December Challenge: Get it done GYSTember

Annnnddd the final budget challenge of 2019, before we kick off the 20 in 2020 Challenges (there’s 5 to choose from, go pick one!)

Get Your S**t Together December (GYSTember) will run from December 1 to December 31.

The goal for GYSTember (pronnounced JIST-ember) is to clear out those lingering, niggling “adulting” tasks that you’ve been putting off. You must declare them and try to get them done before the end of the year.

Examples of GYSTember tasks:

  • Cancel recurring subscriptions that you don’t use
  • Calling up your phone or cable company and negotiating a new rate
  • Finally set up an IRA and autodeposit
  • Move over to a new budgeting or tracking system
  • Call your credit card company and move to a no-fee card
  • Organize and categorize your stash of yarn or fabric before you rebuy things you don’t need
  • Eat down your pantry
  • Call your student loan providers and get the paperwork moving for loan rehabilitation, IBR, or PSLF
  • Setting up a new 401K savings rate before the new year (perhaps you want to up your amount to do 2020 Challenge: Race to the max!?)
  • Fix that problem with escrow that’s been going on for years
  • Figure out sinking fund amounts based on previous year averages for categories
  • Listing or donating clothes or electronics you’re ready to pass on
  • Finally get a “hit by a bus” folder together (find a checklist in A Cat’s Guide to Money)
  • Book doctor, dental, or hair appointments for the first half of 2020
  • Set up or clear out monthly donations, or maybe even join the OMD Purrsonal Finance Society (cheeky plug there)
  • Be creative!

It will have a special forum badge and even a STICKER for people that complete the whole month, that will be cat themed.

Basic rules:

  1. You must establish your own rules about what you are trying to accomplish as your GYST task(s) this month. State them in the first week of the month to get us kicked off.
  2. Each Sunday (or Monday or the Aussies/Kiwis) you will report how you did on your challenge for the week on this thread . You can report on where you’re at, and what your biggest challenge and victories of the week were. Then, you’ll put your predictions/goals down for the week ahead.

Who This Challenge is For

  • Anyone who wants a little public accountability and discussion about their money goals on a weekly basis. If you liked No-Stress November and want to keep it going, here we are!

What do you get out of participating?

  • Deep Satisfaction of working on those tasks that hang over your head and not bringing them into a new decade
  • A community to support you as you get sh*t done
  • A CUTE forum badge for participating in the weekly check-ins
  • And if you do all 4 week check-ins, you get a STICKER mailed to you. I have only printed these for this challenge.

If you’re in to participate (or on the fence and need encouragement), comment below with your tasks for GYSTember.



  1. Convert rewards checking account at Bank1 to another checking account type since I can no longer meet the requirements former this account type (saves a fee);
  2. DECLUTTER at least 15 items in December;
  3. Test Local clothing consignment shop (take items there for resale - they may not accept any items);
  4. Take at least one bag or box of items to Goodwill;
  5. Do end of year account reconciliation/ spreadsheet update (including delta net worth);
  6. Do at least one self-care activity.

I’m in. Taking a few moments to figure out exactly what I want to accomplish first.

  1. Decide whether it makes sense for us to refinance our mortgage to a lower interest rate, even though we just got it in March.
  2. Set up a full list of our financial accounts and how to access them. We don’t have that many but I want them all in one place.
  3. Set up some sort of ledger for tracking what’s in our emergency fund and what’s in various sinking funds. Theoretically we already know the answers more or less but I want to be precise about it.
  4. Inventory my yarn stash and knitting/crochet supplies so I don’t accidentally purchase something that I already have.

There are more things I’d like to get done but I need to start prioritizing based on what’s most important and not what’s most enjoyable.


Okay, I’m in.

