to build in days that are just down days and build in time that’s just white space and not feel so compelled to fill that white space with stuff, you know? I think as a society we’re a little uncomfortable with being bored.

– We totally are.

– Or like taking naps.

– That’s exactly what I was thinking, yeah seriously though the quiet freaks people out now, freaks people out and I’m probably guilty of this.

– Me too.

– Okay, well let’s, just look on my phone, you gotta be doing something all the time and that rest, truly, just like doing nothing, it’s so good, it’s so good for you. You can actually hear your thoughts and think through things.

– Right, that’s crazy.

– It’s so good, oh my gosh. Well you are so brilliant on so many levels. And I was like I wanna ask you like all these topics and all of that, so yeah, I’m just so thankful that you’re such a great resource for so many women watching, and for moms like me, just the encouragement you give, and your advice is so, it’s kind of like my money advice, it’s so simple, it’s just hard to do at times so change that behavior, getting in the habit, you guys, of simplifying your time and being so, so intentional, which is your message.

– Right.

– It’s gonna help you out this holiday season for sure. So Emily, where can everyone find you?

– On Instagram and Facebook @emilyley and also @simplified, and at

– And my favorite thing you have are your pins.

– Oh, I love the pins!

– Actually, for all of you out there is the box we send out to people, I was like could we get could we get Emily Ley pins, because I love them.

– They’re so cute.

– So everyone, check out everything she does. Alright, the part of the show where we get to celebrate you guys, that’s right. She works hard saving money. Rachel said, oh, Rachel, great name, Rach! Love it! “We wanted to tile our bedroom with wood-looking tiles. “We sold some old furniture but everything was way “over that budget until we found a tile on sale “for 52 cents each at Lowe’s. “The Lowe’s in our town didn’t have the amount we needed “so we drove 30 minutes to another Lowe’s “where we found the full price for $2.89. “We spoke to the manager and she honored the sale price. “Under total discount on our receipt, “it says $406.56 and we paid cash! “#Sheworkshardsavingmoney.” Rachel, that is amazing, so fun. Teresa said, “we have waited five years to visit Scotland. “Stationed in Germany, we knew it would be expensive, “physical, and hard, but we did it. “Our 19-month-old loved it and climbed through “all of the castles and abbeys we visited “Our Scotland line item gave us permission to spend.” Amazing, Teresa, thank you guys so much for your service, I love it. Rilea said, “18 and debt-free in nine months! “Paid off $7,000 between my car and my phone “and now to pay for my MBA without student debt. “So far, so good with community college for two years. “Have almost $3,000 of the $8,000 saved up to cover my first year of my three-year university in 2020. “Woohoo, no more payments ever.” Amazing, Rilea. You guys, you’re killing it, I love it! So, so good. Remember to post your pictures and your videos with the hashtag #sheworkshardsavingmoney. Alright, well thank you so much to all of our guests on for today’s show, Sarah from Woman’s Day for the great gift wrapping tips and Amber and Barry for sharing their story and to Emily Ley for coming on. And you guys, thank you so much for watching, and remember to take control of your money and create a life you love.