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16 Ways to Celebrate a Budget Christmas

16 Ways to Celebrate a Budget Christmas

Decorations

1. Decorate with what is meaningful to you

When you think about the real meaning behind Christmas decorations, they are used to add a festive touch according to your tastes and based on what the holiday means for you. Whether you believe in the religious roots of Christmas, or just like the magic of the whole season, pick your decorations to express that, without feeling pressure for more. You can’t compete with Martha Stewart or the big shopping malls, but you can choose what is displayed at your home. Below are some easy ways:

(i) Pick children’s favorite ornaments or toys to add to the tree or hang in their rooms

(ii) Make simple handmade tree trimmings

(iii) Choose a string of lights

If your budget Christmas has minimal or no allowance for decorations, choose a string of lights only. They will instantly make any room look Christmas-y

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(iv) Use Fresh greenery you find while walking out in nature or garden

2. Set the right atmosphere

Christmas is one of the most atmospheric times, when memories are recalled, scents encourage thoughts, and there’s a feeling in the air that makes everything seems possible. To make sure you will have a beautiful celebration at home, set the right atmosphere, by including warm and festive smells, cozy corners and of course the right tunes. You can do these:

(i) Play a CD or YouTube videos

(ii) Take out cozy blankets

(iii) Put a few spices and fruit simmering on the stove

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Activities

3. Plan family activities ahead

Include board games or classic group activities during and/or after the Christmas meal, to have something to look forward to and shift the focus from the food or the gifts. No one remembers how many side dishes they had last year, but memories from funny times and inside jokes created over board games are more likely to stay forever. Start brainstorming ideas beforehand and ask for everyone’s opinion on what they’d like to do. This also teaches your kids that family time needs planning too, same as presents and food. If you’re not really fond of games, looking at family photo albums would be lovely and fun too.

4. Cook together as a family

What you are serving on your table doesn’t matter if everyone is grumpy and disappointed or rushing to get to a party afterwards. A happy meal is made of happy sharing. To encourage more interaction and fun in your family, try to involve everyone with the food preparations. Even toddlers can help wash vegetables or cut cheese. Having everyone work as a team will ensure a fun time; just remember to ignore the mess and be more open to things not being done your way. In the end, all of you will appreciate the labor of love sitting on the table and might even linger a bit more sitting around and talking to each other, instead of heading for the phone or TV.

5. Stretch the joy in the whole season

Being on a budget sometimes means less things to look forward to, compared to old times. This can lead to a moody feeling. To avoid this, spread out the little things on different days leading to Christmas and leave some for after. There’s no reason why you can’t watch a movie every single day of December instead of doing a marathon night or why you can’t have a festive brunch on other days besides Christmas morning. You can also write everything on a calendar or put it on your advent, so each member of the family can look forward to some fun. Focusing on a couple of activities you enjoy most will create meaningful memories for your children.

Gatherings and social interaction

6. Create your own traditions

Traveling to celebrate with family and friends equals great holidays, but sometimes the high cost of flights, the bad weather and the full houses you visit aren’t worth it. If you are used to visiting your big families every year, stay at home this Christmas for a change. You might even like this more, but you have to try it. Prepare your children, if they have been looking forward to meeting their cousins all year long, by telling them you will be on a different adventure this year. Mention things like discovering your town, visiting different festive events and celebrating your own magical way at home. If you think about it, you’ve been leaving home every year, to be part of big loud tables, when you don’t always have the opportunity to spend productive time with those you care about most, or avoid relatives you don’t get along with. When you celebrate with a big crowd, you are often following others’ traditions and way of doing Christmas. Why not sit down and think how you really want to spend this holiday? Write a few thoughts and ask everyone in the family for one thing they’d like to do. Limit it to one thing or you’ll create unwanted stress. Be sure to balance quiet time with some fun and eventually create your own version of Christmas. If you like it, next year you can start inviting people over to your house, or go back to traveling if you realize that’s what your ideal Christmas looks like.

