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How to Do Christmas on a Tight Budget

By Kim Affleck

When facing the holiday season, it can be some of the most stressful time of the entire year. How much more stressful when facing an uncertain future. I’d like to help you focus on some new ways to approach Christmas.

The Bible says to love your neighbor “as yourself”. Loving yourself might mean honoring your budget especially this holiday season.

Let me share a story of a previous client and how they struggled with this dilemma.

The young couple had been coming for help for a few weeks and this time I could see she was visibly upset. This week’s assignment had been preparing the December budget. She and her husband had only $60 to spend on the entire family, even extended family.

“I buy for everyone. I love my family!” she lamented.

We talked about what her expectations were and what they had done in the past. But what they had done in the past brought them to the difficult financial condition they were in now.

I asked her, “Do you think it more loving to your family to honor your budget? Or to deny it and just go spend the money?”

This question caught her by surprise and at first she resisted adopting the new behavior my question suggested.

As we brainstormed her options, I saw her turn from what she saw as “horrid limitations”, to viewing the $60 as her resource for her expression of love.

We began focusing on what she did have to give instead of she didn’t have. She mentioned the family photo they had taken in front of the Grand Canyon that summer. The whole family was in it and the backdrop was … Grand!

Instead of feeling like she had nothing to give, she realized that this was a valuable asset and began to think about how she could copy off that photo for each person on her list. If she went to a thrift store, perhaps she could pick up frames and glass for almost nothing, spray paint them all black and matt them with a favorite Scripture and stay within her $60 budget.

Let me ask you a question? Do you think those family members or friends probably enjoyed that year’s gift more than some item from the store?

What gifts are inside you to give this season without breaking your budget?

Perhaps you know how to cook and could invite a student from a local college who cannot afford to go home for the holidays? Is there a single person or an elderly person or couple that you could have over for a meal?

Maybe you write, sing, crochet…

You, like God, are creative. No other animal writes, draws, builds, cooks… You are gifted.

Don’t just look at what you can’t do. Push into what you CAN do and probably do well. And bless those around you with a piece of you this Christmas.

Kim Affleck is a financial coach on Leslie’s team. After 35 years of marriage and raising a large family, Kim found herself divorced, scared and vulnerable. Today she works as a coach who comes along side and helps women who, like herself, need financial wisdom as they try to navigate the troubled waters of finances. She has taught Foundations in Personal Finance, a high school curriculum by Dave Ramsey’s organization. She also has lead many Crown and Financial Peace sessions. In 2007 she became a Dave Ramsey trained coach. Today she belongs to a Mastermind group of Financial coaches, Coach Connections.

You can get in touch with Kim at [email protected] or www.accountable.network/p/AfflecSP


The Unexpected Power of Home: Why We Need It More Than Ever

by Nancie Carmichael

Nancie Carmichael's passion is that The Unexpected Power of Home: Why We Need It More Than Ever will inspire the reader to see with fresh eyes the potentially powerful and life-shaping place that home is. Through home, we have the power to create an atmosphere of safety, of beauty, of hospitality, and of celebration.

While a practical book, it's also a spiritual book. Home starts with us. Through making room for the sacred in our home, we learn to make room for the sacred in our lives.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter.

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of “My Dearly Depotted” by Gayle Roper are Nancy A. and Patricia B.

How Do I Take Back Control of My Life Without Hurting My Spouse?

Question: How do I say no to my husband without hurting his feelings or making him angry? I’m trying to take back control and he is not having it.

Answer: Your statement “He’s not having it” reveals a deeper problem. However, the problem isn’t in your marriage or in your attempt to say No. It’s in your husband’s head.

Your husband has some internal beliefs that control how he sees your “no.” One belief might be, “If you love me, are loyal to me, and trust me, then you will always agree with me and do what I say.

”When you don’t agree with him or you challenge him, he reads that through the filter of “You don’t love me, you aren’t loyal to me or you don’t trust my wisdom or my leadership.” And that hurts his ego and he reacts in anger.

Here is What People are Saying About Empowered to Change

“I Learned some valuable lessons. Knowing Core Values (who I am) is different than my fickle feelings and thoughts is huge for me. Avoiding ‘what if' thinking and ‘worse case scenario disease' will also be helpful to me. Difference between acknowledging and accepting is good for me to know. I acknowledged the problems 10 years ago, but have only moved closer to accepting in last year. Being responsible for my well-being is new to me. Giving up hope of change in my husband has come very slowly. Grieving currently as this is sinking in. Class helped me see a lot of things. Trusting God to work it all ‘into' me. I pray it will move me forward. I need hope for me and kids.”

~ Graduate of Empowered To Change


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States