Yes, I know what you’re going to say, Christmas is already here, it’s too late to save for it. OK, I’ll grant you that. But if I had one Christmas wish for you (and for me), I would wish that in that realization, we would make the most of the situation we’ve got. I wish we would all Count on December.
You might expect me to offer some sort of advice along the lines of spending less this holiday season, not using expensive gifts to make up for lack of creativity (or thoughtfulness) during the year, or other hints I gave out in a previous post, Christmas in March.
I’ll join you in a reality check – it’s two weeks before Christmas and your plans are probably set. But all is not lost – my encouragement today would be to Count on December. As with most catchy phrases, there is a double meaning to this directive:
1) Count on December – Whatever holiday you celebrate during this season, there are expenses that come along with it – gifts, travel, decorations. Don’t let your checkbook pretend like this doesn’t happen every year. Count on this happening every 365ish days. As is said by wise people, “December comes around with alarming regularity”. Don’t let it sneak up on you, which leads us to our second meaning:
2) Count on December – If in fact the holiday season has surprised you this year, see #1. Then, make it a point to track faithfully what you’re spending on Christmas this year, including all the various categories (having people over for dinner, tips for garbagemen, etc.) This total will give you a goal to shoot for next December. Then take this amount, divide it by 12, and put that much money aside each month next year, starting in January. You’ll step into next December with a Christmas fund, ready for action.
If you combine the above with the use some of the filters discussed in Christmas in March, you may find ways to give away some more of that money you’ve saved to those in need. “Counting on December” will allow you to enter next year’s version of December less stressed, better prepared, and hopefully – more generous.