Monday, December 13, 2010

An Impasse

Christmas is stressing me out. No, not the birth of Jesus, the gift-giving. I don't recall ever considering NOT getting people Christmas gifts. I usually just fork up the credit card (CC) and keep the party going.

This year, as I took a realistic look at my finances (thanks for taking this journey with me), I saved more than I ever had before and I don't mean saved like the dress was 40% off. I mean saved like put money in an account and didn't touch it. I also sacrificed good times more than ever before and paid more on my CC than ever before.

Side note: the fact that I sacrificed good times is really funny because I had SO many good times. Let that be a note to self when I have to skip something. There will be other fun stuff (unless I die).

I digress.

I won't make my goal of paying my cards down to 0-20% in 2010, but I'm crazy proud of the strides I've made and the social and financial discipline I've built up to make 2011 even better at the bank.

Logical Tea Says:
"Forget buying all these presents. Even if you spend cash, you'll be taking it away from saving. You sacrificed all year skipping bday parties and Monday Night Football just to be Santa frickin' Claus on December 25th. Plus, Christmas isn't even about gifts. It's about Jesus, the birth of the Savior of your faith. It's about praising him, celebrating his birth and celebrating that time with friends and loved ones.

While it may seem selfish to not buy gifts, you have to start being disciplined somewhere. You have to put your foot down and make a decision to do better. And if you don't do it going into 2011, when will you do it. Your family will understand. You have to put yourself first. You're going to regret not saving for yourself more than you'll regret not buying gifts for your family."

Emotional Tea Says
"You make more money this year than you ever have before. If ever there was a time to be frivolous on gifts, this is the time. You put the "t" in Santa Claus. Of course, the holiday is about Jesus, which is why we sing happy birthday to him before we open OUR gifts. You know everyone else in the family is struggling with finances, why not help make their holiday bright? Everyone is counting on YOU to come through. You ALWAYS come through. Plus, it's not like I'm asking you to use a CC, just grab some money out of your savings, no big deal.

You're going to feel like boo-boo the fool on Christmas morning if you haven't bought gifts for people. Especially, the kids. The kids don't understand "recession" and they shouldn't have to because you're extremely blessed and you should bless others. The recession skipped your door. Plus this is the season of giving, it's not about you and your CC debt. It's about others. Spend money on others. You're going to regret not buying gifts for your family more than you would not saving for yourself."

So two questions.
1. What do you think I SHOULD do?
2. What do you think I am GOING to do? (These could be different)

And final note there is a reason logical is in black and emotional is in red. It looks like my damn balance sheet.


South Loop Social Light said...

If you're already feeling pressure to play Santa Clause to your entire family this holiday season, I'd say skip on the gift giving and try something more sentimental this year. For instance, you could arrange to have a professional family portrait taken or give each person a photo of you two with a special memory written down. There are a million ways to add a personal touch without draining your bank account.

Personally, I feel like you should give gifts throughout the year, when people aren't necessarily expecting them. The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and I think the gifts are more for the kids.

Kay* said...

Girl i know how you feel...i'm moving across the world in 2.5 months and am doing my best to pay off all my bills AND put away some money so, you know, i can actually enjoy myself when i'm away (long weekends and stuff).

so to say i'm on a budget this year & gift giving season is an understatement. it does NOT help that i have, literally, 10 gifts to buy. everyone knows i'm on a budget but still...i feel like only buying for kids under 18 but i've never not given gifts to everyone before. i'm kinda stressed out about it to be honest because buying 10 gifts, for MY family, is not cheap....and i kinda wince knowing that money could be paying off my cc bill or would last me 2 months in india....

wish i knew what to tell you. i wish we did secret santa and i only had to buy one gift....

antithesis said...

i think u should do what i did and purchase in expensive, thoughtful gifts. i think u should be willing to spend a little more on the very young ones.

i have no idea what ur actually gonna do. i seriously doubt that u'll forgo shopping altogether.

QUE.PK.iDD said...

South Loop's photo suggestion is great. The adults would appreciate that, but not so much the children. Also, I am a firm believer in getting gifts for birthdays throughout the year. My bff, and all 5 of my 1st cousins have birthdays from Nov 12 - Feb 10. I have yet to be blessed with the finances to give them all Christmas AND birthday gifts.

What SHOULD you do? You should buy everyone one gift, giving priority to those under age 18, but don't use a CC and don't take from your savings.

What are you GOING to do? You're going to buy gifts and plan to spend only a percentage of what you would normally spend, and you're going to go over that budget, but only by about $20.

Let us know what you decide!

Crystal said...

Can you make them gifts instead?