At YNAB, every December we shut down for two weeks.
We’ll kick back into high, high gear the 27th, after the holidays. We keep a skeleton crew running for support, because support never sleeps, but everyone else gets to have a little bit of a breather. I’ve found it to be, strategically, very important for the team, and, as usual, there are all sorts of parallels as it relates to budgeting.
Bigger, Better, Faster, More
Right now, life is probably moving at a breakneck pace because—December. Hopefully, you’ve saved up for the holidays throughout the year, so the money isn’t stressful but there is so much to do!
In my case, you’ve got all these little people and you’re trying to figure out what we can get them for Christmas. How do we do this? Or a spouse, what do we do for the spouse, the gift giving, maybe throwing a party, attending the parties, Christmas shows, traveling, all sorts of arrangements that just all pile on in December.
That’s natural; we know that’s the case. (And if the financial side is stressful for you, let’s nip that in the bud for next year. Come December 26th you will begin your Christmas savings for December of 2017, right?)
The Case For Slowing Down
Slowing things down from time to time is important, to help you recharge and give everything you’ve got to whatever is next.
We know the New Year brings New Year’s resolutions, which brings lots of new people who want to learn how to budget. They want to get their finances fixed and we want to be there to help them. So right before that, we recharge.
If you want to recharge your budget, there are a couple different ways to approach it:
If you want to recharge your budget, I suggest you approach it from a few different ways. One, just fresh start the thing. Go to Make a Fresh Start, and just start new. You’ll have a big pile of money and all of a sudden, all of your priorities fall to the floor and you can pick up the ones that really matter.
Consider mixing up your categories. Rethink them entirely. Can you simplify them? Do you need to pull something out that’s a little bit of a black hole of spending? Just rethink categories, maybe freshen them up a little bit. Reorder them so that they’re ordered by priority. You attack your number one priority first and then go from there. That’s one thing you can do.
You can simplify. Close a couple of accounts. Figure out how to decrease the amount of transfers you’re doing from one account to another. Figure out how to get a few more bills on auto-pay so you don’t have to worry about those (especially if you’ve aged your money in the 60+ day range and no longer live paycheck to paycheck). That will make things tremendously simple for you.
It’s a stressful time of year. With the finances, if you haven’t been able to save for all the holidays because you just found YNAB, welcome, but maybe the finances are stressful. Just breathe. Do what you can and just breathe, everything is fine. You’ll be fine. This will all be fine. Just slow down, relax, maybe look at something to simplify, freshen up the categories. Fresh start completely from ground zero, do that. It’s all up to you.
Financially, it’s a good time to not worry too much. Rest up so you can go hard in 2017!
If you can’t wait until next week for more whiteboard wisdom, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you have a question or an idea you’d like us to address in a future Whiteboard Wednesday episode—we’d love to hear from you: [email protected]