Money Money MONEY
Blame it on the time of year, blame it on my wish to buy too many Christmas gifts, or blame it on my husband’s new job and the reduction in pay that came with it, but something has recently pushed me over the edge a bit and made me incredibly stressed out about finances. Even though my husband and I decided not to do a gift exchange this year since our boy will be out of the state Christmas Eve and Day, we still need cash for our Christmas Day casino dinner, drinks, and gambling. Even though my mother-in-law understands we don’t have the cash we had at this time last year, I still feel obligated to get her a lot of gifts, plus get gifts for my sister and brother-in-law and their daughter. Even though my husband keeps telling me that it’s not a big deal and gifts don’t matter, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll be a disappointment when I don’t deliver.
It’s not as if I have greedy relatives and it’s not that the only reason for us getting together for the holidays is to exchange pricey gifts and to marvel at the loot we receive, it’s that I enjoy giving gifts and I feel like I am failing in a way by slacking off this year. After our stockings were hung, I couldn’t keep myself from shopping and ordered a few gifts for my husband so that his stocking wouldn’t hang empty. As of this very moment, I only have three gifts tucked away for my boy, with four currently on order to be shipped next week. I have a single gift in the closet for my niece and two for my brother-in-law. I feel so far behind with no hope of catching up unless I put myself into debt.
Common sense tells me to settle down. Our bills are paid and current, our fridge and pantry will be easily filled later today when we go grocery shopping, and we still have enough for things that aren’t necessary at all like dinner at Olive Garden, seeing the lights at the zoo, or renting movies from Redbox. Our car is fully paid off and fully capable of getting us where we need to be, plus in the event that it does break down completely, my mother-in-law has an extra car to get us by temporarily. There is nothing we are wanting for and nothing we are sacrificing. There is no logical reason for me to be stressed out.
I have to put a bit of blame on the excellent holiday advertising techniques that are being used this season. The commercials aren’t doing too much to sway me, although that K-Mart commercial about lights lighting lights is getting under my skin, but literally everything else is pushing me to want to spend away. ThinkGeek has been emailing me some incredibly deals, as has Amazon, eBay, Kohls, WWE Shop, and literally every other site I have ever ordered an item from. Free shipping combined with incredible discounts and special clearance sales have me squirming in my seat, ready to hit the Place Order button and get Christmas flowing my way. I did the majority of my shopping online last year, so I can definitely tell that the deals are better this time around. It kills me to not be able to take advantage.
I take a bit of comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in the stress I am feeling. If the Black Friday crowds were any indication, people are in a mad frenzy to get the best deals and have as many gifts as possible in time for the holidays. I dread grocery shopping later today because of the impossible parking lots and the flurry of shoppers I’ll be forced to deal with at Walmart. From the talk around the office, everyone is scrambling and spending like mad in order to ensure everyone on their list is checked off and every holiday accessory is ready to go. The pressure is on and it shows.
I’ve been on both ends of the financial spectrum; I’ve had it all and lost it all multiple times over. Losing everything has made me incredibly determined to never be in financial distress again and to never be in a position where I am forced to deprive myself or my family of anything in order to keep a roof over our heads. Combine that with the holidays and I become a mess. Even though we’re not having a traditional Christmas this year and even though our boy is the only one who needs gifts purchased for, I can’t shake the feeling that I need to be doing more, buying more, and giving more at the end of the month.
I hope I can calm down, for the sake of my sanity and so my husband doesn’t have thoughts about running away in the middle of the night. I imagine that after the mini shopping spree I have planned for the next couple of days (mainly groceries, a haircut for my boy, some photos and frames, and stocking stuffers), my mind will settle and I will quit overthinking things and worrying myself to death. I hope a bit of my husband’s calm demeanor rubs off on me so I can fully enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty over not doing more. Only time will tell. Besides, I can always hold out for some big winnings at the casino on Christmas Day, right?