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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stay Married for Christmas 2 - The Money Pit

Do you hate the January credit-card bills?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Make a list of people for whom you have to buy something, and set a maximum dollar amount, keeping within your budget.
  3. 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.
  4. Take ownership of your shopping by posting the receipts in a prominent place...like the refrigerator.
  5. 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.

  1. Make a list of presents in order of priority (i.e, children first), and don't make substitutions unless it's absolutely necessary.
  2. 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.
  3. Practice giving in. If your husband or wife is dead-set on spending more than has been alotted, there is probably a good reason.

It's survivable.

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.)

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!


  1. Christmas giving does not need to end up being a chance to out do the other givers. I like your budget ideas. I also am working toward my sons and I giving each other gifts from the heart meaning ones that portray are true gifts from God. I can't wait to see how God has led them in this for Christmas. Blessings!

    1. "Gifts from the heart..."

      Perfect. That's what it's supposed to be!

  2. December shouldn't set us up for 6 months of misery! Planning ahead makes all the difference. Thanks for the great suggestions.

    1. So true...and it took me SO long to learn!

      Have a wonderful Christmas, Kevin!

  3. Good advice and great points, Andrew. Last year my husband and I overdid it at Christmas, and we were determined not to let that happen again! :P It's so true that we aren't meant to celebrate the birth of Christ into poverty...Merry Christmas!