With all of the holidays, it is easy to focus on just the season and giving and to forget about all other plans. I want to give you permission to put things on autopilot while you deal with the holidays. Yes, that is right: you can have an autopilot schedule for your finances during hectic times.
Does this sounds too good to be true? Who would say to have an autopilot for finances? When we think about the absurdity of this, it is a little hard to grasp. However, for most of us, having our finances on autopilot is how we handled our finances before we started taking control and being in charge of our finances with a budget. BUT just like riding a bike, you can, momentarily, strategically take your hands off the handlebars without crashing.
While controlling your finances there will be times where everything just takes over and you may forget something. This is when you take another look at your monthly budget and adjust. Or maybe some things came up that weren’t really planned for, but you still have a sinking fund for, so there is no need for concern.
During the holidays there are always surprises, whether that be gifts under the tree or family and friends showing up or inviting you over to share in holiday cheer. The holidays are for spending time with family and friends and not the time to be stressing over every penny in the budget.
Now don’t jump out of one ditch and into another. This does not mean blow the budget! What it does mean is you are in control and have been doing great so allow the budget to work for you. Just like you do with the bike allow the momentum and wisdom you have learned over the past couple of weeks or months to give you the confidence you need to take your hands off and have a controlled moment of autopilot. And just like when you regrab the handle bars on your bike, there will most likely be a slight correction needed, so prepare for that.
But don’t get too excited because, unfortunately, this cannot be for everyone. Just like with our children, I would not recommend to my two year old, who is new to a bike, to ride without hands. So, if you are new to a budget and still learning how to control your finances, don’t let go. You need to keep control of your finances through the holidays and maybe if your momentum slows just a bit, that is fine. The biggest thing is don’t lose momentum all together. And definitely don’t allow yourself to go backwards. All of those deals, stores handing out credit cards like candy, can be very tempting. Don’t fall for it. Keep your hands on the handle bars, keep your budget fresh on your mind, but know that a budget is a learning process.
I really hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you realize that its not going to be easy. You will fall, you will scrape your knees, but the important thing is to get up, wipe it off, and keep pushing. Strategically place people around you that will keep you accountable, offering encouragement when you fall, and cheering you on when you make a win.
DW and I sat down with a family recently. We were helping them get ahold of their finances. Now, this couple was going through Financial Peace University and were sold into making a change.
The hardest decision to make is the decision to change.
We were just there to help them wrangle everything in, to offer support and accountability. We went through and put all of their information into a CAM Workbook for them. It was obvious through talking to them and presenting the information that change was needed and the question was just how much change were they going to commit to. We did a budget together. They did a budget multiple times before committing and signing to the change. Everything looked great. The first day on their budget one of them forget their lunch at home and some coworkers wanted to go to lunch. They fell off the bike and went to lunch. Later that evening they were going to buy groceries (and following the cash system they had pulled cash out so they could feel their spending) and the money was lost. This wasn’t just falling off, this felt like being pushed straight into a thorn bush and crashing off the bike.
Many people would have just quit here. They didn’t. They had fully and irrevocably bought into change. In fact, since our meeting they have made more progress than they had committed to on paper in our home that night. They didn’t let the nicks and scrapes or battle scars of a new decision keep them down.
And for those of you new to a budget I want you to use that story of perseverance to hold on through the holidays. For those readers not on a budget or wanting accountability partners please reach out to us. We are here to help and want to help everyone to be able to take your hands off the handle bars.
Charles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.comwhere you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.