Money Mentality

New Year, Same You…and That’s Okay

December was outrageously expensive. Even though I started shopping for Christmas presents in October, a bunch of last minute gifts popped up for co-workers and in-laws. (Apparently gifting presents to coworkers is an honored tradition?!) My monthly expenses were slightly higher than normal, but I rolled with the punches and chalked it up to the holiday season.

Then I missed my flight to London.

The flight left without me on it and I had no idea. Blissfully unaware, I arrived at the airport. It was deserted and I quickly learned that last flight had left two hours ago. Tears, drama and late night phone calls ensued.

It turns out it was partly the travel agency’s fault and partly mine (But if we’re being honest, it was mainly mine…) so they offered to split the fare and I paid $500 to fly to London a few days later. But being stranded in Los Angeles for two days while I waited brought additional expenses. My sister generously let me stay at her apartment while she was out of town, but I still had to buy food and order Ubers. In fact, on the night I missed my flight, I was so upset that I accidentally ordered a $50 Uber XL.

In total, December brought $700 of unexpected expenses.

…But it came with $650 of extra money as well.

I received a $400 refund and an additional $250 freelance payout. “Extra” income paid for the entirety of my unexpected expenses.

Once again, I’ve been reminded that we are given exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. After all, this isn’t the first time money has entered my life at just the right moment.

During my last two years of college, I lived in (almost) poverty. Even though I worked three part-time jobs, I barely had enough money to survive. Halfway through my final year, I was contacted by a collection agency and informed that I owed my previous university $4,800. This was news to me and I immediately contacted the financial aid office. We went back and forth as I tried to fight the charges with no success. They offered me a repayment plan of $200/month with 15% interest. There was no way around it: I could not afford the payment. Luckily, they gave me three months of “grace” to figure it out.

Two months later, my grandfather spontaneously gifted all his grandchildren  $5,200 worth of Apple stock. The day his letter arrived in the mail, I cried.

It was the exact amount I needed and a few days later, my debt was paid in full.

Even though it may not always feel like it, the truth is that we are always given exactly what we need, exactly when we need it, and tomorrow we will all be given a new year.

It’s easy to remember the money that leaves our bank accounts, especially when the accounts are empty after an expensive holiday season. But I want to challenge you to count the money that has entered your bank accounts as well.

Whether it was a $20 bill you found on the sidewalk and the “free” dinner that ensued, the $5,000 gift from a relative that went towards debt or an unexpected $100 earned from freelancing, the money you are given and earn is a symbol of your blessings. Sometimes the money is unexpected and sometimes the money provides inexplicable relief, but the truth is that it’s a gift.

Tomorrow is a new year. It’s a year that is filled with promise, adventure and new success. But it will undoubtedly be filled with moments of sadness, tears and mistakes as well.

In 2016, you will spend money and you will earn money. There will be regret and there will be gratitude. It’s a new year, but you’re the same you. And that’s the biggest blessing of all.

We have the privilege of entering the new year with the wisdom we gained from the old year. Even if 2015 didn’t go as you planned or if it was filled with painful setbacks, you learned, you grew and no matter what, you are stronger and more capable than you’ve ever been before.

As you recover from the holiday season of spending, don’t beat yourself up about the gifts you bought, the extra wine you purchased or trips you took. Instead, embrace the fact that the New Year will be remarkably similar to the previous year—filled with unexpected gifts, remarkable moments and growth.

 

How was your December? Are you excited to enter the new year as the “same you”?

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15 Comments

  • Reply Des @ Half Banked December 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Oh my god Taylor my heart jumped into my throat when I read that you missed your flight! I am SO sorry that happened, that must have been unbelievably stressful – but I’m glad it ended up working out in the end! Seriously though – I’m so sorry.

    And also, THANK YOU for the reminder not to beat ourselves up about holiday spending. I may have been sliding into a bit of that when I looked at my month in review, lol. Yikes. At least I have a baseline for what the holidays *really* cost for next year, since I wasn’t tracking my spending the year before, right? That’s a positive.

    Happy new year – looking forward to another year of your posts!
    Des @ Half Banked recently posted…#MerryMoney: DIY Can Save Your Holiday BudgetMy Profile

  • Reply Claudia @ Two Cup House December 31, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    You are so right! I always seem to have exactly what I need. There were lots of unexpected expenses this year, largely due to building the small house and having no idea what to expect, so we had many of these moments. Thank goodness we had a better handle on finances this year and a regular freelancing client!

