Well if you haven’t noticed, it’s December. It’s a wonderful month of giving and celebration! However, it’s also the toughest month to budget for.
This year my wife and I budgeted a certain gift amount for our friends and for each member of our family. We also budgeted for an overall amount in case we overspent in a couple areas. We actually did pretty well in these areas and I don’t think we blew this budget! However, I’m finding out that the Christmas season expenses involve more than just presents; there’s also the holiday candies, cheese balls, and hams. These are the areas where we faltered.
Now, I could review the budget this month and be all down on myself for overspending, but I’m not going to do that. It’s Christmas! A time for celebration and joy! I am going to choose to live and learn. This is the first Christmas that I’ve ever tried to budget for, and I missed the mark. Oh well.
Here’s what I’m glad I did do. In November, I decided to open an account with Mint.com. If you are unfamiliar with this site, it’s basically a way for you to track every single expense, whether it’s made by your credit card or debit card. It will also keep track of your debts and expenses. It’s an excellent tool for any tracking all of your finances.
With Mint.com, I now have a record of all my Christmas expenses. I can see how much I spent on clothes, food, gifts, and gas (which will be another killer in the budget this month). And, the beautiful thing about Mint.com, you can trace back and look at the budget from a year ago (and really, you can trace it back as far as you want – two years, ten years, as long as you’ve had the account open).
So, here’s the plan. Next year, I should already have a good idea about these expenses since I have already experienced them, AND I now have record of them.
How are you doing with your Christmas expenses? Is anyone else out there struggling like me?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.