Over the years I have pared down my gift giving list, I don't buy expensive or extravagant gifts and I often make presents, yet I still was over spending each December on gifts for people.
This year I've met with a financial adviser (I highly recommend Leslie Mallman) and she helped me look at my debt and my current spending habits and set a budget. It's not easy to admit, but yes, I currently have some debt. My rent jumped quite a bit when I moved a few years back but my spending continued at the same rate. Higher rent+same income+same spending=debt.
While a budget is very helpful and I have cut back on expenses, the best part of talking things through with Leslie was realizing that I could also look at raising my income. Whoa! What a crazy idea. That's why I've been using airbnb to rent out my spare room. It means my debt will be annihilated faster then if I were to just cut spending.
Which leads me to this Christmas. Buying presents for everyone puts me further into debt. It just didn't make sense and so this year I am not buying presents. Ok, I am buying one present for my cousin's son because I want him to have presents to open Christmas morning.
I feel comfortable with my decision and I know the people who love me aren't going to love me any less for it. It is also completely stress relieving to know that I can opt out of something that doesn't provide me with joy. Getting out of debt sooner, now that makes me happy.
I also think this was an easier decision to come to since I have adopted minimalism. Bringing fewer things into my home makes me see that 'stuff' isn't always the answer. The times I am happiest in my home are when the people I adore are spending time with me.