7. Show people your way of doing Christmas

Don’t sit there stressing about what others might think of you, especially if it’s the first time you’re doing a budget Christmas. Instead, make the first move and let them know about your decision to celebrate differently this year and tell them what to expect. You might even make them want to adopt your way or join you for some of the new activities. By letting people know your intentions, you will have fewer of them judge you or express disappointment later. Learning to say no to anything that doesn’t align with your intentions is one of the most common pieces of advice that experts give for having a stress-free holiday season.

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Food

8. Use all you have in your pantry

Doing a budget Christmas is a great opportunity to take out every food item from your fridge and cupboards. Make a rule of buying no food unless you have used everything you already have at home. Plan your meals around them and incorporate some in the festive meal too. You might come up with interesting combinations and new flavors.

9. Serve finger food

If you are having guests over, serve meatless dishes and a lot of appetizer-style ones. Small bites and finger food are child-friendly, too. Anything that can be served cold or at room temperature will cut your time.

10. Put a theme on it

To add interest to a simple celebration with minimal spending, put a theme on it and pay attention to adding a couple of details. Everything will look more exciting if it’s part of the “Christmas at the English pub” or “Beach-cottage Christmas”. Pasta, pie, sparkling water with lemon, or wine with sliced apples will never look more fancy than on your thematic gathering. A Subtle Revelry magazine founder and book author Victoria Hudgins is a big advocate of making everyday food festive with a few details added. Here are a few ideas to get inspired.

11. Same food, different way

You can totally cook your usual dishes for Christmas, with a slight variation in presentation. If you normally cut your roasted veggies in big chunks, cube them or slice them diagonally this time. You won’t believe what a difference such small trick makes. Make sure there are two or more colors in there for visual interest. On the same note, slice the meat thinly if you normally serve it whole.

Gifts

12. Teach children the joy of giving

A sudden Christmas without presents for a child used to getting 10 wrapped packages under the tree will be disappointing and dramatic. Instead of making drastic changes, slowly introduce new traditions to your children, while dropping old ones you don’t want to continue. Assign one person for each child and help them make or buy a gift for them. It can be a relative, a senior, or a struggling neighbor, but it is more real and encouraging when the child knows that person. The joy in their eyes when unwrapping presents under the Christmas tree might be less with fewer gifts. However, your children will get to know a deeper and longer-lasting joy, that of giving and sharing, which often wins over the joy of getting. The younger they are when you introduce this tradition, the easier it will be for you to establish more meaningful and non-materialistic Christmas celebrations. Joy Cho has been doing this with her three-year-old daughter since she was born.

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13. Re-gifting done right

If you haven’t already, start to embrace re-gifting right now. Even experts give it a thumbs up, as long as it’s done right. Ditch the guilt and the social embarrassment fear by following these simple tips:

  • Make sure you know who gave the item to you
  • Don’t re-gift it to someone related to the person who gave it to you
  • The item should be new and functioning
  • The person who will get it will love it and use it

14. Spend your time instead of money

Don’t spend a dime on wrapping paper or gift tags, fancy bottled beverages or anything you can make yourself easily. If you really want to commit to spending less this year, consider every coin you can save and be ready to spend a little more time making things. Also, follow the rule of one present per person only. You’d be surprised, but studies have led to the conclusion that a second gift actually lowers the value of the whole experience. It’s actually called the “Presenter’s Paradox”.

Where to start

15. Make a bouncy budget

As with every other aspect of your life, there’s no reason not to make a budget for Christmas. To avoid feeling like a Scrooge about it, bounce your categories. Pay attention to each of them and choose where you want to spend more and where you wouldn’t mind cutting back. For example, after the initial equal division between all categories, feel free to bounce some money from the food category to the gifts one, if you don’t want your kids to get disappointed, while you enjoy making food from scratch. Alter whatever works for you and bounce everything according to your needs, so everyone is content even on a budget.

16. Be honest about it

If the whole Christmas-celebration thing still looks intimidating to you, follow none of the above tips. Simply be honest with yourself and go through the reasons you need to do a budget Christmas this year. Be it financial problems or just the need to establish a more simplified and meaningful life, tell everyone in your family why you are doing it and you can all speed up the process of getting where you want to be together. Experts like Leo Batuta always advice to dig through the reality of your current life, in order to be able to achieve the changes you want. Get started with these five questions.
If you manage to establish healthy habits, try to continue them after Christmas too. Especially with kids, consistency is the key to sticking with new behaviors.

