This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
The holidays have come and gone, I came through almost unscathed. I went over budget.
There are a few reasons, I know what I did right, and what I did wrong, and know better for next time. My gift buying budget went smoothly, where I over spent on one person, I found a deal for something else so it all worked out, but hosting the family Christmas party derailed me. Each of the adult females (expect my mum) in my family take turns hosting the family gathering. Currently this is something that I do once every 5 years. The last time I did it, I wasn’t really watching my finances at all, so I didn’t realize how much it would impact my budget this time around. The family members did bring some dishes, which helped a lot on the work load and cost, but my “perfect hostess / make everything memorable” gremlin stepped in.
Remembering last time I hosted, I did not buy the expensive “crackers”, knowing that no matter how useful the trinkets inside, no one want them anyway, My daughter found some on sale, a box of 10 for $3 (I needed 2 boxes). There was just as much laughter opening them (silly jokes, paper crowns and wishes for who gets the big side), as there was when I bought the “good ones” last time. I know I could have made them, but I think I’d be hard pressed to get the materials for less than $6.
I made too much food, bought too many kinds of soda and juice, special minty hot chocolate, and appetizers. The upside is that of all the leftovers, the only food spoilage was a baguette I forgot about, some celery sticks and half a lettuce. I managed to freeze or use up anything else that would go bad (pat myself on the back for that one).
My “Diet” for starting 2013 is really a challenge to myself. To pay off the balance on my credit card, I’m going to see how long I can make the $50 that is in my wallet right now last. I have quite a few points saved up that I can redeem at grocery stores as well. There are no non-grocery (or consumable) items I can see needing for the next while (unless something breaks), so I’m confident I can go at least a month without withdrawing and money from my bank account. That will be enough to pay off my recent overspending, and get me back into my frugal routines, and maybe tweak them to make them better as well.
I’ve broken too many resolutions to have any faith in random claims, but I feel that having a short term goal, that is planned out is a good first step on improving things in the future. Do you have any short or long term goals you are using the new year to begin?