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October: The Most Critical Month of the Year

Regardless of your financial standing, October is a critical month for determining how your bank account will look and affect your life over the next few months—and even next year (which, by the way, is less than 90 days away).

Marketers have realized that as we approach the last few months of the year, we tend to let our emotions influence our spending at a new level. What this really means is that they've been carefully studying our habits. They know the value of having thought-out and well-executed plans. Can the same be said of you? Are they ahead of you in their planning?

There are two options—plan or don't plan. The lack of planning in October can really set you back financially and cause stress through the holiday season. Therefore, have a reality check with your money and plan accordingly now before the temptation to overspend is here in full force ... times three. On the flip side, your diligent planning and focus will pay off and set you up for fun times with less money worries!

Even if you have already made Dave's advice work for you by writing down your goals and refocusing on your monthly budget, every month is different and requires your undivided attention once again. And when you throw a full holiday season in the mix, you better believe extra attention is vital!

Because, really, who wants to be paying for Christmas in April? No one.

So before Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the little "emergencies" in between get here, sit down tonight, write down a separate plan for your holiday money, and pinky-swear, spit-shake or whatever you must do to establish that you and your family are committed to this plan. If you've already added this part to your regular monthly budget, good for you! Keep it up and stick to your plan. Don't let your guard down now so close to game time. Stay diligent so you can reap the rewards of your hard work!

Remember, it doesn't have to be complicated. Just a simple agreement of "We are going to spend X amount of dollars for gifts, X amount for potluck-gathering food and X amount for traveling" will be sufficient. But you must take care of all the ongoing necessities first before you budget these fun things.

Don't stress out if the amount you've set aside for these celebrations isn't as high as you want it to be. Gifts are fun to give and receive, but they definitely shouldn't make or break your enjoyment. So keep this in mind as you're working through your plan: Is it worth it to buy hundreds of dollars of stuff now, pay for it later, and still be in debt?

You know what Dave would say and do. But the decision and action is up to you!

Need some help? Dave's handy envelope system will help you organize your cash.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.