While many people were left wondering when (and sometimes how) they were going to pay the stacks of credit card bills from the holiday season, my wife and I boarded a plane to New Orleans for our 3rd anniversary. Until the we arrived at the airport, she had no idea where we were going. Until two nights before, she had no idea we were going anywhere at all. (She’s a college professor and was still on break, so I all I had to do was take a few days off.)
I asked her to pack a small suitcase two nights before and let her know that we would be leaving home for a couple of nights for a surprise anniversary trip…She loves surprises, and I love seeing her happy.
I received an e-mail from Southwest Airlines in late October advertising $30-$60 flights to several destinations. 3 or 4 years ago, late October and early November were the months that I began to think about saving and paying for Christmas. I wouldn’t have even considered planning such a trip in early January.
However, for the second year in a row, my wife and I began saving for Christmas one full year in advance. Each month, we have an automatic transfer set-up from our checking account to our ING Direct “Gift Fund” which covers all birthday and family Christmas gifts. I can’t describe how awesome it is to reap the intrinsic rewards that smart financial planning can bring you and your family.
Hopefully you aren’t left with credit card bills from the past holiday season, but that isn’t everyone’s reality. Don’t beat yourself up, you are not alone. But, with a little effort, you can forgo the post holiday credit card bills by just planning ahead. And when you are prepared for planned events (Christmas shouldn’t be a surprise…), you are able to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. And these fun and unexpected opportunities are often what life is all about.
The point of today’s post isn’t about how lucky I consider my family, it’s that March isn’t too early to begin thinking about Christmas. Start now, do yourself a favor and begin creating new habits so that one day you are able to sweep your spouse off his or her feet in a way that only the two of you can appreciate, without a money care in the back of your minds.