Well Christmas is officially behind us! I received some great presents this year but one of the things I’m most excited about receiving was a bit of Christmas cash from my Mother.
I love Christmas cash, whether in the form of gift cards, mall money, or plain paper money. I love it because it’s flexible and allows me to buy something I’ve really been wanting, something I could really use, or something that the gift giver might not have been able to come up with.
I only have one problem with Christmas cash, and that’s my temptation to do something responsible with it. With any extra cash, I’m tempted to throw it towards my almost $20,000 of debt.
I know that every dollar toward my debt counts, and it’s these little wind fall cash finds the really makes the difference between a debt free date that’s a few years or a few months down the road.
So, as much as I’d like to spend my Christmas cash on something awesome, I have this little niggling voice in the back of my head saying “You should really put that towards debt!”
This is one instance, however, when I’m not going to spend this found money on debt. Yes, windfall money is a great tool to eradicate debt early and it should be used as much as possible, but Christmas money is intended as a gift, and should be treated as such.
Christmas cash, whether in the form of a gift card, or plain cash, is a great opportunity to reward yourself for a year of hard work at debt repayment, savings or whatever your current financial goal is.
Debt repayment can get exhausting, there have been a ton of times during this past year when I’ve wanted to throw my hands up and give up my aggressive repayment plan. I’ve been tempted to blow a whole month’s extra debt payments on furniture for my house, or a new computer. Somehow though, I’ve kept at this crazy plan of mine, and I’ve managed to stay on track and pay off almost $17,000 worth of debt this year.
For that, I think that I deserve to be rewarded, and spending my Christmas cash is the perfect way to reward myself. By taking advantage of this Christmas gift, I can spoil myself just enough to keep up my enthusiasm for my debt repayment schedule in the new year, and hopefully eradicate the rest of my student loan debt.
Even though I’ve decided to spend my Christmas money on myself and not on debt, I’m still tempted to spend it on something responsible. Like paint for my bedroom. Or getting my car professionally cleaned. This is another one of my problems, I manage to take something exciting and full of possibilities, like free money, and turn it into something boring and not remotely rewarding.
So, this year I’m purposefully trying to find something truly fun to spend my Christmas money on. I haven’t come to a decision yet, but whatever I decide to buy, I’m going to make sure I get maximum enjoyment out of it.
Now, I’m an advocate for spending your Christmas money, but there’s a limit to everything. If I were to somehow get $1000 for Christmas, I would absolutely allocate some of it towards debt repayment. Not all of it, mind you, but definitely a good portion of it. However, since my Christmas cash gift is closer to $100, I’m not going to worry about debt repayment this time around.
Sticking to your financial plan is important, and taking advantage of windfall cash is a key component to achieving goals ahead of schedule. However, once in awhile, treating yourself is even more important. After all, life is about the little pleasures, and while long term goals are essential to achieving what you want out of life, remaining sane long enough to enjoy those goals requires a bit of indulgence.
Merry Christmas everyone! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then of course I still hope you have a great day. Hope you all still enjoy my dog fail above.
We aren’t doing much today. Opening presents and maybe going to the movies. All of our Christmas parties and festivities with W’s family were this past weekend and also next week.
P.S. Not looking forward to working tomorrow! ARG I should have taken tomorrow off
I love Christmas.
I love the festivities, I love spending time with family, and I love the food. To me, spending an evening with family and friends around a table laden with dips and appetizers while sipping on rum and apple cider ranks in the top five of my favourite activities.
Unfortunately, the kind of merriment comes at a price, and it’s usually around the area of your waistline and your wallet.
New gym memberships spike and consumer spending slows in January for a reason. Luckily, this phenomenon doesn’t have to affect you like it affects everyone else. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you get through Christmas (relatively) unscathed.
Eat (and Drink) at Home Before Parties
Heading out to a party with a stomach full of healthy food will lessen the temptation of fat laden dips and other appetizers. Feel free to sample them, but don’t make them your meal. Instead, cook something at home first that’s healthy and preferably contains a large serving of vegetables, grains, and lean meats. Likewise, if you’re meeting friends at a bar, having a few cheaper drinks at home beforehand is a great way to reduce costs. Just make sure you aren’t the driver.
Bring Your Own Food
If the event you’re attending is pot luck, make a nice healthy dish to bring with you, then proceed to fill up on your own contribution. Resist the temptation to “get your money’s worth” of all of the other food.
Christmas is For Exercising
I love pigging out at Christmas. I like eating chocolate first thing in the morning around Christmas, I like having lavish dinners, and I don’t like having to worry about calorie counts. So, instead of just resigning myself to the weigh gain that follows such indulgence, I make sure to increase my exercise accordingly. A few extra long runs will go a long way to combatting climbing numbers on the scale. Christmas might be a busy time, but squeezing in these workouts will help relieve stress and give you some peace and quiet to yourself.
Gently Suggest Alternatives
Got a bunch of friends or coworkers who want to go out to a restaurant and you’d really rather not drop $150 on one night? I like to gently suggest alternatives to these situations, like a dinner party or pot luck instead. The atmosphere is often just as good and house parties are so much cheaper. Personally I don’t mind dealing with a few extra dishes at my place if it means I can save a few bucks.
Pick Your Battles
No one is perfect. Trying to toe the line of diet and frugality over Christmas can often end in disaster. Instead, give yourself a little leeway some nights and be more strict other nights. This will result in a lot more success and a lot less guilt.
Christmas is a great time of the year but can often be filled with anxiety over money and weight gain. This is totally unnecessary and with a little bit of planning, there’s no reason for Christmas to interfere with your finance or health related goals.