If you do, you're sure not alone! A significant part of the US spends far more than they have on any given Christmas, and spends the next year trying to pay back the borrowed excess.
When they succeed, it's time for the cycle to start again, and it's one of the most unpleasant issues that affects marriages.
"HOW much did you spend on presents for your family?"
"Less than you spent on that stupid sculpture for your Mom's office!"
"It's original art! She needed that, he office was too sterile...":
And so it goes. We spend more than we should, and sometimes more than we agreed to spend.
And we hide it, taking off price tags and hoping that when the bills arrive the presents themselves are just a dim memory.
Is this how we have to celebrate the birth of God into poverty?
It shouldn't be, and here are some suggestions on how to spend within your means, and plan Christmas spending together.
Spending within your means isn't hard to achieve, but it does take some concrete steps.
- Set a budget, based on your actual income and cash outlow. If you get a Christmas bonus, do NOT include it in your calculation, Keep the bonus.in reserve.
- Make a list of people for whom you have to buy something, and set a maximum dollar amount, keeping within your budget.
- Don't have your wallet or purse with you when you're on the Internet. Impulse purchases tend to be the ones that get us into trouble, and impulse purchases are so very easy to do from a computer.
- Take ownership of your shopping by posting the receipts in a prominent place...like the refrigerator.
- If you overspend, admit it, and don't try to justify
Working together to plan Christmas spending takes both commitment and transparency. You have to admit what you plan to spend, and you have to work with your spouse to make it less.
- Make a list of presents in order of priority (i.e, children first), and don't make substitutions unless it's absolutely necessary.
- With each entry on the list, subtract it from your budgeted Christmas spending, and write down the result.This kind of running tally shows you - accurately - exactly where the money's going.
- Practice giving in. If your husband or wife is dead-set on spending more than has been alotted, there is probably a good reason.
And working together can be fun.
(If you have the chance, please visit my other blog, www.dailygracequote.wordpress.com, for a quotation and a short commentary of grace in marriage.)