Whereas December is all about family, celebrating, and resolutions, I find January a time for analysis and reflection on the previous year. Even the most disciplined of us find ourselves slipping during the holidays. Whether it’s in our diet, our fitness regime or our spending, it seems the entire world around us gives us a free pass in December.
In January we get that cold dose of reality. It might be an extra few pounds on the scale, feeling out of breath after walking up the stairs or a credit card bill that you’re sure belongs to someone with 18 children.
So let’s do a bit of reflecting about your financial situation and do everything we can do to minimize this kind of shock in January 2014.
Are You Overspending?
We all want the best for our kids, and it’s so easy to get caught up in buying them all the toys they want. If you have fond memories of the holidays as a kid, you’re going to want them to enjoy the same. And if you grew up without the excitement of unwrapping a room full of presents, you’ve probably made some kind of promise that your kids will enjoy what you couldn’t.
Regardless of your motivation, spending more than you can afford isn’t in your or your kid’s best interest.
Are You In Debt?
If you have other debts, that should really be your priority. If you’ve been working all year to make some headway in paying them off, you’re going to feel terrible if a single holiday season undoes much of what you’ve worked so hard for.
Planning For Next Year
I’m going to make a prediction: Christmas is going to happen right around December 25, 2013. If I’m right, and I’m pretty sure I am, that means you have just under a year to save up some money for all your gifts.
Grab that credit card statement and any other receipts and figure out how much you spent this year. If you’re ok with the number then that’s fine. If it seems outrageous, pick a smaller amount that you’re comfortable with.
Now divide that number by 12 and start saving that amount every month. By making monthly contributions to your “holiday fund” you won’t feel bad about spending the money. Even better – you’ll actually HAVE the money to spend – no debt necessary.
When Debt Is A Serious Problem
If the idea of budgeting like this sounds impossible and your debts are overwhelming you, it might be time for some professional help.
A debt settlement company can help you at every step. Whether it’s just credit counseling to explain your options and help you come up with a strategy or a program like debt consolidation to help you get back on track, there are options for everyone.
Stop struggling and regain control, and make sure next year’s holidays are filled with what they should be: happiness.
Visit www.debt.ca to learn about your options.