12 Days Of Christmas
This holiday season, Best Mommy Life wants to gift you with 12 days of restoration. Each day we will post one thing that we want to challenge you to do, and this one thing will challenge you to grow, will encourage you to change, and will gift you with something tangible to make your journey in this life a little bit easier. There is no gift better than what heals the soul, down deep where the core resides, to ease your life’s struggles and better face each day. We certainly hope you enjoy them and USE them to their fullest potential now and each day forward.
"Make wise decisions with your money. One of the
most common problems that people face in life is
issues with money."
Whether you’re married or single, have children or don’t, we all struggle in some way with financial stress. Families are laden with out-of-control credit card debt or medical bills. It is difficult to run a household with all of life’s expenses and also save money. The good news is, we can start by making wise decisions with our money today that will help us in the long run. Here are a few suggestions that may help to lessen your financial stress:
Work towards building an emergency fund
It doesn’t matter what the dollar amount is, saving even one dollar can get you into the habit of saving. Each time you get paid, put back a reasonable amount of money into your savings account or put cash in an envelope. This may mean you have to go without sometime that you would normally purchase perhaps, but you will be thankful you did once you’ve set aside an extra amount for some time and have a little cash to use for emergencies.
One of the things you can do to help save money is refrain from eating out. It is so tempting to want to stop and spend $25.00 at the local fast food restaurant when we are tired and don’t want to cook. Don’t do it! Instead, have simple sandwiches or even something as simple as tacos, hot dogs, or soup for dinner. You don’t have to cook an expensive dinner every night of the week. Do you regularly purchase coffee somewhere that you could make at home instead?
This will save you a lot of extra money each time. If you’re like me and you NEED your coffee, try purchasing it in bulk at Sam’s Club, Costco, or shop Publix for their B1G1F sales on coffee and K-cups. It’s worth it!
"It’s almost unfair how
easy it is to overspend
when we don’t keep
track of our money."
Have a family budget and know where your money is going
So many people try to “wing it” by not having a budget and sticking to it. I cannot even tell you how crucial it is to have a budget and stick to it. It’s almost unfair how easy it is to overspend when we don’t keep track of our money. The saying that we should never spend more than we make is the wisest statement ever, but boy is it hard!
We think, “Oh, well I’ve got an extra $100 to spend so I’ll be fine!” But that $100 doesn’t ever go as far as we think it will… stop to pick up a few extra things at the store, or even a gift, and some gas… and BOOM!… it’s gone. Staying on a budget helps to keep us focused and disciplined so that we can be aware of exactly what we can afford to spend and not spend. Stay tuned, because Best Mommy Life will soon have excellent tips and guides for budgeting.
Refrain from taking children under the age of 12 into the grocery store with you (if you can help it!). I know, this is hard, especially if you’re like me and need to stop to pick up a few things when they are in the car with you. However, try to plan ahead and make an effort to go it alone.
Why? Because it never fails that when our kids are with us at the store, we spend extra money that we would not otherwise spend. It’s certainly fine to bring them along occasionally, but my two boys always find a way to get me to purchase things that I would not otherwise buy… especially at the checkout line. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to bargain with them for a package of gummy worms, and sometimes I give in… because they do deserve a little something extra for good grades or good behavior every now and then.
However, try to find another way to reward them besides making impulse purchases. Take them to the park or allow them to take a week off from chores. Make their favorite meal or dessert at report card time. In the long run, it can add up quickly and that $2.00 package of gummy worms could be better used for adding another $2.00 to your emergency fund.
"The number one way to make better decisions with your money and situate yourself better for the future is to find ways to increase your income."
Invest in yourself
Yes, this sounds contradictory but I’m not talking about shopping here. The number one way to make better decisions with your money and situate yourself better for the future is to find ways to increase your income. There are SO many ways you can do this: start a small business, get a second job, or even find odd jobs you can do for extra money in your spare time.
However, some people are not wired to own their own business and don’t really want to mess with all of the stress that comes with operating it outside of their full time jobs. So, find something that you would like to do and get a certification or degree in your field of choice. It is NEVER too late to go to school or get certified in a skill or trade that will help you to earn more money later on. You don’t necessarily have to go into debt to do this; there are several grants and scholarships available to help if you want to go back to school. You can attend a community college or an online program which are usually considerably more affordable than a university. It’s also perfectly fine to take your time and go to school part time until you finish.
It took me almost 20 years after high school to finish my degree, and I have to say… it was worth it! But not everyone is cut out to go to college; some people are better fit to learn a trade or skill in other ways. Do you enjoy the medical field and helping others? Get your CNA or LVN license and get into nursing. You could also become an EMT, a medical coder, or a dental assistant. Mechanical workers and construction workers are always needed. You could also consider getting into real estate or an HVAC program. No matter what you choose to do, consider the benefits of increasing your income by investing in yourself. It certainly pays off long term!
"...if your balances are out of control and you are paying the minimum amount
each month, it’s time to stop the madness..."
Cut the credit.
One of the worst things we can do is use credit cards without being able to pay them off each month. Yes, there may be times that we truly need to do this, but we should already have a plan in place to pay them off.
Once you have an emergency fund in place, this will also help to not put purchases on credit cards to begin with. It’s great to build your credit, and if you are paying off the entire balance on your cards each month… rock on! But if your balances are out of control and you are paying the minimum amount each month, it’s time to stop the madness and cut that card up for good.
Credit card debt is a burden that can haunt us for years and make us a slave to obligations… not to mention potentially damaging our credit score. Make it a priority to pay off balances as quickly as possible and never return to that way of life again!
Don’t Feel Guilty
Finally, don’t let the guilt of not being able to purchase gifts this holiday season cause you to give in and spend money that you don’t have to spend. Our culture has created a materialistic approach to the holidays and convinced us that we need to buy, buy, buy. After all, they need us to buy because their budgets have planned on us doing just that!
But the truth is that we should not ever feel guilty for not being able to buy gifts when we can’t afford to. Spending time together and sharing love is the very best gift that we can give. Don’t allow your mind to compare yourself to others; you are not less beautiful or worthy for not jumping on the materialism train… in fact, you are smarter and wiser than those that do!
Think outside of the box. Joyful, lasting memories are more valuable than any gift ever could be. FACT: children won’t remember that toy that they didn’t get twenty years from now, but they will remember the quality time you spent with them. Give what you can, and if that’s your love then know that your love is enough!
Happy Holidays From Best Mommy Life!
Thank you for taking time to read this article in our 12 Days Of Christmas series! We at Best Mommy Life hope it was helpful, fun, and informative. If you enjoyed this article please make sure to leave a like and comment below to let us know how we did. We love to hear from our Best Mommy Life Community!
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