Go on and enjoy Christmas your own way! Don’t stress too much about pleasing everyone or getting the best gifts. Only you know what is best for your family right now. After all, every single study agrees that it’s the experiences that make us happy on the long run, rather than material objects. Focus on spending time with those who matter for you, rather than anxiously waiting for a January full of debt to come.

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Last Updated on August 7, 2018

How to Make Money with a Blog (According to 23 Successful Bloggers)

How to Make Money with a Blog (According to 23 Successful Bloggers)

Not too long ago, you believed that making money with a blog was impossible. But after seeing dozens of income reports from other bloggers, you became hooked. Now you’re left wondering if you could achieve similar results.

In this article, I’ll consolidate the lessons learned from some successful bloggers and get you the advice on how to make money with a blog.

How to monetize your blog the right way

A blog is more than a website with words, it’s a brand that solves a problem. When you’re first starting off it’s difficult to make any money. Why? Because no one trusts your brand.

The solution is simple, provide engaging content to build a large audience. Once your blog’s traffic and subscribers have grown, here are the most effective ways you can monetize your blog.

  1. Affiliate Marketing[1]
  2. Selling Courses[2]
  3. Coaching[3]

“Get rich quick” schemes rarely work

Some believe that bloggers had their success handed to them, but this is far from the truth. Their success required sacrifice, discipline and courage to work. And this is where most people run into trouble because they’re unwilling to put in the work.

Your first step to building income through your blog is to stop believing it will be easy to achieve. The trick is to only listen to a few bloggers who are at the position you’d like to be and take massive action.

It can take months or even years before you start earning income.

And when the going gets tough, keep going. Don’t stop. Learn to love the journey more than the outcome and you’ll build a profitable blog.

Executing the right advice leads to success

You need to learn from bloggers with diverse backgrounds.

What motivates someone to build an online business may not inspire you. But there’re strategies some bloggers will share that you’ll resonate with.

So what’s the next step? To start taking action.

How to make money with a blog: Lessons learned from 23 successful bloggers

Browse the list of some of the most influential and down to earth bloggers in today’s time. Chances are that you’ll resonate with a few of them. Take their practical lessons and apply them to your blog.

These bloggers may spark light bulb moments for you and change your life forever.

1. Gary Vaynerchuck – Down to earth entrepreneur who’ll transform your life

    Gary is a proud “D” student who helped his dad grow his wine liquor store into a 60 million business. He left the wine business to start his own digital agency, which now generates over $100 million.

    Today, he inspires entrepreneurs of all ages through his blog, vlog, and Podcast to take full control of their lives doing what they love.

    Lesson: Have the patience to build a successful business.

    2. Pat Flynn – Online Jedi who’s fearless to try new ideas

      Pat built several sites, is an author of many books and has launched many podcasts. His blog is one of the most popular sites on the web for beginner and experienced entrepreneurs. Despite Pat’s success, he’s still humble and willing to help others.

      Lesson: Don’t let fear stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone.

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      3. John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneur on fire, inspiring others through his voice

        John is the host of EOFire, an award-winning business podcast, interviewing top entrepreneurs. He’s interviewed successful entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins and many more. John is also the author of the #1 ranked book for Podcasting in Amazon. He’s an excellent example of what happens when you chase your dreams and remain committed.

        Lesson: Follow one course until success (FOCUS).

        4. J Money – Rockstar money expert who injects “cool” into finance

          J Money is an award-winning personal finance blogger, company advisor and money rockstar. He injects a “fun” personality in his blog, adding a sense of “coolness” to personal finance. He’s the founder of RockstarFinance, a personal finance directory filled with useful resources.

          The fresh perspectives J shares about money will leave you pondering for days.

          Lesson: Have fun with your blog to stand out and create engaging content.

          5. Mr. Money Mustache – Badass blogger who’ll transform your financial lifestyle

            Mr.MM’s goal is to help you live a “badass” life. He has unique money saving ideas up his sleeve, such as cutting your grocery bill in half, and DIY solar panels. There are no “generic” articles in his blog, only thorough and well-thought ideas.

