Making it Through the Holidays When You’re Broke

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The holidays are a great time of splurging for many people, but if you’re truly flat broke it can be very depressing! In fact I think that the Christmas season is the hardest to go through when you can’t afford your bills. I know….we’ve been there! Our family is so thankful this year due to my blog to not be flat broke! Most of you know that I do make a small amount of income through this blog to help pay some bills as well as the products that I receive to review.
It is just one of many ways we are trying to survive a teacher’s salary. My review products are mostly what we consider as gifts to our children for Christmas – their Christmas comes to them throughout the month as I review products – not on a specific day. We don’t buy much else. And to be honest typically other than a small filler or two hubby and I don’t really exchange gifts – we just try to make it nice for the boys. But before blogging we have had years where we literally could not afford an extra $10 for presents- at all. It’s H.A.R.D.
Seeing as many of you are teachers and most of you are here reading because you are looking to save money, I know that there are some of you who are where we were a few years ago – absolutely not a penny to spend on Christmas. It’s depressing really! With sales and gifts and decorations littering every inch of our atmosphere it can be difficult to “get in the Christmas spirit” without materialistic things like gifts – especially if you have children. I encourage you to try….even if it seems sad or pointless.
Remind yourself constantly what you are thankful for….job, friends, somewhere to live, food, etc. Make your own decorations – yes, even if it on paper. Draw Christmas trees, bake a batch of cookies, if you can afford it splurge in your groceries just a little. Get that extra nice piece of meat or fancier bread for Christmas dinner. Spend quality family time together. Watch movies on TV, have a lot of family game nights, go on walks.
Although society tells us Christmas is equivalent to having tons of stuff, it really isn’t. Hold on to what you DO have and be happy with it. Go against societal expectations and make your own Christmas yourself.  I understand the desperation and desire of giving more than you can, but make a personal gift of time – no one can buy that and it truly is priceless.

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  1. I thank you so much for this post. My family and I are in the exact situation this year. My hubby worries about how we will provide a Christmas to our daughter. We've made some plans to bake cookies and a cake. As well has have a movie night a few days before Christmas because he has to work Christmas Day.

    Everyday I remind myself of everything I'm thankful for and it helps me to see the brighter side of things. This is one thing this post help me do today. So, thank you again.

  2. Karen Greenberg says:

    Things are pretty tight for my husband and I this year, and we sat down with our girls to share the situation. We were honest; the girls will have Christmas, but they aren't going to see a ton of gifts under the tree. I am so proud that both of them said there is nothing they want more than just hanging out with us and their grandparents.

    We often worrying about providing for our children for Christmas, but I think we miss the big picture this way. We ARE providing exactly what they need; a loving family, food on the table, and to see their parents get through tough times with a smile as often as possible.

    I really love the idea of home-made gifts. One year I did a "fantasy day" for my husband. I wrote out all the things I WOULD take him to do and buy him if we could afford it. It was fun, and it was fun to look back on later.

  3. Ryan Grenz says:

    Thanks for the reminder about what is important. Family.

    As a teacher, I look at the bills each month and wonder how I am going to make it work…needless to say, planning for Christmas each year is a challenge (unfortunately, there are more that way than less). The kids know what Christmas is about and they know it isn't about "stuff", but it is still nice to see them excited about something they WANT rather than NEED – which is usually what gift the rest of the year seem to be.

    I keep hoping some day that teachers will be respected for their work and paid accordingly, not just for myself but for all who labor in the classroom.

  4. Heather Thorpe says:

    Thank you , Thank you! I have been shopping for presents at the dollar store, thought I would hit Target's dollar section and left depressed….. seeing all the other great things that I could NOT put in my cart…..
    We also have family coming in town to see us and I am in a panic of how to afford to feed all of them….. but this made me pause and remember, my husband and I are employed (teaching and construction) we have a healthy daughter, and a loving family…… Life is good…. and we are surviving! Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Adelina Priddis says:

    So true, great post! This year was going to be one of our hardest, but small miracles made it possible to give our kids Christmas. One thing we are doing this year though is an activity advent. We have a family activity planned each night leading up to Christmas. They're all free or under $5. I haven't seen my family happier.

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