I tend to have freak outs often throughout the year. They are usually triggered by company coming over, which is usually related to a birthday or holiday. Whenever someone asks me “What’s wrong? Why are you acting like a psycho bitch?” the answer is always one or more of the following: the house isn’t ____________ (clean/big/nice) enough, I didn’t buy enough ___________ (presents/food/decorations), I don’t have enough money to pay for all of the __________ (presents/food/decorations), I don’t have enough time to __________ (clean/shop/decorate/cook/bake/wrap/relax). Most of the time it’s all of the above related to all of the above and it’s all my mother’s fault.YOU ARE ENOUGH #holidaymottos Click To Tweet
This Christmas, I felt it starting long before Thanksgiving. My “Dave job” is in retail, and before Halloween the Christmas trees went on display and it seemed like every person in line was buying their Christmas gifts in November. Except me. I couldn’t start my Christmas shopping because the money I had budgeted for the holidays wouldn’t be available to me until December 4th.
Now, if I was good at this budgeting thing, I would’ve created a “sinking fund” and had money on hand whenever I wanted to start shopping. What is a sinking fund, you ask? It’s when you know you have a non-monthly expense coming up, you take the amount you think that expense is going to be, divide it by the number of paychecks between now and when it’s due, and set that much aside so you have the money ready. And no, I don’t know why they’re called “sinking” funds. I choose to believe the first person to use the term was saving for a new kitchen sink.
I have sinking funds. In fact, I have 4 of them. One is for my water/trash bill, which I pay every 3 months, and the other three are for license plates, AAA insurance, and my homeowner’s association fee, all of which I pay once a year. So for example, I know my HOA fee is going to be $125, so I divide that by 12 (I get paid every other week, but currently I’m contributing to my sinking funds once a month because it evens out my budget better) and add $10.42 to a savings account. $10.42 is nothing! Now when my HOA fees are due, I will have $125 sitting in my savings account just for that purpose. If you’ve never tried sinking funds before, I HIGHLY recommend them. If you’ve ever wanted to puke when you get the license plate renewal notifications because you know you’ll have to scramble to scrape the money together and it’s due on your birthday so Happy Birthday Go Fuck Yourself, then you’ll get the biggest high from thinking, “No, fuck YOU because I have the money right here, bitch!”
A really good budgeter would also have sinking funds for home repairs / maintenance, car repairs / maintenance / replacement, vacations, birthdays, holidays, yada yada yada. Great concept, right? So why don’t I have sinking funds for all of that stuff, too?
Basically, I’m too broke to save for anything else. Using round numbers, if I want to budget $1200 for Christmas, which in my mind includes everything to do with Christmas including all the extra food, wrapping paper, tape, cards, decorations, etc., I would have to contribute an additional $100 to my sinking fund every month. Whaaa???? I honestly do not have an extra $100 in my budget to set aside for anything else.
This is where you start laughing and/or scratching your head saying any number of things but basically they all boil down to “How does she think she’s going to pay for Christmas with no sinking fund? Credit cards?” In the past, you would’ve been a big prize winner by guessing credit cards. However a few years ago, even before I discovered budgeting and Dave Ramsey and frugality, I realized that if I paid my mortgage payment out of every other paycheck FAITHFULLY, even during those 3 paycheck months (do you see where this is going???), I would eventually be far enough ahead that I could skip my mortgage payment in December and WHAMMO – instant savings for Christmas.
The good part is that I have plenty of money to pay for everything Christmas related. I call the budget line item “Shopping” so it covers anything from gifts to my dress for the Christmas party (which is pretty damn amazing, by the way). And since I also have three birthdays to deal with, it covers that too. And if I go over on my grocery budget it’s ok because I can move money out of Shopping to cover it.
The bad part is that it’s KILLING me to not see my mortgage decrease this month. Call me selfish, but I’m starting to question my sanity because I think that it would make me happier to see a reduction in my principal rather than smiling faces on Christmas morning.JUST BREATHE #holidaymottos Click To Tweet
So I can relax this year about not having enough money. Last night the tree went (mostly) up, and as long as that’s done anything else that gets decorated is gravy. My shopping is started (10 days ahead of time, pretty good for me), and I have a plan for (most) the rest of it. Heck, the dog’s gifts are purchased, and that usually an “oh shit!” Christmas Eve Wal-Mart run. The rest of my holiday schedule looks something like this:
Tuesday (today): Working until 5:00, then my must-do item of the evening is preparing crock pot baked potato soup (also amazing) for the office pot luck tomorrow. Bonus: I’ve already purchased the ingredients, yay me!
Wednesday: Working until 5:00, then my must-do item of the evening is coloring my hair. Bonus: I’ve already purchased the color, yay me!
Thursday: It’s a bust because I’m working until 5:00 and then working my Dave job until 10:00 pm. Boo.
Friday: I have two remaining vacation days, and this could be one of them. My company holiday party is Friday evening, so I’ll probably get my nails done and practice doing my hair. Bonus x 3: Free meal and drinks at the party, my dress is already bought (on sale, of course), and I have a gift card for my nails, yay me!
Saturday: Working my Dave job until 6:00 pm. My son should be home from college by then, yay me!
Sunday: A DAY OFF – can you believe it? I didn’t even request it. This will be the day I finish any shopping, bake cookies, general cleaning.
Monday: Potentially my second vacation day. Either way, I have to work my Dave job from 6:00 – 10:00
Tuesday and Wednesday: These two days are a bust because I’ll be working both jobs.
Thursday: Christmas Eve! I have the whole day off so other than grocery shopping and wrapping I should be golden. In fact, I’ll be off from my day job for TWELVE WHOLE DAYS! You guys are going to get so sick of me.