Tuesday, December 9

Christmas Countdown! #9 - Got Snowballs???

Snowballs are good when it comes to making snowmen and sledding... but if you're not careful, especially this time of year, your debts can snowball and you definitely don't want that to happen.

It seems the days of living debt-free are unheard of, but that's really the secret, not for just a wonderful Christmas season but to a wonderful lifetime. Back in the day when I grew up, you didn't buys things unless you had the money right then to make the purchase. Same thing continued when we got married... we saved money and made purchases with savings.... not with credit cards, that only built interest fees, stress and problems.

I've heard it said that wealth and poverty don't change you. They just make you more of what you already are. We've had little and we've had much... so in my experience, that's exactly right. No matter where you are, the focus at Christmas should never be on acquiring more things! Rather it should be on experiences, on time together as a family and on meditating on what Christmas really means - God stepping out of Heaven to Earth. Love coming down to save us.

Here are some suggestions taken from Dave Ramsey on living debt-free (Financial Peace University).

1. Our priorities

 We don’t want our children overwhelmed with more large plastic things on Christmas morning. We try to stick to about four things each: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I’ve been surprised how having a little more room in the budget has shown us that the way we were doing things before was really the right way after all. More money doesn’t make a better Christmas.

2. Frugal decorating

Find ways to beautify your home inexpensively... so better yet you'll find even with more cash in your wallet.  You can still have fun making over your home on very little. Here are some tricks for inexpensive, beautiful Christmas decorations.

3. Traditions and experiences

While it's good to have family traditions, like Advent Calendars and building Gingerbread Houses,  just be sure they  keep you laser-focused on the love of God personified!  Your decision on what to buy and what to do should be driven exclusively by your priorities for your family: how you want your children to grow up, the kind of family you want to be, and the kind of humans you want to raise. Just be sure that money is so much less of the equation and giving is more of the equation! Being able to give freely and open-handedly is absolutely addicting. If there’s one thing you should look forward to the most, it’s being able to jump at every opportunity to make someone’s life better, whether it’s at Christmas, on 4th of July or a random Tuesday in September. It’s the most fun you'll ever have!

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