Pssstt.... did anyone else notice that we don't have to wait until November to get a cool date like 11-11-11? Today is 1-1-11!
Now back to the actual blog post...
Well folks, it's the new year... and I bet you have something in mind that you want to accomplish this year-- maybe a new year resolution? And chances are, it either has to do with weight or finances.
In my mind, they require the exact same discipline.
I see so many people spend everything they have on Christmas presents and then dread January.
Is it worth it? Is that temporary moment of joy worth the dread and fear and lack of money afterwards? Do people really take out loans for Christmas presents? Doesn't that completely destroy the joy of the season?
It did for me. Freshman year in college I bought Christmas presents on a credit card. I was 'good' and didn't spend much, but I was sweating bullets come January. I paid it off immediately and that was the end of it, but I'll never forget that feeling of dread.
Josh & I did a similar thing our first year of marriage. We bought a Christmas tree, ornaments, and presents. Although we watched our spending and kept it to a minimum, we still spent more than we could afford. By mid-December we didn't have money for bills.
It was a big learning experience. One that Josh & I will never forget.
Moral of the story? It doesn't help to just spend as little as possible. What helps is to have a budget and know where your money is going. Having a budget doesn't mean not ever spending money on fun things. It just means that you know where every penny is going.
Since I started sharing about our journey to becoming debt free, a lot of you have let me know that you are working towards the exact same thing. So whether you're sitting there vowing that 2011 will be the year you turn it around, or if you just need some extra juice in your system to keep up a budget, here are some links that I find super helpful:
An overview about debt & such.
The seven baby steps. (We're currently on #3!)
A helpful little calculator to show you where you're at.
Look around the site-- you can learn so much for free! And then if you have an extra $10 (or go to the library and borrow it for free), I definitely recommend "Total Money Makeover." It is so encouraging. It sounds bad, but when I read about families with 5 kids and one income who were $100,000 in debt and paid it off, I really felt like we could probably dig out of our hole, too.
And later on this week I'll share our family goals for this year!
Best wishes for the new year.