Dec. 10th, 2012

bitter_suite: (Carmen Hiding)
There was a segment on the local news last night about how to avoid a "holiday hangover". At first I thought they were talking about the alcoholic type of hangover, but they meant the hangover of getting holidays bills in January and finding out you spent too much. The report surprised me because I just can't grasp the concept of spending more than you have. To clarify, I understand that sometimes emergencies happen. Things break and need to be repaired or replaced, and sometimes unforeseen things happen that require money. Or course in those situations you do what you need to do. However the news segment wasn't talking about emergencies. They interviewed several people and one women said, "I don't have a budget or plan what I spend. I just buy what I want and see how much I spent when the bills come." Now maybe that woman is lucky enough that she doesn't need to worry about money, but even if you have a lot of money I can't imagine not thinking about the amount you're going to be spending!

My parents raised me to very aware of finances and saving. A few examples spring to mind readily. When I was a child my grandmother sent my brother and I checks for $125 on our birthdays and holidays. Walt and I got the $25, and the $100 went into savings. At 15 I asked dad for a raise in my allowance, and he advised me to get a job, which I did at McDonald's (ugh). When my grandmother passed away in 1996 she left all her grandchildren some money. Since I was only 16 it was put in my and my mom's name. I remember begging mom for just a bit of the money for a new CD player. She refused; instead it went into savings. Because of all the examples above and other things, I'm very aware of my finances. I've never overdrawn my bank account, and I never charge more to my credit card than I can pay off entirely at the end of the month, barring any unforeseen emergencies. Of course when you buy something like a car or a house you can't pay it off all at once, but I'm confident that when the time comes for me to buy a house (or anything that can't be paid off all at once) I'll take the time to be sure I'll be able to afford monthly payments. I'm not going to pretend I've never wasted money or bought things I shouldn't have. I'm sure it happens to all of us. However I think I'm generally pretty good with money.

This is why attitudes like those of the woman the news interviewed kind of boggles my mind. How can you not know what you're spending? This time of year people tend to rattle off the names of people they need to buy gifts for. Well, you don't need to break the bank to get gifts for people. In the past I've given things I've crocheted and homemade baked goods as gifts. There's also the option of not spending very much on people. If they're truly your friends, they won't care how much their gifts cost. Of course getting an expensive gift is nice, but it's not necessary! I wish more people thought that way instead of to often running for the newest/shiniest/most expensive gift.


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