Happy Hump Day, Dear Readers.
I feel a bit odd continuing this Climbing Out of the Big, Black Hole series, since I’m almost out of debt, but I still have a (short) ways to go, and hopefully telling my story can help others avoid these financial pitfalls.
While cutting back on the things I bought for myself was hard enough, curbing what I purchased for others was worse. I love gift-giving. One of my favorite things to do was to go shopping with a friend, watch as she raved about and pined over something she couldn’t afford, and then sneak back and buy it for her. Usually by the time Christmas or her birthday rolled around, she’d completely forgotten about it and was ecstatic to receive it.
Giving a great gift isn’t about money, of course. It’s the thought involved. By have any of you noticed how often those thoughts cost dearly? I always tried to keep to a budget of under $1,000 for Christmas gifts. It never worked, even when I made a lot of the gifts myself. I also loved to entertain, and would invite people over for parties that included huge platters of food and open access to my little bar. Only in the last year or two have I been able to get my generous nature under control.
My friends (hopefully) still know I love them. And I’m sure not a single one wants an extravagant gift from me while I’m still mired in the misery of CIBC owning my ass. Most of us have agreed that time together is more important than things, so on special occasions, we’ve shared cheap (but delicious!) dinners together, gone for a walk, or watched a matinee.
While I am looking forward to more flexibility when it comes to presents for friends and family, I’m going to be better at setting a budget and sticking to it in the future. Spending yourself into a hole is a gift to no one.
How about you? Do you find it easier to spend more on family and friends than you would on yourself? Do you go crazy around the holidays? How do you keep your gift-giving under control?