debt, loans

Happy Holidays with no financial hangover

It’s that time of year.  The calendar page turns to November or maybe even December and we realize how few days remain until Christmas.  It’s not too late to plan for a merry holiday season paid for with cash!

This week, start by making a list of all the people whom you’d like to bless with a gift this season.  Keep it simple.  Start with your immediate family and set a dollar limit for each.  The dollar limit for each should be the amount that you are comfortable paying in cash.  Commit to keep your spending to that amount or less.

The next thing to plan for is holiday gatherings, both Thanksgiving,  Christmas and New Years.  Determine now the amount you can spend on potlucks at Aunt Susie’s, work parties and travel.

Once you’ve determined those two amounts, total up them up and divide it by the number of paydays you have between now and Christmas.  You may need to make adjustments.

Last, make a list of inexpensive or free gifts you could give.  Examples are homemade cookies, fudge, chocolate sauce, soup mixes, certificates for nights of babysitting, free car washes, or for a homemade dinner.  Look also for packs of items you could divide into several different gifts.  There are a multitude of ideas.  My personal favorite is Rachael Ray’s Five-Minute Fudge, inexpensive and absolutely delicious!  One recipe can be divided into 4 different gifts depending on the pan you use.

By making a plan and sticking to a preset budget, you can have a merry holiday season with no financial regrets later.

debt, weight management

Discipline

Now this is an area where I struggle.  I’ve fought it nearly all my life.  I like to think that I’m spontaneous and fun-loving, and a bit free-spirited, so discipline is not a quality I’ve sought to acquire over the last 47 years. And isn’t it interesting that when I see someone else with no discipline, I’m completely annoyed by them.  Kind of an instance where I’m trying to pluck a sliver out of someone else’s eye while completely ignoring the log in my own.

I’m finding that my avoidance of discipline in all areas has created some major issues in my life such has too much debt and too much weight. Now, I’ve been on the road to discipline with our finances and we’ve paid off 85% of our debt since January 1, but there is still room for improvement.  It’s the weight that is my biggest issue now and to which I am turning my focus.  I am 100 pounds overweight and frankly, I’ve got to change.

So, to help me on the way to a disciplined life, I’ve implemented some new game plans and asked for some things for my birthday.  A new pedometer that resets itself every day at midnight and counts my steps – a birthday gift I’ll use everyday.  Where’s the discipline in that?  I’m setting a goal this week to average 6,000 steps a day.  I will walk every day until I reach 6,000.

In addition, today is the first day of a new diet which my husband and I will be using for the next 40 days.  We both know quite a few people who have tried the HCG diet and found that it works.  So, I’ll let you know.  We began this morning the first of two gorge days where we get to eat the fattiest, greasiest stuff we can get our hands on.  Monday starts the 40 days.  This will really take discipline!

To help me stay on this diet, I am going to ask my children to participate more in dinner preparation.  So I’ve pulled out my trusty e-mealz meal plan and am on my way, as soon as I finish this post, to purchase this week’s meals from Aldi.

E-MEALZ Easy Meals for Busy and Frugal Families

To help me maintain my focus, I’m grabbing my copy of Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.  Today is success principle #1 – Take 100% Responsbility.

I hereby take 100% of the responsibility for my lack of discipline and 100% of the responsibility for changing it!!