Learning Holiday Budgeting ~ Gambling Recovery Finance and Budgeting Advice By Guest Alek Sabin …

Learning Holiday Budgeting ~ Gambling Recovery Finance and Budgeting Advice By Guest Alek Sabin …

Now that the holiday season is here, for those recovering from gambling addiction may feel a little more stress over finances this time of year. We know this addiction is and was financially draining and emotionally. My guest Alek has some sound advice on how to keep it all together and share how to tighten our budget and keep some money over the holiday season.

Many of us doing our financial inventories may have worked hard to clean up our credit and get things back on track. But let us learn from Alek how to not go overboard as to running the risk of being once again burdened with loads of debt after the holidays.

 

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How to Tighten Your Budget Over the Holiday Season~by Alek Sabin

Coming into the holidays tends to generate a lot of excitement. There are all sorts of parties to go to, goodies to eat, and gifts to share. However, in the midst of this joyful season, your pocketbook is almost certainly going to take a bit of a hit. Indeed, the holidays can be so financially taxing that most financial experts recommend having a budget for the holidays that you save for throughout the rest of the year. However, you don’t need to go into the red this year, if you take some simple steps to help tighten your budget.

The key to enjoying the festivities without the added stress of going into debt is to be smart and plan ahead. Check out some of the following suggestions to keep your bank account happy for the rest of the year!

Make a List and Stick to It

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Take the time to think ahead and make a list of each of the people you want to buy presents for this year. Once you have a list, take your planning to the next level and decide what it is you would like to give them. This will be especially helpful in a variety of ways, including:

  • Removing the possibility of overspending or buying more presents for any one person than you intended.
  • Removing the risk of impulse purchases.
  • Allowing you to price shop so you can get the best deal on each gift, including giving you the chance to watch for special holiday sales.
  • Making sure you do not forget anyone and cause yourself additional stress.

 

Set Aside the Money

Once you have set a budget for the amount you are willing and able to spend on the holidays this year, find a way to set it aside. Easily keep track of your money now and throughout the year by employing these tips.

    • Set aside a special pot of money just for the holidays: Whether this is a bank account you put money in specifically for the holidays or a literal jar you have in your home that you periodically deposit money into, keep your holiday money separate from all of your other money. This will help you know exactly what you have available to spend and keep you from spending money that should be going toward more important things, like the mortgage and food.

 

  • Only use cash for your holiday spending: If you would rather draw the money out of your normal bank account, withdraw the money into cash and know that is all you have to spend. Being able to visually see the amount of money you have left to spend will help you to make economic choices. Once the money is gone, you are done spending for the holidays. 
  • Have a strict meal plan: Holiday parties and get-togethers are likely to boast large and delicious meals, and can cost a pretty penny (especially if you are hosting one yourself). However, you should make a point to ensure that the rest of your meals are more structured and less expensive, in order to save a buck or two (or more) for the rest of the holiday. Whether this includes cooking all of your meals at home or finding clever ways to save money when you eat out.

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Look for Alternatives to Purchased Gifts


If the wallet is tight this year, consider other options for gifts you may give rather than ones purchased in the store. For a neighbor, you may offer to walk their dog or shovel their sidewalks. If you are making holiday treats, make a few extra and take some treats to friends or to the office. Encourage children to be creative and make each other homemade gifts.


Let Someone Else Host This Year


While presents are a costly part of the holiday season, another stress on your finances is holiday parties and dinners. Purchasing the food, drinks, decorations, and outfits for these events while entertaining can quickly add up to a pretty penny. Consider allowing (or even asking!) someone else to host the party this year. If you still find yourself playing host, look for ways to ease the burden on yourself by making it a potluck meal or a BYOB …

Save Your Receipts


By saving all of your receipts, you can then log your spending when you get home in a notebook or spreadsheet. This will help you to keep a running total and assist in staying within your budget. Another less thought of a reason for keeping receipts is that some stores will reimburse you for the difference if an item goes on sale after you purchase it. While this is not true of all stores, it never hurts to ask and you will need your receipt to get your money back!

 

Happy Recovery Holiday Season!

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Dear Gambling Addiction, ~ It’s My Final Goodbye…Part One

“It is time to make amends and to forgive me.”

I Am A Recovering Gambling Addict.
In Recovery As of – Jan 29th, 2007
1996 to 2007- “I was a gambling addict until I entered recovery.”

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Dear Gambling Addiction,


It has been some time now since we have been together, or had any contact between the two of us now for 10+ years. So I thought it was time to for a final goodbye but first catch up on the years we have been apart, and this will be my last contact with you.

Things have been going well for me these past years. Yes, you have crossed my mind in those early years, but I never had the courage to bring myself to tell you that it was time for “A Final Goodbye” forever as it stings for it to be so final…..Like a loss or death. This time it is your funeral and not mine, as my two failed suicides were enough for me.

YES, we have drifted apart, so this shouldn’t be a surprise or difficult for either of us to finally be silent from one another. We have been through so much together. And not all was positive. Yes, we shared and had some good times, but that ended up turning deadly for me. Many of those bad memories are pretty tough to forget. I just could not deny or see how you began to HURT me in our friendship. I didn’t understand at the middle to end of our friendship and then breakup that you could be so mean, hurtful and abusive to me.

WHY?

Do you not remember the times I’m talking about? There were many I can recall.

Please, do I have to remind you of all the times you were just a jackass to ME? So much so I tried to kill myself twice because of you! You want me to go THERE? Why don’t we start around the time we first met. We had seen each other around a little, once for my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, then in Reno once a year with my girls, or at the Indian Casino 40 miles from my home once every 3 to 4 months.

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But where did we get to know each other well? It was at all the “Oregon State Lottery Retail” stores opening up everywhere! It was where you and 5 of your video poker machine buddies seemed to be each time we ran into each other. I began to like you a lot and not be able to stay away from you. It was if you had all the control and I just went along with it. That was my downfall.

Especially when I started seeing your shiny video lottery signs outside all the bars and taverns around town, and even in most of the restaurants where hubby and I would go to eat. OH PLEASE, don’t get your panties in a bunch! I knew you were always mad or jealous of Tom my husband the first time you saw us together. I never understood why you didn’t like Tom, and why you were always HELL BENT to do anything to break our marriage apart! Well, I guess most was my fault as I feel “head over heals” in love with YOU dear video and slot machines. You turned out to be the best part of each day. I longed for you like a lover.

I know it was YOU who was always there for me when I was tired, bored, lonely, angry or had too much time on my hands, too much alcohol, and when Tom worked out-of-town those few years, you kept me high and we had such FUN! That’s when you and I got to know each other intimately, and we spent many, many hours together. It was like you loved me so much that all I could see and think of was you. You listened to what said, knew how I was feeling. You made me feel wanted and special.

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Then, to be able to spend more time with you, I had to begin to lie bout where I was all the time. I began to see you before, during, and after work. Then, toward the end of our friendship, you became more greedy and started to cost me a fortune in wasted money, taking more of my time from life, friends, then the job loss, our home, even pawning my jewelry! Need I go on?

You even had a hand in me being “arrested,” then a had a criminal record when I’d never stolen a penny in all the years I worked in the banking field or wasn’t even spending time with you anymore! You had me in such dire financial distress. Yes, I know, that was my fault because I stole from someone just to be able to able to pay my bills. That was even after I tried to stop seeing you! You were like a bad affair I couldn’t get rid of like the movie, “Basic Instinct.”

THEN? before I entered recovery the first time, you began to just take and take from me. Year after year until I had nothing left to give. THE MADNESS and INSANITY HAD TO STOP!

TO BE CONTINUED…..


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance writer