I love Christmas. It is hard not to when you have small kids, especially a four year old who was sweet and thankful for all of his gifts and didn’t comment, not even once, on the fact that Santa did not get him the Polar Express train of his dreams (Santa, thankfully, realized that we don’t have the space for a train set like that and Santa also respects a modest Christmas budget. He’s a good guy, that Santa).
Our Christmas was quiet and lovely. We leisurely opened presents and noshed on Chinese food and watched A Christmas Story (“Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defence”). I enjoyed the day.
But, truly, the post Christmas, pre-New years time is about my favorite time of the year. Not only do I have time off from work (thank freaking goodness) but I get to do my favorite nerdy thing: the end of the year financial report.
Every year I go through our monthly spending reports and tally them up. There are graphs involved. Then Mr. Monkey and I sit down and review the categories and see where we went over budget (hint: eating out. Always. It is a problem. But, I have a hunch we did better this year) and see where we were under (this year, I’m guessing “fitness”, which might not be a good thing). Then we talk about our categories and what adjustments we need to make for the next year.
Afterwards I feel so calm.
I think this is largely related to growing up poor and feeling like money was always, always, always something to worry about. I have come to realize that a sense of control where my financial life is concerned is hugely important to me. I also think this process, along with the monthly reports, is one of the reasons Mr. Monkey and I don’t fight about money. We talk about it every month, we share the same goals, and we trust each other…which is important since I do all the financial stuff. I love doing it but I want to make sure he always knows where we stand.
More than any resolutions, it is the end of the year financial wrap-up that makes me feel energized and ready to start the new year.
What do you do to feel in control of your money stuff?