  1. Do the paperwork to certify our new lower income for income contingent student loan payments (I’ll do this online rather than calling, which I strongly recommend for all things related to federal loans - customer “service” reps can and will lie to you).
  2. Finish the work I owe on a grant so I can get paid
  3. Help husband update LinkedIn, CV, and resume
  4. Update the “hit by a bus” book and put an updated copy in the safe deposit box
  5. Find/get a rewards card for the property taxes due on the 20th (better do this before December, really - can I count it if I do?
  6. Look at budget-like stuff with husband for medium-term planning. Can we max both IRAs in April while still saving enough in cash for June and July, which will be no-income months?

Im in,

My goals

  • Eat Down Pantry
  • Decluttering clothes and spare room (maybe whole house??)
  • “Hit by a bus” folder/ update will

I need this challenge. Ok, accountability:

  1. Organise private health insurance as our current plan is being scrapped, do I want to stay with current provider or search around? (For both myself and husband.)
  2. Declutter wardrobe to fit floordrobe into actual wardrobe. (likely attempt over Christmas - NY break. At least get rid of 30 things? Hmm, may update this number.)
  3. Find a better way of tracking expenses and update FI spreadsheets.
  4. Book a skin check for myself and husband.

I’m in!

  1. Establish a weekly base meal plan & corresponding ingredients list. This will hopefully help with “what are we eating there’s nothing in the house fuck it we’re getting pizza” syndrome.
  2. Get done with projects I don’t want to carry over into next year. Finish moving the dirt pile, finish the anvil stand.
  3. Make sure everything that I usually pay through the mortgage is re-routed to me & everything that needs to be filed is files. Insurance, taxes, mortgage payoff statement, escrow balance and getting that back, loan paid certificate, mortgage release docs, make sure auto payments will no longer be made.
  1. benefits stuff (if I don’t get it done in November)
  2. set up monthly donations
  3. send bill to my dad’s friend who has his domain and website going through my credit card

2. VPN for work (if I don’t get it done in November)
4. finish Baffler puzzle (

Extra credit

  • hot water rental
  • drywall in basement
  • plumber for washing machine
  • remove bubble wrap, rehang painting
  • buy new running shoes
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I meant to get a head start on things on the list yesterday, but I didn’t. I went to the library, the post office, at the hardware store. Plus I emptied boxes to take back for the second round of moving, and we built the dog a new bed (using the memory foam mattress from grad school apartment, so it’ll be good for his old bones). But we’re having a chill holiday at home today, so maybe today.

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Goal 5 nearly accomplished. Card with no annual fee and decent signing bonus for reasonable spend found, applied for, and approved. It’ll be here in 8-10 days, which gives time to pay the property tax on the 20th, and that alone gets us to the minimum spend. It’s the Bank of America Cash rewards card, $200 reward for $1,000 spend in the first three months. It’s in husband’s name because almost everything is in mine these days, and he needs a fallback if I’m T-boned by a logging truck (the rural equivalent of “hit by a bus”).

Edit because I think autocorrect is developing sentience and a sense of humor.

  • Update family binder (our “hit by a bus” binder)
  • Inventory deep freezer and canned goods
  • Plan travel and garden budgets for next year
  • Get Goodwill/BN pile out of the house!
  • End of year charity donations - talk to mr krmit
  • Look into making a will
  • look at transfer options for a no-interest checking account that’s been kicking around for a year
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Hallo. I need this, thanks for the thread!

  • Finish adding logins to password manager
  • Send tax documents to accountant, mine + partners
  • Drop off 1 load of electronics waste at recycling centre.
  • Make all my craft supplies fit into their allocated space
  • Make a Family Folder and a Go Bag.
  • Include a page in Family Folder for Wait In Place for emergencies.


  • plan holidays, outings & events for Jan - March 2020.
  • Obtain or order all items required to make school & work lunches every day for 2020.
  • New drivers licenses.

I’m in!
Me and my partner just moved into a flat we purchased, it’s been a long journey to get here but I have a lot of shit to get together! Will be back with a list!