            Mr.MM is financially independent and willing to share his secrets if you dare to listen.

            Lesson: Focus on your needs and wants to live your dream lifestyle.

            6. Sam – Thoughtful blogger sharing smart insights

              Sam is a blogger and a real estate investor. His blog has received millions of views and featured in Forbes, Lifehacker, CNBC, and many more. Sam dives deep into topics like real estate, retirement planning, and career strategies. Read his blog and discover why it’s “bookmark-worthy”.

              Lesson: Keep investing in yourself to be better prepared for the future.

              7. Joshua Dorkin – The persistent entrepreneur who never lost hope

                Joshua is a well-known entrepreneur and speaker who’s featured in major publications. He’s built the nation’s largest real estate investing blog and co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast.

                He’s the ultimate example of what’s attainable when you pursue your dreams. His blog is one of the only few you’ll need to reach financial independence with real estate.

                Lesson: Keep working towards your goal despite who tries to stop you.

                8. Ramit Sethi – That “cool” teacher who’ll help you reach your next level

                  Ramit is a New York Times Bestselling author. He prides himself on being different, which is why he loves giving away 98% of his material for free. His content is binge-worthy and will bring out the awesome out of you.

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                  If you’re ready to master your inner psychology or finance, then stop by Ramit’s blog.

                  Lesson: There’s always a way to get what you want as long as you’re willing to put in the work.

                  9. Paula Pant – The entrepreneur who took an enormous risk chasing freedom

                    Paula is a writer, speaker and freedom enthusiast. It didn’t take long after landing her “dream” job to know it wouldn’t offer the freedom she’d craved.

                    Today, Paula has reached financial independence by building many income streams. Her writing style is engaging will leave you questioning your limiting beliefs.

                    Lesson: It’s worth risking the odds to live your desired lifestyle.

                    10. Steve – Early retiree, fearless to take a stance

                      Steve reached financial independence 30 years earlier than the typical American. You can find his work in major sites such as Forbes, Business Insider, and many more.

                      Currently, Steve writes detailed content on his blog helping readers achieve financial independence. If you’re looking to save money, or retire early, you’ll love Steve’s blog.

                      Lesson: Plan ahead to reach your desired goals.

                      11. Robert Farrington – Millennial Sensei for college students

                        Robert is a consultant, and a writer dubbed as America’s Millennial money expert. His passion for managing money at a young age led him to create The College Investor. In his blog, you’ll find great resources to crush student loan debt and invest your money.

                        Lesson: Be open-minded with how you can express your passion.

                        12. Joe Udo – The writer who took the road less taken

                          Taking risks ain’t easy, but there are always a few people who take it anyways. Joe is a blogger, investor and a great example of what risk takers do. He retired before turning 40, after leaving a job he’d been working for over a decade.

                          Joe’s blog shares proven ways to building passive income, and managing your money.

                          Lesson: Taking risks becomes easier when you prepare daily.

                          13. Elle Martinez – The financial superwoman for struggling couples

                            Elle has a passion for money, so much that she’s been writing about personal finance for over a decade. She enjoys helping couples build their finances together, and live on one income.

                            Elle’s blog helps you avoid money fights, boosts your savings, and much more.

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                            Lesson: Find ways to solve the problems you’re obsessed about.

                            14. Len Penzo – Creative blogger who makes personal finance entertaining

                              Len’s blog has received over 9 million visitors. He’s featured in major publications such as the NY Times, Forbes, and many more.

                              Len transforms boring money subjects into engaging content that hook readers for more. If you want to make smarter financial decisions, his blog is a must-read.

                              Lesson: Create engaging content to build a large audience.

                              15. Farnoosh Torabi – Finance expert, inspiring women to unleash their full potential

                                Farnoosh used to borrow clothes and eat $5 Footlongs until she climbed out of debt. Today she’s a journalist, author, TV personality, and financial expert. Farnoosh is the host of SO Money, one of iTunes’s top financial Podcasts. She’s a leader and inspiration to other women.

