Today’s post is one that I wrote last year, but I find it still packs a fun holiday punch. Enjoy!
Christmas time has come and gone. Presents were opened. Recycling bins stuffed with wrapping paper. Stuff was acquired. And most people had a pretty darn good time enjoying the holiday season. Sadly, it’s all over. But for some, the fun is just beginning!
Christmas On The Credit Cards
As much as we love the memories, food and presents of the holidays, sometimes the holidays come back to bite us in the butt. I’m talking about when we finance our happiness through purchases on credit cards when we don’t have the money in the bank. No use hiding, we all know that you did it. Heck, I did it for years, that’s for sure! But you know what, it doesn’t mean that this has to happen every year. There are steps you can take to make sure the money is there, every year, so you don’t have to stress about paying off Christmas in February.
Steps to Holiday Financial Freedom. Forever!
- Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have. Yes, it seems more obvious than the fact that Justin Bieber should have stopped making records like 10 years ago. But, it really is the best advice you can follow, especially during the holidays. All the ads, “sales” and once-in-a-lifetime Black Friday deals are trying to get you to spend without thought. The best way to combat all the convincing advertisers is STOP!!!! Check out the bank account. Only $2 in there? Hmmm, maybe you should NOT buy anything else. If you spend what you don’t have, you won’t ever feel in control of your finances. Put the card down and walk away from the tablet!
- Pay Off Your Debt With The Quickness. Well, you can’t get ahead with the credit card monster hanging around. You need to arm yourself with a weapon and KILL that debt with no mercy. It’s an unwanted guest and you need to show it the door immediately. The best way to do this get on a budget and put ALL extra cash toward paying off your credit cards as soon as possible. The quicker, the better, and the less interest you have to pay for gifts you bought months earlier. Nothing is better than seeing a $0 balance on that card 🙂 Well, no reason to wait. GET ON IT! 🙂
- Plan For Next year Starting January 1st! I’ve talked a bit about how I got on a budget and paid off our debt. One of the best lines I’ve heard from Dave Ramsey was talking about planning for Christmas. He talked about having the family around the dinner table during Thanksgiving, enjoy a nice turkey dinner. And after taking a bite of the juicy meat, you gasp and almost choke on the turkey, because all at once, you realize Christmas is on DECEMBER 25TH THIS YEAR!!!! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?!
The point is, Christmas doesn’t change. Ever. So you can plan ahead and make sure you have the money in the bank when the big day arrives. We do this by putting money aside in our savings bucket. We save $50 a month to ensure we have $600 annually for Christmas gifts. This year, we spent around $550 of that, so we came in right under budget. The point is, we have the money in the bank before we spend it. We planned ahead, saved for it, and had no guilt in buying our gifts because they were budgeted for. You can do this too, just start now so you can enjoy all the shopping later!
So, What’s YOUR Plan?
Are you planning for next year’s holiday season? WHY NOT?! I am. I suggest you start putting money aside each month to make sure it’s there when you need it. And heck, if you haven’t put together any kind of budget for next year yet, HIT ME UP! Just check out the Budget Friday page, and shoot me an email to get started 🙂
Note: Yes, I promote using credit cards to gain travel rewards. No, I don’t think you should ever put money on a credit card that you don’t have in the bank. Credit cards use should be part of a full budget plan, not a means of getting something before you have the money for it.