Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 85: Debt Proofing Christmas

Putting off my Christmas shopping is definitely not something new for me. I've been doing that for most of my life. So when I began my Christmas shopping on December 21st, I wasn't really nervous.

What did make me nervous was that Day 85's thing I've never done was set, and stick to, a budget for Christmas.

This doesn't sound like a big deal to most people who have been doing it for years. Not me. I take an enormous amount of pride in being a really good gift-giver (really good) and each year I'm in competition with myself to see if I can out-do what I did the year before. I know when it comes to giving gifts that it is the thought that counts, but my thoughts are big. Big and expensive thoughts. Broadway tickets, a ride along in a NASCAR Race Car, a personalized painting by a local artist are just some of the gifts that I've dreamed up, and executed over the years.
I truly don't know what comes over me. It's like I forget I have a salary and that it's not infinite. I'm sure there's some psychological explanation for this behavior (like I'm crazy), but when I see something I like for someone, I buy it.

And I spend the months following Christmas wishing that I hadn't.

Last Christmas I was in Asia for three weeks and bought several items for my family that could've doubled as both souvenirs and Christmas gifts. But when I returned to Atlanta, I still managed to take another shopping trip and returned with a $200 Indo Board for my brother.

What every newly engaged real estate agent Indo Board?! I went into the store looking for a fleece jacket and came out an hour later with this new toy. It was a fun, and my entire family played with it on Christmas Day. But I haven't seen Jeff play on it since that day. Maybe the fleece would've been more practical. Maybe there is a less expensive toy that we could've all played with? A kazoo, perhaps?

Well this year, it was time to get serious about not going overboard. Before I left, I wrote a list of what I wanted to buy and how much I wanted to spend and I went out in search of those items. Just those items. I paid cash for everything and I resisted the urge to add "just one more thing." I almost fell off the wagon, wanting to get Moody Blues tickets for my dad, but at $70 a piece that would've been breaking the rules in a big way. So I got him an autographed picture of Robin Meade as an "extra thing" instead. It cost me nothing and he loved it!

I will never stop loving buying gifts for people, and I don't want to ever stop being generous, but I'm fighting the urge to let it get out of hand.

I debt-proofed Christmas and I'm debt-proofing my life.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to get Moody Blues tickets for my dad too! LOL! Great minds think alike!