    I’m expected to be me this year. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:16 am

      I’ve LOVED reading about the small house and your journey this year (I may or may not have gone through all of your old articles to get caught up as soon as I found your blog in October…) I’m so excited to see (and obsessively read! haha) about what you and Garrett accomplish this year! 2015 was one for the books with you two 🙂 Happy New Year, Claudia.

  • Reply Maggie @ Northern Expenditure January 1, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I’m so sorry about the missed flight! But I totally agree with you about the money you need coming exactly when you need it. We have always been blessed in that regard. It’s been great to connect with you this year and I look forward seeing where 2016 takes you!

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:12 am

      Thanks, Maggie! Those small blessings of money are truly the best and I’m so glad to hear that you and your family have experienced them as well 🙂 Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what you and your beautiful family accomplish this year.

  • Reply Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless January 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Wow, Taylor, that’s an amazing story about the collection agency and your grandfather’s gift. It reminds me a tiny bit of a story my mom has told me about when she was younger and didn’t have enough money to buy groceries one week, and a stranger (she still doesn’t know who) left a bag of groceries on her doorstep. She doesn’t remember telling anyone about that specific need, but somehow it just appeared.

    You’re right — it’s so, so important to remember our blessings. What a great attitude for the New Year going forward. I hope you had a fantastic time in London despite arriving a teeny bit later than planned. 🙂
    Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless recently posted…Secret MessagesMy Profile

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:11 am

      Ahhh, I love your mom’s story so much. It’s so true and yet can be so hard to remember at times. But those moments of divine intervention (or whatever other term you want to use) will never be forgotten 🙂

      And thank you! London was phenomenal—good food, good drinks and good company with my in-laws 🙂 Happy New Year, Sarah!

  • Reply Alyssa January 4, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Ahhh, my December was the exact same as yours by the sounds of it. I spent way over what I estimated even though I had a strict budget. Because I went to the US for vacation and the dollar is absolutely atrocious right now, I was in serious struggle. But, it all worked out in the end. Now I’m starting to save for my wedding – which is another issue all in itself haha. Absolutely agree with you. New year, same me! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Hope you had the most wonderful holidays!

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:09 am

      December is SUCH a brutal month. I truly think that no matter how much we prepare or budget, it will always sneak up. Luckily, the holiday happiness always seems to make up for it 😉 haha.

      I can’t wait to read all about your wedding planning process! Ekkkkkk! I’m so excited for you two 🙂

  • Reply Jim Wang January 4, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Wow, you had an insane December. I’m glad that it all turned out pretty well though and now you have a few lessons you can take into 2016 and beyond. it’s so great you have such a positive outlook too, I find that’s often the most important thing. What happens in our lives will happen, it’s our reactions that we can control.
    Jim Wang recently posted…8 Battery Hacks That Will Save You ThousandsMy Profile

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:07 am

      Yes, December was quite the month! I completely agree about the outlook. Most times, that is just about the only we can control, haha. I hope you’re having a great new year, Jim! I’m excited to see what you accomplish with Wallet Hacks this year 🙂

  • Reply Alyssa @ GenerationYRA January 5, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Oh goodness – I am so sorry you missed your flight! That is definitely an unexpected occurrence, but you have such a positive growth mindset that comes from it. I definitely love how you express that we have the privilege of coming into the new year with all of the knowledge & wisdom we gathered from the year prior. Each new year is accumulation of that, and it’s up to us to continue that growth. 🙂 I am incredibly excited to enter the new year as the same me, because I know I can only continue to go forward & up! Happy new year, Taylor! Cannot wait to see where your adventures lead you from here.
    Alyssa @ GenerationYRA recently posted…Generation YRA & Mavenly + Co. Podcast Series CollaborationMy Profile

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:06 am

      Thanks, Alyssa! It was quite the moment. Complete with mascara tears streaming down my face in the middle of the airport, haha. But I completely agree with you—there is no one else I would rather be! I loved seeing all your goals for the year and I can’t wait to watch you accomplish them all! 🙂

  • Reply Melanie @ Dear Debt January 10, 2016 at 9:50 am

    What a crazy December! Glad it all worked out though! Love hearing stories like this.
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…Dear Debt, I Won’t Let You WinMy Profile

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor January 27, 2016 at 3:04 am

      Thanks, Melanie! It was a wild ride, for sure, haha.

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