December is most definitely one of those times of the year when you really realize just how challenging money planning actually is!!
For me, and I know I am not alone; the last three months of the year are the most costly. It seems that all I have done is dish out money! It started with preparing my 7 year old van for winter (a good habit to get into) and ends with covering all the Christmas- related costs and festivities that we all expect.
There were expenses I knew I would have to pay, like the oil change, the coolant and radiator flush and putting the snow tires on. Then there were the expenses I didn’t bank on like the snow tire that had to be replaced because it had a giant hole in it. Cha –Ching!
Not to mention, the regular household expenses that never ever go away!! In fact we are entering into the winter season where these costs are at the highest they will be all year!
Adding insult to injury is that these expenses have increased compared to this time last year. You know, the increases we‘ve all heard about but somehow hoped wouldn’t be reflected on OUR bills.
And why is it that the time frames between billing periods seem to come so fast yet pay days DON’T ? Doesn’t make sense, or does it?
Without planning ahead and forecasting for these periodic expenses these situations can be downright STRESSFUL. Without a doubt!
This is exactly what we teach. So why is it such a challenge for me?
I have planned all year. I do my best to practice what I teach; to not spend everything I earn, to set money aside for what I know is going to crop up at some point each year, to have an emergency fund.
Well I pondered this question and have come up with an answer:
Everyone has a different personality with their money and even though I plan for these situations – I don’t like to part with the money. I still have this secret hope that possibly the van costs won’t be so high or that when I open that cable or hydro bill it will somehow be lower than expected, because I’ve looked after my van with regular check up’s & preventative maintenance, I’ve turned down the heat when I’m not home and made sure I turned un-used lights off.
The kids have been nagged and nagged – to the point where they are now turning off the lights and not wandering around the house in the middle of winter with shorts & t –shirts on.
But guess what? The bill is exactly as I feared it would be – & I do need to part with the money. That is if I want a van to drive, a TV to watch, in a heated home, with the lights on.
So, as I pay my December expenses…. expenses I have known are coming for the last eleven months - I will practice a refreshed attitude, one where I realize I have planned – and the reason I’ve planned is because of the reality of my financial life.
What is your reality?