31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero. Freeze your spending. Change Your Life. Awesome way to reset your spending patterns or kick-start your budget!

This is the thirtieth day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge. To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.

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October is almost over which means the holidays are literally right around the corner. My feelings this time of year are always mixed. On the one hand, I truly love the joy of holiday season, but at the same time, I can’t help feel a little stressed. There are so many expectations! So many things to do! So many things to buy!

As my girls get older, I am finding it increasingly important to keep my priorities in check, and this year, after taking all their toys away, I am even more determined to be intentional with our time and energy. I want to grow up knowing the true meaning of Christmas, remembering happy memories with our family, the special traditions and the joy of giving back, not just the stuff.

It can be very difficult at this time of year to keep your budget under control. There is seemingly always one more present to buy, one more ingredient to get, or one more card to send. While it is easy to put off dealing with the repercussions until later, all those little costs can add up to a lot of stress come January.

Good planning is SO key! It is so important to decide now what you can afford to spend, and to break it down into categories to get a clear idea of what that means for your family. And in the spirit of stockpiling, planning your menus, grocery lists, and gift needs ahead of time will also mean giving yourself an opportunity to stock up on the items you need when they are at their lowest possible price.

I have updated for 2012 the Holiday Planning Guide I first introduced last year. It is a very useful tool for setting your priorities as a family and for planning your holiday budgett, gift list, and grocery needs all in one (cute) place.

{Get your 2013 Holiday Planning Workbook here}

Today your assignment is to print this guide and use it to plan your own stress-free, budget-friendly holiday. If you need some ideas for Thanksgiving menu planning, you can check out my guide to saving on holiday food here.

Here’s to a holiday season filled with joy and peace!

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Do you find the holiday season stressful or joy-filled? What are your favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions? What are some things you would like to do differently this year?

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{Go to Day 31}

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