Stuffed, why is that I fill myself to the point that I feel so uncomfortable? Yes, because it all tastes so good…yummy. I already called to reserve a spinning bike in hopes that I can shed some of the unwanted calories that I ate. The radio is on in the background, advertisements to all of the outrageous sales that you need to rush out to get to, the traffic report comes on, major back ups at all of the major malls. How do you prepare for the upcoming gift-giving season?
First off you cannot run out and just spend money for the sake of spending money. The best way is to make a plan a blue print of what you need to purchase and more importantly your budget needs to be considered before picking up the mouse, the phone or walking into any store. I have three children and a certain amount of money that I can spend, I will not put myself into debt or serious stress so that my children feel satisfied when they walk down to find there gifts under the tree. It can’t be all about feelings it needs to have some sense of responsibility. Just because your child wants it doesn’t not mean the world will spin off of its axis just because they don’t get it. More importantly do you have the money to buy what they want?
When my children were young and I was all about keeping up with the Joneses, I got my children so much stuff. I went out and bought and bought and bought. Which resulted in a large number of gifts under the tree. Which gave my children a sense that they were the luckiest children!!! Santa got them everything they wanted. Unfortunately, a week following Christmas that all dreaded credit card bill arrived and the inquisition began! What is this? Are you insane that you spent this amount of money at a certain store! The conclusion of this story, instant gratification was met my family was happy and excited the morning of the 25th but the following days and weeks were spent feeling like a complete idiot, why did I spend so much money? Was it really worth it?
Often we learn after we have painful experiences more than experiences that are uneventful. So after many painful days of feeling like what did I do? I learned that prior to going out to purchase presents I better know how much I feel comfortable spending. If you have a partner that you share expenses with it should be a conversation that the two of you have together. Communicating is the key!!!!! Yes discussing money is very hard but, after years of experience the conversation prior to the bill arriving is better than the conversation after and you can’t go back and make necessary changes.
The blue print helps: first set a budget, I have a certain amount of money that I can spend during the season. This includes meals, gifts and decorations. All of these items add up, the Christmas tree and trimmings cost money and have to be considered. Not only the decorations but also, how many people are you feeding and what are your expectations of this meal? All of these things need to be considered before going out and spending money. What is more important to you? Think about it, is it a nicely decorated home and a fabulous dinner with all of the trimmings? Or an outrageous number of gifts. Whatever it may be, it needs to be accounted for accordingly and remember this is one day!!!! Inflation is out of control today, everything costs more and salaries have not inflated with the cost of goods and services!
Make a plan, decide what is more important to you, make lists and communicate. Expectations get us into trouble! If dinner needs to consist of filet rather than chicken that needs to be factored in. My children would like to get a lot of things, hey so would I but what is more important to me is that we all have fun together and make happy memories! I would like those memories to be filled with laughter and fun not regret and fighting! Life is too short and I promise that if the latest toy or electronic gadget isn’t under the tree no one will die! In fact in the future they wont remember, but they will remember happy or sad memories. Make a plan it is worth it!!!