'TIS THE SEASON TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT YOUR FINANCES

Dec 2, 2015 · 4 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

I didn’t post on Friday like I had planned because I spent my long holiday weekend just relaxing with friends. I feel bad about not keeping to my schedule and not having planned a little bit better, but not too bad. Sometimes you just have to take some time off, you know?

But now I’m back, and I’m ready. Ready to rein in my wild-spending ways. Just in time for Christmas.

See, this long weekend was one of eating out and buying clothes that I didn’t need and eating out some more and buying drinks for people and eating out again. All to the tune of more than $500.

DUDE. What. The. Hell.

That’s a lot of money.

In case you couldn’t tell, eating out is my money nemesis. And buying new clothes when I’ve worked so hard to get rid of so much? Lame. I mean, I even bought a green cardigan, completely forgetting that I already own a green cardigan. I have no excuse, and after a couple days of self-flagellation, I can finally admit my failings to you all.

We all make mistakes, right? Some are just a little more costly than others. I think it’s important that we recognize when we’ve made a mistake, forgive ourselves and try again, which is what I plan to do for the rest of the month. After all, it’s not like I can take back all the food I ate.

At this time of year, it’s particularly easy to overspend…But if I hope to spend my life doing what I love, spending responsibly has got to be part of the picture, especially during the holidays.

At this time of year, it’s particularly easy to overspend. There are parties and friends and family in town and lots of things going on. But if I hope to spend my life doing what I love, spending responsibly has got to be part of the picture, especially during the holidays.

How can we make sure we don’t overspend, at least not too much, during the holidays? Well, after this weekend, I’ve thought long and hard about this, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Try to set aside some money. I actually did this, and so I do feel bad about overspending the last few days, I know I at least still have money for gifts there. I estimated, back in September, how much I thought I was going to need for birthdays and Christmas and put aside money from a few paychecks into my savings. It makes me feel better knowing it’s there, at least. Getting out and purchasing those gifts is a whole other story that I don’t want to think about.

Stick to realistic spending plan. I actually had a spending plan, too. Fat lot of good it did me, because it wasn’t realistic. The whole spending plan was the amount of the fancy dinner I had planned with my friend at a restaurant we’ve been wanting to go to for years. Duh. Yes, it was expensive, but I knew we were going, so I should have planned more for eating in San Francisco the rest of the two days we were there. It’s not easy, and the tendency is to be in denial about how much you’ll actually spend, but being realistic will make you feel better in the long run.

Try, try again. You know, sometimes you just don’t get it right. Like me this past holiday weekend, I now have a lot more money on my credit card, and I’ll think about it every time I make a payment that doesn’t pay off my bill in full. But that just means that for the rest of this month, and for the next few months, I need to rein it in. Stick to my budget. Not overspend. I actually can do it, and the important thing is to be aware of everything that’s coming up and plan accordingly. I don’t think I’ll get out of the holiday season without adding more to my credit card bill, but I can manage it so that I’m not surprised and so that I can keep what I do add under control.

So that’s the plan. Is it a very good one? We’ll see.

How do you keep your spending under control during the holidays?

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Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.