Christmas is around the corner, how can you spend the best but not the most? How can you effectively purchase gifts for your children? Can you have a glorious Christmas without the financial hangover looming in January?

In this podcast episode, Veronica Cisneros speaks with Jen Smith about surviving Christmas without overspending.

Meet Jen Smith

Jen Smith is the creator of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her best-selling book, The No-Spend Challenge Guide, has over 400 five-star reviews on Amazon and she’s helped thousands of people save money, spend less, and achieve their financial goals faster.

Visit her website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Listen to her podcast here.

In This Podcast


  • Common Christmas mistakes as parents
  • What to buy for your kids?
  • Where to start when setting money boundaries
  • Jen’s advice to moms overwhelmed by the holidays

Common Christmas mistakes as parents

You have to realize where your feelings and thoughts around the holidays come into how you spend, whether you have kids or not but especially when you have kids because it takes the holidays away to wanting to spend money to make it good for other people. That’s something I’ve had to keep in check, is to put it into perspective and realize the holiday isn’t about spending money. (Jen Smith)

Positive memories and feelings during the holiday can be created without spending money. It is okay to spend money because of emotions and nostalgia, however, it is important to identify why you are spending money, what those feelings and memories are and to then clearly separate yourself from this mental reality around Christmas that is influenced by nostalgia, and your physical reality.

By separating them, you have a clearer perspective and you can realize that if this upcoming Christmas you want to go above and beyond, you can budget for it. If your Christmas wants do not fit into your budget, you have to step back and readjust them a bit. This does not mean you are a bad parent.

  • Place some barriers so that you do not fall into a self-comparison trap. Go shopping with a pre-paid card, such as a gift card so that you can set yourself some physical boundaries where you can only shop at a singular shop and within a limited amount.
  • Translate the amount you are spending into the number of hours you have worked to save that money to keep it realistic. Think about what your time is worth. Gifts are not tit-for-tat, they are important and you can set your boundaries around who you purchase gifts for and not feel as if you should empty your bank account on everyone you know.

What to buy for your kids

Purchase them gifts that they will use until the next gift-giving time, or even next Christmas. Studies have shown that children play with more toys the fewer toys they have. Put thought into your gifts – this will also mean you buy fewer gifts – and always put thought into quality over quantity.

Use Christmas to gift your kid’s experiences that they cannot think to do or buy for themselves, or that they could not afford with their allowance money. You can gift something that cannot be wrapped, although for some this is a big mental barrier. Of course, you can purchase gifts for the sake of being put under the tree but then be careful because this can lead you down a path of wasting money.

Remember, January is coming! Enjoy and embrace Christmas and then be calm knowing that Christmas expenses are not haunting you into the new year.

Where to start when setting money boundaries

First, you have to know where you are at financially; know what you want to spend on, and track what you are actually spending. Try to get all the theoretical gift-shopping planning and your money-saving goals out on paper and then track it as you go.

Make sure, if you can, that both spouses are on the same page beforehand. This may be some emotional baggage they are working through, so give them some grace and time to warm up to the idea.

Jen’s advice to moms overwhelmed by the holidays

First, give yourself grace. You are not a machine and will probably not be able to live up to the expectation that you are setting for yourself because that expectation has been created by the internet and the internet is an algorithm. (Jen Smith)

Invest in self-care and know that there is no perfect family, and there is no perfect Christmas.

Celebrate the holiday’s debt free – click here for a free planner.

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful links:

Meet Veronica Cisneros

Veronica Cisneros | Empowered And Unapologetic PodcastI’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.

So I started  Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook communityjoin the VIP community, or attend our annual retreat,  you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!

Thanks for listening!

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