Stuck to my xmas budget

December 27, 2009 at 8:43 am (spending habits) (, )

Well, it’s the second day after the  biggest gift-giving day of the year, and I’m happy to report I stuck within my $500 budget, just barely!

At the beginning of 2009, when I thought about saving up a gift/xmas budget, I didn’t really consider that I would be buying a big tree, a tree stand, lights for the tree and outside decorations, nor all the ornaments (we had to swap from traditional delicate things with hooks to kitten-safe things with string). I didn’t know that I would have moved from my artist studio to a house. Even with all of that, and a few small gifts I got for friends, I still managed to stay within budget. No need to go extravagent! I got a few smaller good gifts and one larger $100+ one. It was even enough to pay for shipping my big box of gift to my east coast family.

I think next year, however, I need to increase my budget a bit. I think I need to put away $50/month. This expense catagory should also include all gifts I give all year, for birthdays, etc. I don’t get a ton of stuff, but I’ll probably spend about $100 on J’s birthday, plus a few smaller $20-30 gifts for 2 or 3 friends.

I’m behind on budget keeping for December. A big problem is buying a bunch of stuff with cash – I had difficulty getting to the bank the past week, so had to relie on cash for some of myitems, since I didn’t have time to cash my 2nd paycheck, and gift-giving money was a wad of cash tucked away. I will definitely be addressing this this coming year by opening a credit-union account with multiple savings accounts! That way I won’t have to worry about big wads of cash at home.

I also recognized that as xmas got closer, and as I was involved in the shopping experience with the crowds, and being around my co-workers and friends as they were getting ready, I felt more generous and less thrifty! Bad bad bad! It was a difficult feeling to handle, sticking to a budget, and not going whole hog on things. I had to give myself extra time at shops to talk myself out of purchases. Doing a bunch of online shopping comparisons also helped – it reined in impulse buys, since I needed to do research (sometimes over multiple days), which stopped that immediate “pay now” response.

Overall, I’m pleased with my shopping and spending performance. I fit a few extra purchases in that I hadn’t really been thinking about; I wasn’t a scrouge; and I still managed to get lots of good things, at some of the best prices in and out of town.


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