Getting Over The Holiday Spending Hangover

Our fancy new indoor camera
The holiday season isn't good for people's finances. Not even in the Loonie household. I'll be the first to admit that we did our fair share of holiday spending. I tallied things up and it's not pretty. Twelve hundred dollars! Oh my!

It's not all bad news, though. The difference between us and most other households is that we have the cash to pay off this unexpected balance (up to, and possibly exceeding, 20%!).

Sure, this money would be better off in our investment accounts or to pay down our mortgage balance (now that people are expecting another interest rake hike next week).

However, it's better than having to carry this balance well into the new year paying stupid amounts of interest.

So what exactly did we purchase? Well, as our daughter just turned one and it was her first Christmas (where she's mobile and not just lying where you leave her), we got her a decent amount of toys to last her years (or less).

What else did we get? Well, we also picked up some smart stuff for home automation, a new wireless router to handle the increased demand in data traffic and to replace the old router that would spontaneously reboot the wireless from time to time (the router lasted many years, so it was time), a few Google Home smart speakers, and a new Nest Cam to replace one of the cell phones we used (for a year) as a makeshift baby camera.

In addition to the router rebooting its wireless, the lost signal would cause havoc with our Dormi app as the cell phone wouldn't be able to reconnect to the wireless network without human intervention. This isn't useful when trying to monitor Baby Girl's room and the door is closed. We'd have to camp outside her room during her nap and hope we could hear her wake up.

Which brings us to the next issue we encountered. I didn't really want to get a new camera, but the camera app on the cell phones (different cell phones, we have many old unused ones) would crash from time to time making monitoring Baby Girl's naps extremely difficult. Of course, the fact that Baby Girl would wake up ninja style didn't help matters. Sometimes, even with Dormi working, it didn't trigger any sound notifications so the only way we knew she woke up would be through the camera. If the camera wasn't working, she'd let us know she's up eventually... through crying when she realizes no one is coming for her.

As a result of this issue, we caved and purchased a Nest Cam (fortunately, on sale for Boxing week), set that up in the playroom and moved the playroom camera into her room so we have two cameras there. Hopefully, this will allow for enough backup in case the camera app crashes on one phone.

So what does one do after all this holiday spending comes back in the form of credit card bills?

Well, in our case, we just paid off the credit card statements.

If you're in the situation where you don't have the cash to pay off your credit card bills, you'll just need to cut back your variable spending and throw every available penny you have into smashing the bill down to zero.

Do you really need to spend $3 every day at Tim Horton's on a morning AND afternoon coffee? Maybe instead of buying lunch everyday, you can just brown bag it and pack some leftovers from the night before. Doing that just saved you $65 a week (assuming your lunch is $10). Or approximately $280 a month.

Maybe you can finally cut out the TV subscription. I've discovered that since our daughter was born, the wife and I don't have time to watch TV. That's right. We have no time to watch TV.

It's not like we were watching a lot of TV in the first place. Maybe 1 hour at most each day previously. That's one reason we cut out our TV subscription almost 4 years ago.

If you have to have TV, just pick up an over-the-air HD antenna. The TV stations are legally required to broadcast the signals over-the-air for free. If you have to watch TV, might as well do it for free. Cutting a subscription can save you between $75 to $150 (or more) each month. Let's assume an average of $100 a month.

Now you have $380 a month to put down towards your credit cards.

If you don't buy coffee each day, already brown bag, and don't have a TV subscription but still have bills to pay, then maybe you just have too much stuff at home. Maybe go through your stuff and try to sell it. I'd rather have $20 than something that sits in the basement doing nothing but collect dust that I think may be worth $60.

Whatever, you need to do, you do it. Just don't add new purchases onto your card until you finish paying it off. You don't want to compound the problem.

Actually, maybe just ditch the card and stick with cash.


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