Budgeting Christmas


Beyond Christmas

If ever there is a time for honesty it should be at Christmas. Season after season we wish each other ‘all the best’ for the upcoming New Year with a smile on our faces and a cringe in our wallets! How many years must pass before we admit to ourselves that the expensive little useless trinkets we pass about frivolously are mere tokens that could easily be replaced with a warm handshake and still hold the same intent?

Never, since the great depression has it been so very important to make other people feel comfortable in not giving at Christmas. Should it happen that you are one of those lucky persons left with savings this year it is up to you to set an example and not over indulge in gifting to those around you who cannot afford to recipricate. It is Christmas after all, and goodwill must have a place here, but it is a false gesture when all your gifting does is say, ‘See what I can afford to give and you can’t!’.

Many have fallen on unbearably hard times this year, homes have been lost, jobs disappeared and depression has become the new common cold. To encourage people to take on further burden by way of Christmas loans borders on criminal. These fast loans are, like the payday loans, the fastest way to ensure we stay behind for the rest of the year! In other words ‘Don’t eat it until you’ve earnt it!’ If, we take out a payday or Christmas loan on the assumption that next pay there will be spare to payout the loan, based on the fact that it is a small amount and for months we have received the same rate of pay and our expenses are well anticipated, often all will be fine. But also as often and for no logical reason aside from ‘Murphy’s Law’ perhaps, something out of the blue will happen. The dog gets hit by a car and needs emergency vet care, a fire at work brings on a shutdown for a month on low wages, your child is chosen to represent the state and simply must have a new shirt! Believe it, there are millions of scenarios and any one is all it will take to stop your good intention of paying out that ‘cake and eat it’ loan!

Not paying the loan on time brings another set of dramas to spoil your entry into the swiftly arriving New Year. Like a dog chasing its tail we find that catching up again is far more painful than it would have been to sacrifice that one day of overindulging.

It does not have to be a sacrifice that hurts The first and hardest step being to voice the new commitment to those who will try hardest to dissuade, the family. Being honest and explain what it will mean to enter the New Year debt free and at the head of the game. Then be firm in adherring to the decision. Ask children to help you come up with worthy alternatives. Baking for those special people closest to you. Taking small children on a group park trip. Face painting for toddlers. All worthy ideas to make the day special. Children are always happier if included in the big decisions. Just cutting down to one gift for each family member instead of one gift FROM each family member cuts costs to the bone.

The day we appreciate the budget Christmas is on the twenty-sixth of December when we find nothing has been added to the debt pile and the notes can be folded back into the wallet!