My personal list:

  • Hem my jumpsuit for New Years (1 hr)
  • Update skincare spreadsheet (30 mins)
  • Tighten bike brakes ($15 at shop or 1 hr at home)
  • Get replacement driver’s license ($28 + 2 hours)
  • Product change on my BOA card to something with no annual fee (30 mins, saves $75)
  • Set up auto transactions to avoid monthly fee at hacking bank (10 mins, saves $8/month)
  • Publish November monthly report (2 hrs)
  • Cancel Spotify Premium and switch to free one through work (saves $7.50/month)
  • Decide if cancelling gym membership and do so if so (10 mins, saves $42/month)

My OMD list:

  • Add up new monthly overhead expenses and publish on patreon page
  • Run Patron matching campaign
  • Set up new store + fix front page flow
  • Mail out all final KS packages
  • Ask for reviews on Amazon for new ISBN
  • Clean off desk at home so it only has things that are supposed to be on it (e.g. laptop, keyboards; not jumbled receipts or paper waiting to be recycled)
  • Put children’s books we own, that are not board books, on shelves in the wiggler’s room
  • Ship back earbuds that stopped working
  • Inventory and store baby bottles
  • Sort, inventory, and attempt to sell maternity/nursing clothes
  • ETA: Fix login to T Rowe Price

Week 1 (12/2 - 12/8)

  • Figure out how to spend the last $40 in my health FSA before the deadline on the 15th
  • For the first time ever — create and stick to a legit meal plan for the full month —closely tied in with general eat down the pantry goals
  • Decide on a firm budget for christmas gifts for my sisters and decide what to purchase (or make?) for them

Week 2 (12/9 - 12/15)

  • Create a full list of artistic goals for 2020, as well as finalize my 2020 bingo game card

  • If I still don’t have a sublet, find five new places to post room available

  • challenge myself to bike to and from work every day this week

Week 3 (12/16 - 12/22)

  • 2.5 hours of yoga practice at home spread throughout the week
  • all christmas present chores completed

Week 4 (12/23 - 12/29)

  • Read 2 novels this week/ over the holiday —choices TBD
  • Find a special dessert recipe to make on Christmas eve/Christmas day

General goals to maximize and track throughout the month (idealistic but not firm targets):
How many bike trips/ miles biked?
How many days have I made breakfast or coffee at home before work?
How many home chores completed?
How many hours of sleep?


Interested in an almond tart recipe? Easy to make a vegan version too.

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Oooooh yes. I will have to sub gluten free flour, but using a 1-1 gf baking flour usually works for most things. I love the flavor of almonds, especially when it’s in a sweet dessert.

This is really easy to make. You can make individual tartlets in ramekins, or a bigger tart. I like to decorate the top with a few sliced almonds. After baking, I dust the tart(s) with powdered sugar. Very yummy - I like the texture.

King Arthur

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c soft butter (coconut oil for vegan)
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c almond flour

1/4 c soft butter (coconut oil for vegan)
1/4 t salt
1 c sugar
2 T unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
3 large eggs (flax seed for vegan)
1 1/4 c almond flour
(Optional) Chopped chocolate or mini-chips

Glaze (optional):
1 c glazing or confectioners sugar
2 T milk

Raspberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the crust: beat together the sugar, butter, salt, and extracts. Add the flours, stirring to make crumbs that cling together when squeezed. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of six 4 1/2 inch mini tart pans; prick them all over with a fork. Freeze the crusts for 15 minutes, then bake them until they are just beginning to brown on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
To make the filling: beat together the butter, salt, sugar, flour, and extracts. Beat in the eggs, then add the almond flour, stirring just to combine. Spread the filling into the crusts. Add chocolate before filling, if using. Bake the tarts for 18 to 24 minutes, until their tops are lightly browned. Convoluted in pans.

Mix together glaze ingredients. Spread over cooled tarts. Top with raspberries.

Note: did not use glaze. Used chocolate at the bottom of the tart (not in original recipe)

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