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Three steps to saving money this Christmas

Festivals, parties, school recitals, travel - the holiday season has enough busyness to stress anyone out.  To help you save stress and $$, I want to share with you the 3 steps I do every year before Thanksgiving.  I've been doing these for over 6 years, so I know they can help you too!  
1.  Make a list.
Write down every single person you are going to get a gift for.  Each person or group of persons (like parents or siblings) gets a single line.  As you can see, my list includes my in-laws, my mom, one of my siblings (more on that later), Hubby, and our 3 kiddos.  I also will include a few special people, like our best friends, our awesome babysitters, and my sons' teachers.  
2.  Write a dollar amount next to each person(s) name.
Let me be clear: you are NOT quantifying the relationship.  You are getting a running total on your Christmas budget.  This is how much you plan on spending for Christmas gifts.  For example, our total Christmas budget was under $500 when our kids were tiny.  If you want to make or bake them something, write $0.
3.  Write down what you want to get/make each person.
Yup, write down exactly what you want to get each person.  This is why each person gets their own line.  The reason for this is that when Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals roll around, you're armed and ready! 

BONUS: Make or bake!  You don't have to buy something for everyone.  The key is to stay in your strengths. Does crafty stuff stress you out? Bake something instead!  Here is a super simple bread recipe that is super tasty! (scroll down the page for the recipe).  Gluten free?  Make this granola and send it in cute half-pint mason jars.  Pinterest is THE place to find crafty gift ideas.
Do you have any questions, or a success story?  Share them below!  I can't wait to read them!

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