It’s not exactly a new word to me. But I’m pretty sure I’d never actually used the word predetermine in a sentence until my pastor referred to it recently—and in a way that turned on a bright light in my noggin.

To predetermine is to make a decision in advance.  That describes perfectly what it means to budget. You get your paycheck and before you do anything with it, you predetermine where every dollar will go. You give each dollar a job to do—in advance. You predetermine!

Here we are on the cusp of one more glorious, fabulous, exciting and joyful Holiday Season. How can we do this without going into debt? Predetermine. That’s it! Decide or establish in advance what we will do, how much we will spend; where you will go, what you will do. Yes, I know that sounds very much like a Spending Plan and it is. The way to get to a Spending Plan is to—you guessed it!—predetermine.

Take the gift-giving part of the season. How can we predetermine in that area? Two things:

COST: Look at your gift list and predetermine how much money you will spend for each. Decide this fact. Plant it in your brain. Write it on your heart. Write it down or whatever else it takes to establish this in advance.

GIFT: Here is a foolproof way to select the perfect gift for each of your giftees: Ask yourself what does he or she really care about? By that I mean what would this person say they could never have enough of?

For my husband, a hobby woodworker, the answer would come without hesitation: He could never have enough clamps. Every year I make sure there are clamps under the tree for my favorite woodworker and every year he says that same thing: “Oh good, I can never have too many clamps!” Read more