A Little Less Chocolate

Are you hiding from your bills and finances? I am… just a little bit. Christmas is such a magical season, but it is also magical how quickly money disappears during the Christmas season. Between the presents, stocking stuffers, parties, family and guests visiting, travel costs, the outings and even the utilities bills from having guests… it just adds up so quickly. Facing that final reality in the aftermath of Christmas can seem like a bucket of cold water. So we are all in recovery together.

Let’s face it friends, there is no way through but to go through… and I for one do not want to start the new year with financial baggage. I didn’t blog very much in December and it was for these reasons: I was sick for a good week before Christmas and then when I was finally better I hit the ground running with a trip to Nashville with my Mom, and then straight back into Christmas and family in town. I honestly feel like today was my first “normal” day in weeks. And I know that I am not alone. Many of you have had the same kind of month and may not even be breathing yet (although if you still have house guests, God bless you!).

But wherever you find yourself, the end of the month is coming and the beginning of a new year approaches. So tomorrow, I am going to file my small pile of December’s neglected paperwork into my finance binder. This actually should close out my binder for the year, which is exciting. I am also going to go buy my new binder for the new year and start a fresh. Every thing that I need for my taxes is in my 2008 binder so I will keep that handy until I have done my taxes, but it is going to be lovely to begin again with an empty binder. If you haven’t yet started a finance binder, or haven’t read about it yet, let me encourage you to go read about it here , here, and here. It really will simplify your financial paperwork. Even when you neglect your paperwork for a month (like I have in December), you will never be that far behind with the binder system.

And to really end the year right and get ready for my “life after credit cards”, tomorrow I am going to reconcile my books, pay off my credit card, and remove my credit cards from my wallet. Whew, deep breaths. I am already looking ahead at January at the challenges that I am going to face without credit cards. For my family it is a month packed with birthdays (including Luke’s, which means a party :), anniversaries, we had even planned an overnight trip… these are all going to challenge me. I am going to have to think ahead and budget for the details like haven’t done in a while.

My printed budget governs all of our bills and spending, but there is still wiggle room in the discretionary spending. Unfortunately, that wiggle has become a full out dancing jive to the music of credit cards, and our discretionary spending keeps spilling into our savings. It is just so difficult to have accountability when you can so easily use a card. So, I am excited to rein in the wiggle this month. Actually that sounds like a diet plan too 🙂 Maybe we all need a little less wiggle in our walk. So… a little less chocolate, and a lot more running. Or in financial terms: a little less credit card, and a lot more budgeting.

God bless.