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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Holiday Budgeting: Spreadsheets, Hosting, and Gift Lists

Episode 44 | November 7, 2023

Rachel Durci, owner of Effortless Budgeting joins us to discuss boundary setting with finances, how to change your money mindset, and planning your holiday budget this year.

Listen in as Rachel Durci discusses the stresses around holiday spending, budgeting, hosting and more. Find ways to plan ahead and mitigate over-spending.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Rachel Durci, financial wellness coach and owner of Effortless Budgeting, shares her personal journey with finances that motivated her to make a change. In doing so, she realized how uncomfortable and stress inducing money conversations can be. Listen in as she shares things to consider during this holiday season when it comes to budgeting.
Key Takeaways

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting until the last minute.”

[00:08:04] Setting boundaries during the holidays

  • Ordering in panic mode/price shopping
  • Spending is attached to most holiday plans/events
  • Forget familial expectations
  • Remember what the holidays are about – quality time vs spending
    • What did I enjoy last year?
  • Make conscious decisions
  • Tell people what you can/can’t do – the people who love and respect you will completely understand
  • Contact Rachel for a free holiday budget spreadsheet

“I don’t think that it’s coincidence that stress levels are at an all-time high over the holidays and so is spending.”

[00:17:55] Setting money aside for Christmas & hosting 

  • Share the effort – request items that people can bring, let them choose
  • What are we bringing, where are we going, who are we buying for?
    • What are we spending?
  • Start over in January and have accurate details from last year – this then gives you an idea of spending for following year

“You might spend the same amount, but it’s a lot less stressful when you’re spending it over the course of six or eight months than when you’re spending it over the course of one.”

[00:23:01] Holiday spending and gift-giving

  • Gift exchanges where you select one person
  • We are lofty financial goals for next year

“Why am I buying this person a gift? Is it important that I literally spend $100 on this person? Or is it important that I really think and try to get them something they’re going to appreciate?”

[00:28:09] Meaningful gifts and experiences

  • People appreciate homemade
    • Skills
    • Baking for others
    • Things you can make
  • Experiences
    • Donating
    • Volunteering
    • Museums

[00:32:56] Communication around holiday budgets

  • Don’t be afraid to be transparent with your family
    • “I overdid it last year”
  • Simple time spent is more valuable than any gift
  • It is ok to limit activities for yourself

“I just really, really, really want to empower people to take a breath, take a step back, and really think about what they want out of their holiday season.”

[00:44:25] Take care of yourself

Where to Find Rachel
Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues