Earlier this fall I featured a Back the Basics series where I talked about all kinds of things, from domestic life to chores to cooking and budgeting (I even spent 15 hours straight making meals!).
The last topic, budgeting, was a big emphasis for me. I explored my habits and my accounts and my budgets (all of which needed some work!). And one thing I really concentrated on was trying to get my ducks in a row Before the holiday season came into full swing. Why? Because you probably already know that we Americans tend to dig ourselves into a bit of debt during this time of year, which eventually catches up to us come February (when the credit card statement arrives!).
So, I thought I would take a brief opportunity to interrupt the Handmade Holiday series to revisit my bank account (don't worry--I won't go into the boring dollars and cents of it with you, I promise). My goal for this year? To stick to the preset budget I set for myself for gifts, festivities, etc. So far so good...but that isn't saying much since I haven't gotten any gifts yet!
This is where my Fall find of Mint.com (a free online budgeting program) can come in handy. It lets me set a budget, and then emails me weekly reports of how close I'm getting to the max. I can even split my receipts so that if I bought a gift at Wal-Mart along with a whole week's worth of groceries, I can categorize the gift separately (something my old version of Quicken doesn't let me do!).
I bring this up as a reminder to myself that I want to go into the new year in the black, not the red. This is no time in history, with the way the economy is looking, to play catch up! I also bring it up to encourage you to take a minute to look at your bank account, even if you're busy. Join me in staying out of holiday debt this year!
Share with me your holiday budget tricks by emailing me or posting your comments here. Also, check back in tomorrow to read about a group of people who approach holiday spending with an entirely different perspective! (hint: it involves a Compact)