I know that for me, December usually comes and goes almost overnight, and I wake up January 1st resolving to stick to the budgets and goals that I utterly destroyed in December. So, in honor of maintaining a well-directed, well-intentioned and unregrettable December, I wanted to blog some things that I will be using to keep my finances and my priorities in check!
It's easy to spend more than you make in December, especially when we all guilt trip ourselves into buying presents we can't afford for people we believe deserve them. Unfortunately, this still doesn't mean we can afford them. Remember this: Irreplaceable love is giving of yourself, not of your resources. Credit cards are not the answer, and if you "must" use them, keep your utility over50% at all times. With this in mind...financial tips here we come:
Mint.com - It's the best out there, so don't bother shopping around. It's free, and there is also a free iPhone app to keep yourself in check by the minute. Set your budgets, follow them, track & organize everything. It's awesome. You can follow them at @mint.
Bestbookbuys.com - Searches the entire web for the best new and used prices on books. You'll probably find what you want for $5.
That's all I'm gonna give you right now (more coming), but remember to resist the urge to "go shopping" and do as much online as you can. Case in point: on Black Friday I was nearly convinced twice to buy a car charger "on sale" for $26. I found it on Amazon for $4, s&h included.
MAKE things, WRITE things, and be CREATIVE. Pretend you have zero balance in your bank account, and take some honest time to sit down and think of what the people closest to you would genuinely appreciate. Again, irreplaceable love is giving of yourself, not of your resources.
MyFico.com forums - You can find every question about credit, credit reports, credit cards, loans, debt, large purchases, and etc answered here. Free to join so you can ask your personal ones too.
MoneyUnder30.com - some awesome resources here too, and you can follow them at @moneyunder30. They have a great article on best 15 financial iPhone apps.
MintLife Blog - Solid advice here.
Holiday seasons remind everyone how much they want to volunteer, get involved, help out, share love. Yay. Here's a couple great sites to check out:
ItStartsWith.us - 15 minutes a week. I'm doing it. (@itstartswithus)
Help-Portrait - If you're a photographer, I beg of you to do this. You can't put a pricetag on family photos. (@help_portrait)
Staying Organized / Your Time.
This is the hardest for me. Sit down today or tomorrow and write down everything that needs to be accomplished this month, and everything you want to accomplish. Keeping things written down eliminates 75% of my stress. Keep track of presents left to purchase, loose ends to tie up on projects, and errands to run. Also, you'll probably want to write down the order of your priorities so that you remember to spend time on things you might put on the backburner, and will remember why you're saying no to others. Set your financial goals while you are at it. Self-discipline is a great thing. Pretend its a muscle, and work it out this month. :D
Listography - Online to-do list. Simplistic, basic, fast, and fun to play with.
Evernote - Evernote is amazing, and offers a free iPhone app. I won't even explain this, just go look for yourself.
This post is a work in progress, and I will be adding things throughout today and tomorrow. If you have anything you believe should be added, please comment, @laurenlankford or email me.