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November is already here and with it starts a frenzy of spending.

This is a very good time to budget your expenses, because most of my clients come to me wide eyed after the Holidays asking themselves where all the money went. We tend to forget that the year comes to an end and we need to prepare for taxes. Do you have all your ducks in a row?

I have talked about creating a budget in the past. If you haven’t done so, PLEASE start now. Make sure that you are out of debt! If you have consumer debt (credit cards, store cards, etc.) get creative about the upcoming Holidays. Expensive gifts are not going to help you with your debt, and don’t show how much you love your friends and family.
Start simply with an excel sheet, write down ALL your monthly expenses and include your credit card debt payments.
On the next column write down what you bring in every month. Subtract expenses from income and see what you have left.

If there is nothing left, then you have to set some goals and get rid of your debt as fast as possible. Wait to do some basic shopping after Thanksgiving, when prices are at their best.
Make a very conservative list of people you NEED to buy presents for. If you have kids, they don’t need 20 presents each. They can do with 2. Don’t fall for the social pressure trap, and never compare your situation with others. Everyone has their own financial situation and never forget that we create our situation.

Make these Holidays simple, happy and surrounded only by people that truly matter. You can absolutely decline invitations that do not mean anything more than more expenses, and that are not surrounded by friends.

I have cut my list down to 8 people. Everyone else, like colleagues, social acquaintances, my hair and nail salon people etc., will be very happy to receive a small package of cookies or a cake that you baked. You can easily find cheap festive baking pans in your local super market, and simply bake something. The cost of this will only thank your wallet.

I will be posting more ideas as the days go by. Have a great November, and remember! Good finances give you absolute freedom from stress and anxiety.