The Holidays are always a rough time for me: I have to do year-end financials at work, make time for Holiday gatherings, buy presents… As much as I love the “magic” of the Season, I have to admit that I also find it extremely stressful and overwhelming. This year I had the added stress of my Grandma passing away, and making arrangements, and dealing with family issues.
I dealt with all of this by letting go of the small stuff, and trying to cut corners where I could to make life easier and less stressful. Not exactly budget friendly, but it worked!
I definitely overspent on Christmas presents this year. I waited too long to start shopping, as usual, and bought several things in a last-minute panic. I will be getting about $40 back, as two of the gifts I ordered had a shipping issue, and were returned to the company. Didn’t exactly help with the stress!
December is also when the plates renew on my vehicle, and I pay my semi-annual car insurance. I’m super excited about my new car insurance premium: It costs less for a whole year now than I was paying every six months before! For the same amount of coverage! Win!
Speaking of the car, I was impressed to see that I did so well with making extra payments on the car. Honestly, I don’t even remember making any extra payments! I assumed that I’d only done my regular payment, and siphoned what should have been my extra payment amounts into other spending areas. I guess I was just so busy in December, and distracted, that I don’t remember making extra payments. Not gonna be mad about that!
I did buy some new clothes for my Grandma’s funeral. I separated this out from other “Grief Expenses”, since I bought pieces that I could wear to work, and a couple of extra items so I could mix-and-match to make several outfits. I really do need some new clothes, so these items will serve more than just a one-day purpose.
All said and done, I spent $3,752 in December, while earning $3,073. I save for plate renewal and car insurance throughout the year, so that money is already in the bank when the bills come due. I also had some money left in my Savings for Holiday expenses. But, admittedly, I did dip into my emergency fund a little. I only took about $250 out, and have already paid it all back. I’m not sure how I feel about that. A lot of people passed away this year, and, aside from my Grandma, who was 87, I couldn’t possibly have foreseen any of those deaths. Sure, we talk about funeral expenses and life insurance for people we are financially tied to in personal finance all the time. But what about the other people? When Grandma, or a brother-in-law, or a nephew dies, how does that fit into the budget? If you’re close to the family, you’re bound to incur expenses, even if it’s just for travel, and flowers, and food. Is that an emergency? How do other people deal with those things?
All in all, I’m not too upset about my December spending. I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but I made it through better than I expected. For some odd reason January is typically a rough spending month for me, so I’m trying to keep a better eye on things this month. We’ll see how that goes!
- Cindy W.