NST December A - Z

edited 26 November 2021 at 11:10AM in Debt-free wannabe challenges
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edited 26 November 2021 at 11:10AM in Debt-free wannabe challenges
Ninja Saving Turtles December Challenge

DECEMBER A - Z
December is a whole month, albeit with an event towards the end which is difficult to ignore. For some of us it is faith based (Samhain/ Diwali/ Christmas), for others it is strictly secular but from early times people have gathered together at the darkest, coldest time of the year to share food and warmth. Some of us embrace Christmas (using that as shorthand, not to cause offence) joyfully, some of us see it as an impossible obstacle course of chores and 'must do's' (even those who love it have moments of that) and others do their best to ignore it altogether. Following a technical failure, I've put together the following bullet points (I'll expand on them and add stories as we progress through the month). Normal rules have a (R), Relaxed rules have a (R), everything else is suggestions (adopt any useful ones, disregard the rest)

A   Abandon perfection.
Things will go wrong. You will cope
B   Budgets (R) 
will be set before the start of the month. Estimate things you don't have exact figures for (eg travel to relatives) or add a 'contingencies' column.
C   Cost of Christmas. 
Do you know it? Do you set money aside all year? Or have you been too busy firefighting (lurching from crisis to crisis)
D   Debt or Savings (R)
should be paid first, live off what is left over. If you're already in trouble, hang on and try not to make the situation worse. Get help.
E   Exercise (R) Move your body. Music helps (good for mental health too)

F   Food 
Eat simply and frugally in the early part of the month. You'll enjoy the 'feasting' more and it will help your body work at its best
G   Good 
things to do for your body. Drink lots of water. Eat lots of fruit and veg
H   Home cooking 
from scratch (R) is normally recommended (saves money, you know exactly what you are eating). However I suggest a mix of homemade, bought 'fiddly bits and frozen (back up)
I    IMPROVISE 
Despite what the adverts tell you, many things are non-essential. You can substitute, use things you already have, borrow. 
J   Just 
buy food your family loves (make allowances for guests with specialist dietary requirements or if someone will never let you hear the end of it, if something is 'missing')

K   KINDNESS 
Be kind, be polite, try not to lose your temper. Be kind to yourself and accept offers of help  
L    Let it go 
(don't sing, please don't sing). Forgive old quarrels, hurts and slights. Not for the offender, but for yourself. They are not worthy of your head space.
M   Martyr 
Don't be one, especially don't be one for Christmas. If you're overwhelmed and feeling taken for granted, TELL people what you need (simple instructions)  
N    NSDs 
Choose your own target. If you have to do sneaky shopping, fitted in around school drop offs and pick ups, you may need to shop little and often. YS goods, medicine, travel and small regular costs (children's activities, window cleaner) do not incur loss of an NSD (should be in your budget and/ or set aside at the start of the month)  
O   Opportunities 
for good surround us. Do what you can, even if it's holding a door open for someone. Give time, money or just your thoughts.

P    Planning and preparation 
are your friends. Many things can be prepared ahead and having a plan keeps you calm. 
Q   Question everything. 
Every spend. Weigh the cost against time, if you're short of both. Don't miss your child's play because you 'have to' decorate the cake or make 100 sausage rolls.
R   Random Acts of Kindness. 
I will be doing the Reverse Advent Calendar for the food bank. You don't have to but I find that RAKs are an antidote to all the commercialism
S   Sickness 
Pets and children will eat things they shouldn't. Older children will do the same but add in alcohol. Children will be poorly and miserable - stock your medicine cupboard now for inevitable illnesses (genuine or self inflicted)
T    Take time out
for yourself. Time to relax, time to think, time to just 'be'.

U   (Un)wanted guests 
Even welcome guests can be tiring. We all have relatives who are 'difficult'. Try to set limits on visits, have a quiet word if it will help
V   Very Merry Christmas 
There are lots of ways to have fun for free but if the family visit to the the pantomime is part of your tradition, don't stop just to save money   
W   Work doesn't stop 
for many essential workers (from health care professionals down to bar staff, shop workers and cleaners) Spare a thought for them and thank them
X   X is for 
Cross it off. Cross it off your list(s) when it's done. cross it off for next year if it didn't taste good, you didn't enjoy it, if it was a waste of time and money 
Y   YOU should 
(R) refrain from using chain coffee shops, vending machines, takeaways etc. I'm relaxing this rule, just for this month. If you are meeting a friend for coffee and a cake or a light meal and this helps one or both of you with recovery from illness or with your mental health, go ahead. There are many reasons why you might need to do this. try to use local shops, if available.

Z   When the Zhit hits the fan 
If you have someone in hospital or in their own home, who is sick dying or needs help and support, do what you have to. Your budget may go out of the window but that is not important at times of crisis. Remember that people will get ill, have heart attacks, serious falls and may even die in December as in every other month. One or more of the people you meet this month will be in this situation. People already struggling with poverty, homelessness, job loss, their mental health are put under increased pressure by Christmas. Be kind. If this is you or you have the anniversary of the death of someone close to you at this time, please be kind to yourself, seek help or support if you need it and take a break if the festivities get too much - go for a walk or rest in a quiet room.
 
Peace be with you and I hope you all have a joyful time,

The original working title for this was 'A different December' and it's certainly turned out like that. As usual we will have lots of fun on the way (maybe a few tears) so who wants to come along on the latest episode of the great turtle adventure 
My mission in life is not only to survive,but to thrive and to do so with some Passion, some Compassion, some Humour and some Style.
NST SEP No 1 No Debt No mortgage
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  • edited 2 December 2021 at 3:31AM
    mothernerdmothernerd Forumite
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    edited 2 December 2021 at 3:31AM
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    Buffy
    My mission in life is not only to survive,but to thrive and to do so with some Passion, some Compassion, some Humour and some Style.
    NST SEP No 1 No Debt No mortgage
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