“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”
Over the years I have encouraged those interested in reducing the financial stress caused by credit card debt to establish a prosperity budget to manage their finances. The first month of a new year offers the best time to start this practice. Many people who have contacted me for guidance in establishing this practice but unfortunately allowed the necessary discipline to discourage them. Others who have implemented the practice are free of the financial stress that many are experiencing after the spending frenzy of holiday shopping.
The yearend statistics have been released showing the average spending for Christmas last year was $1,000 per family. Many charged these purchases and it will take five months to pay off the credit card. Christmas for the both of us has always been our favorite holiday celebration. From the very beginning of our marriage we started a Christmas savings so that we could fully participate in the spirit of the season debt free. Included in that savings was money to reach out to a family that was less fortunate as part of our overall tithing.
The way I set up our budget is to put all expenses into two categories: the first includes fixed expenses, house note, insurance, taxes, utilities, etc.; the second category accommodates flexible expenses i.e. entertainment, travel, monthly personal allowances, Christmas savings. This process has worked for us throughout our 51 years of marriage and has made it possible in retirement years to enjoy life on a fixed income.
For those who have charged on credit cards during the holiday season now is the time for affirmative action. This will help you pay off debt faster and prepare a 2019 Christmas savings budget. The first month of every year I review our budget and evaluate possible changes to best meet current needs and goals. If you are currently addressing Christmas expenses, the amount initially used to pay off credit card debt could, upon completion of payment of charges, become your monthly “payment” to create your 2019 Christmas budget.
For many of you this may seem to be a complicated and overwhelming challenge. Just break it down to a weekly goal and it becomes attainable. If you are in the national average category of spending for the holidays, just reduce current expenses by $20 a week and you will have a year-end Christmas budget of $1040. If you think this is an unrealistic goal just drive by and observe the long lines at the drive-up windows of Starbucks or Chic-fil-A. If everyone in those lines would change those habits just two days a week, they would create their $20-a-week savings.
If you know someone that is interested in having a debt free Christmas, you may want to share this blog posting.