At this point of the year, we are not trying to take on anything big like getting your financial sh*t together.
Instead, we will focus on managing the inevitable overspending.
Part of the December fun is being whimsical and spontaneous. We definitely do not want to squash any of that. What is not fun is an enormous credit card bill in January that robs us of that post holiday satisfaction.
Lets try to do it well this year.
Some simple guidelines to close out the year.
You have to decide how much you have to spend for the month of December.
If you have your separate account for fun money set up - which we always advocate - you need to decide how much of that fun money you are willing to blow this month. Your Dreams section in AfireFi holds all the dreams you are saving for. Pop in there to remind yourself and make an intentional decision of how much is for December’s enjoyment.
If you do not have a separate account, then go to AfireFi Cash Flow and check your account balances versus the Cash you should have. That is the amount you have available to spend.
Again, you need to decide how much of it you are willing to blow.
Once you know how much is available to burn through, you need some cheat tools to help you get the money to last all the way through to January and avoid that credit card debt or disappointment.
Our cheat tools...
For entertainment: I chose Cash. I withdraw the money I have decided on and stuff the money into 4 envelopes. This helps me say yes and no along the way. If you are hitting a debit card or credit you need to formulate a boundary. Maybe you have a separate debit card you fund weekly or use a low credit limit credit card.
For gifts: I make a list of who and divvy money out along with some appropriate ideas.
When shopping online: I fill a cart and walk away. I can get so suckered into the pop-ups and suggestions. So, walking away and coming back helps me make sane decisions to get me back to my budget – and it really is satisfying to find good things and not overspend at the same time.
When shopping in person: I fill a basket and pause before going to the register – I go through the basket, take out what we will never miss and tally up what remains. There are always things to take out. If I am not sure, I'll take a picture and leave it. This is actually a great way to shop with kids. This way you are not saying no, you are saying maybe. If my daughter remembers it and continues to ask then I think about getting it for her.
Shopping for kids deserves a mention – it's been a tough few years and guilt can lead us to over shopping – trying to make up for lost time.
Kids are well-keyed into that emotion. They are smarter than we think. What my daughter has taught me is that what she most wants and needs is relaxed parents with free time. They love the commotion and surprise of the holidays. So, I choose a couple of fun ridiculous things I would never buy during the year and take time to wrap them well.
Freelancers and biz owners, remember to draw a salary and not use your biz as a checking account if you need more cash.
Wind down work. When things begin to slow, it’s a time new ideas come up. Write them down but look to execute in January.
Make plans to see the important people so you don’t just wind up seeing the people making outgoing calls.
Get outside in nature even if you have to bundle up, and take pauses between events.
This way when January comes, you feel revitalized by your community and a change of routine and fun! Instead of pudgy with credit card debt. Each hour is a new chance for new beginnings.
This is our last post for the year. I hope you make time for your celebration. You did your best and you did great.
Happy Holidays! See you fresh and bright in the New Year.