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December Challenge: End the Year


I have struggled to come up with a challenge for December. And finally, I landed on more of a mindset challenge. The more mature I get in my personal finance knowledge and more importantly follow through, the more I realize that it really is all about mindset.

Personal finance mindset lessons that took me forever to learn:

  • Every time you go into debt, you are borrowing from your tomorrow. Do you really want to be paying for this XXXX next year? Is it worth that?
  • There is nothing more comforting and confidence building than having a health emergency fund…nothing!
  • You must be selfish with your finances…think about your future over your kids activities and everything. In doing this, you are watching out for them in a completely different way.

I could go on and on, but these have been my big ones.

December Challenge

This has been an unprecedented year. I don’t think anyone would have predicted all that has happened this year. And with the state of COVID, the change in presidents and so many more unknowns, 2021 is bound to bring some more changes.

The challenge for us is to adjust our mindset. To give up our preconceived notions about what life will or should look like. And to prepare for the changes that are surely to come and the unknown. How do we do that?

This has become especially important in our house for Beauty and Princess. With graduation just 6 months away, we have to begin working on a what’s next plan for them. And frankly, with all the changes at the college level, Princess is floundering and I understand that completely.

Open Your Mind

This year may look different then any year before it. There is no real normal anymore. Schools are all over the place as far as in-person, virtual, hybrid, etc. Searching for a job is a entirely different beast with most all companies searching online and virtually only.

I’ve been working with the girls to do some brainstorming exercises. The goal is to open their mind to every possible opportunity. Then doing pros and cons for every option. We are going to have to have several options and prepare for several options for them.

What Would Life Look Like If…

The challenge for each of us is to spend some time considering all the possibilities for next year. No matter your stage in life, this year is going to be different. We had to adapt quickly this year with COVID and lock downs and new ways of living. And I think it’s relatively safe to say that more of that is coming.

Take some time and consider what you like about your reaction and how you like how your life changed. And then also consider the things you do not like about this new reality. And consider your options. How can you make the good even better? How can you make the challenging better or different?

And for those of you with seniors in high school, how are you approaching next steps for your child? Has COVID changed anything for you? I’d love to know your mindset and approach to guiding your child at this juncture.

I believe we should begin the new year how we want it to go. This challenge is the first step towards that.



  • Reply Nan |

    GS graduated last May and started attending a state university this September. He lives in the dorm- was just home for Thanksgiving with a negative Covid test- and went back to school Saturday. He has a roommate and they both eat in the school cafeteria. Most of his classes are online but he is also in the band so not confined to the dorm. He wanted the college experience so while not ideal, he is not living at home with the family. He had a full scholarship for tuition and his prepaid plan pretty much covers his dorm and fees. His parents bought the cafeteria plan for meals. We’re all thinking next year things will be much more routine. He has had several Covid tests and there is a special place for students who test positive.

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, the college experience is what Princess has been planning for, forever really. But she is hearing how so much has changed…and I think that has led to her questioning. And I can support that…so giving her space, helping her brainstorm all the options, recommending having a back up plan and so on.

  • Reply Lisa |

    What has been changing at the college level for Princess? I know in our state scholarship money has been reduced. As far as guiding them in the next juncture, if college is what they both want it will be there in some form next year, even if schools have to go online again. I’d encourage them to continue to brainstorm how to get higher education with minimal or no debt.

    • Reply Hope |

      To be honest, I don’t know. I really think all the COVID changes has scared her a bit. We have talked about the college experience for so long but now it all looks different. She is getting varying feedback from friends who are now attending college and it has her floundering a bit.

      We sat down a couple of weeks ago and I felt like she was feeling boxed in by my expectations and her own experience with online courses (not good at the collegiate, homeschool and homeschool levels for her or her older brothers).

      We discussed that the next step is her choice and I will support whatever that is (okay, there are a couple of options I wouldn’t support, but you know what I mean.) We discussed taking a gap year and working, maybe in Texas, Americorp, college, of course, etc. I think it made her feel a bit better and she’s back to saying college is her next step and she’s at least begun the application process, not sure she’s finished but I’m trying to give her space while being available.

      And 100% agree that college without debt is the goal for her…but if she changes her mind. Well, I am open.

So, what do you think ?