A Christmas recap and a look ahead . . .

This post is sponsored by SunTrust Bank

The kids and I had a great holiday season. It was full of some of the activities we love doing together . . . a couple older traditions and a couple new ones.

I was able to get most of my stressful holiday obligations done early this year, to clear a path for family fun. I got the gifts purchased and wrapped by mid-December, I got our holiday cards out early, and I finished my work before the kids got out for break.

Over the break, the kids and I saw several shows. We have a traditional of seeing The Nutcracker, but this year we opted for Debbie Allen’s hip-hop version called The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. We also saw a musical version of Elf and a fun holiday show for kids called Sleeping Beauty and her Winter’s Knight. I was able to afford several shows by getting the tickets half-price on a bargain ticket website, which helped me stay within my holiday budget.

I also used that website to purchase a holiday light cruise for us on Christmas Eve, which was a fun new tradition. We cruised through the harbor, looking at Christmas lights and drinking hot chocolate.

On Christmas Eve, we also did our traditional breakfast with three other families. This was our 15th year celebrating together!

On Christmas morning, we opened gifts together as a family, and in the evening had dinner with some friends. The next day we had Christmas again, along with Mark’s family.

A couple days after Christmas we started a new tradition and did a Buddy The Elf movie night and spaghetti bar. This was a lot of fun and was an economical way to throw a party, since all I had to provide was spaghetti, and friends pitched in with the candy. I think it will be a new tradition.

Because we relied on half-price tickets, got our gifts early, and focused on spending time with family and friends, we were able to stick to our spending plan for the holidays, and avoid a lot of stress as well.

As I’m looking forward to the new year and new goals, I want to take steps to stick to our budget and continue on a path of financial well-being. I’ve been using the resources from the onUp Movement. to that end. I took their Mental Wealth Quiz. I took it last year, and the results were much better this year. A large part of that was our decision to sell our home and downsize into a home with a smaller mortgage. Life has felt much less stressful since making that decision, and I feel like our finances are no longer a life stressors. We can live within our means now, and have money to put towards savings.
At the same time, the quiz did reveal my tendency to procrastinate, which affect all areas of my life, including my budget. My main financial goal is to stop procrastinating. On a practical level, this means setting up auto-pay for a few bills, and ending a few subscriptions and services I no longer use but have been too busy to end.
If financial well-being is a goal of yours in the New Year, check out the budget worksheets and savings calculator from the onUp website to help you stay on track in the coming year.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. 
The opinions and text are all mine.

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