I think we all do it and we all end up with it at some point, especially during the Holidays. We overspend, get sucked into marketing gimmicks, and end up with buyer’s remorse. No matter how hard I try, when it comes to the holidays, I overspend. Or more accurately, I give into my husband who overspends. I try to make sure everyone has something, and I stress myself out where there is often no need to do so.
Rather than one particular gift or item this year, there are a number of mistakes I can pinpoint. I shouldn’t have made so many trips to Starbucks. Not only did all those Peppermint Mochas blow the budget but they contributed to the 5lbs I didn’t need to gain. It’s those unexpected small purchases that get me. (Out later than normal, stop and pick up dinner…bam, grocery budget is blown).
I have a very bad habit of feeling guilt over what I own when times are tough. When faced with a credit card bill, I immediately wish I had not gotten anything for Christmas. As if those few purchases my husband made for me, would make the credit card bill vanish. The thing is…what I had under the tree would make very little difference but when I had a legitimate excuse to take something back (the Teflon was scratched), I didn’t exchange it but got the money back. So then I hurt my husband’s feelings but I just get so overwhelmed with the money issues.
I’m not quite sure he really understands how much the money matters stress me out. Maybe it’s because I’m the one that has to do the budget. I pay all the bills, buy the groceries, pay the daycare, and watch the bank account like a hawk. So I see how much money goes out, and how much we aren’t saving, aren’t putting towards a new deck, paying off the loan on the new roof. I literally make myself sick over money all the time, but I feel like an ogre when I say NO on a purchase and usually give in so that I suffer in silence when the pressure of the bills gets to me.
We do okay, but I would like more security in the form of a more diverse portfolio, a higher amount in savings, etc. etc. This is actually the first year we have used credit cards for Christmas in the past 5, and I’m definitely regretting that decision as I know things always come up and our plan to have them paid off within two months will never work out. I second guess myself all the time and regret decisions that are already done.
I used to be a secure person, quick decisions, confident. I’m not sure if it’s the addition of a child/household/etc. but I seem to become less decisive and more intimidated by my own decisions as time goes by. Thus adding to my stress when it comes to the finances. Maybe it’s because I have so much more to lose now. It used to only be me; now it’s my husband, child, house, cars etc. All the responsibility that requires money is overwhelmingly weighing on my shoulders.
So when looking back at the Holiday’s, I have many regrets (none of which involve my son’s gifts) most of which are out of my control or silly. The lesson I have learned though, finally, is to spread the gifting out through the year, save more specifically for the Holidays and go back to making some gifts homemade. I never regret the ones that take more of my time than money. I have this fear that if I don’t get to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas for gifts, it won’t feel like Christmas. I think its time for new traditions: watching silly Claymation movies with my son, decorating cookies, going to a local church’s Christmas pageant and writing letters to Santa. There should be way less remorse that way when the Holidays are over.