                                Lesson: View your shortcomings as gifts and use them to stand out.

                                16. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner – Young entrepreneur achieving success on the road

                                  Michelle started blogging in 2011 with hopes of improving her finances. Today, her blog is one of the most popular personal finance blogs you’ll find. There’s a slim chance you might catch her on the road, as she’s touring around the US with her husband. Her blog contains advice for growing your income and living a better lifestyle.

                                  Lesson: Be transparent about your struggles to build a supportive audience.

                                  17. Phillip Talyor – Money expert who knows how to throw a finance party

                                    Phillip Taylor or “PT” is a blogger, CPA, and a finance enthusiast. At one point, he’d accumulated a ton of debt and was in need of financial wisdom. He created his blog to document his financial wins, and collaborate with others.

                                    Because of Phillip’s passion for finance, he created FinCon. Today, Fincon is the go-to conference where influencers and financial brands meet.

                                    Lesson: Hard work is more important than experience to achieve your goals.

                                    18. Stefanie O’Connell – The financial role model every woman needs

                                      Stefanie started blogging around 2008, at a time when most of America was in a financial crisis. Despite this, she went from living on less than $500 a week to dubbed as a Millennial money expert.

                                      Stefanie spends her time helping ambitious women adopt “rich” habits. Join Stefanie’s tribe and start feeling empowered with your finances.

                                      Lesson: You can be a role model for others if you’re brave enough to face your fears

                                      19. J.D. Roth – Finance enthusiast who’ll leave you thinking smarter

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                                        J.D. was a contributor of the “Your Money” column for Entrepreneur magazine. His blog is one of the best personal finance blogs on the web and has received millions of visitors. You’ll find in-depth articles that will leave you making smarter money decisions.

                                        Lesson: No matter how big your problems are, there’s always a solution.

                                        20. Catherine Alford – Entrepreneur mom, inspiring women to chase their dreams

                                          Catherine is a speaker, writer, and a proud mom of 2 twins. She’s an inspiration for women looking to spend more time with their families. Catherine became best Contributor/Freelancer for personal finance in 2014.

                                          Discover why you don’t need to choose between your career and family at Catherine’s blog.

                                          Lesson: Your story can become the inspiration many are searching for.

                                          21. Natalie Bacon – Life coach and entrepreneur inspiring women to design their dream lives

                                            Natalie is an inspiration for those looking to pursue their passion. She’s featured in major sites like The Huffington Post, Forbes, and many others. Natalie follows her dreams and isn’t afraid of hard work. Her blog contains quality content that will inspire you to take action.

                                            Lesson: Don’t be afraid to change course because you’ll be one step closer to finding your dream life.

                                            22. Crystal Paine – Inspirational entrepreneur who loves to give back

                                              Crystal is a personal finance blogger who’s been writing since 2006. Her site has creative ways to save money on groceries, clothes, toys, and much more. Crystal donates a percentage of her blog’s income towards life-impacting ministries.

                                              Her blog will not only teach you how to save money but also how to live an abundant lifestyle.

                                              Lesson: Focus on helping others first and you’ll build massive wealth.

                                              23. Liz – Frugal expert who’ll transform your bad spending habits

                                                Liz is an author, writer and a frugal expert who enjoys helping others save money. She’s featured in NPR, Forbes, Liz’s blog contains creative ways to save money and reach financial independence.

                                                Lesson: Be bold enough to prioritize your opinion above others’.

                                                Start your blog and achieve jaw-dropping results

                                                Imagine waking in your pajamas and opening your laptop. You notice a few hundred dollars were deposited to your Paypal account. This money didn’t fall from the sky, it came from your blog.

                                                Not too long ago you believed making money from a blog was impossible, but now you’ve finally achieved it. Amazing isn’t it?

                                                This can be your reality if you learn from these successful bloggers. Go through this list and pick your top three bloggers. Take a look at their content (Blog, Podcast, Video), and break your bad habits.

                                                The time has come to transform yourself into the blogger you’d like to become. You’re not someone who only wants to accumulate a ton of cash. You want to live your dream life and impact others doing what you love.

                                                What’s stopping you now?

                                                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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