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Monday, December 10, 2007

Surviving Christmas by Charles Dickens...

Basically two weeks until Christmas and the tension is palpable.

Living up to an impossible standard (Christmas Past) Kids with unreal expectations (Christmas Present), trying to stick with a budget (Saving Christmas Future). The ghost of Jacob Marley (Bob's Son) visiting and telling me not to be cheap while the chains made by CitiBank rattle on the floor.

Well this year we are trying something else. We saved $1200 in order to pay for Christmas. $200 for each person in the house, $200 more for presents for others. Given that this is the annual GNP of Ghana on one hand it really is a ton of money, but less than we have spent before (not budgeted, but spent :) ). I don't know about you, but pull the tinsel out of my eyes and I generally don't drop a grand+ on anything. But, every year get me all liquored up on egg-nog and off we go. Buying plastic crap in the shape of; Barbie and her Bio-Engineered Pets, Various remote controlled creatures and don't forget the latest (and outdated in January) electronic gizmo's of doom.

So this year we went cash only, ala Dave Ramsey and we have pretty much stuck to it, although we went over by $83 on the gifts for others as family portraits (along with the requisite new clothes) went a bit over.

And you know what...

There is still plenty for everyone.

Sure we had to plan a bit better. My wife fought the good Black Friday fight and got some Massive deals (Thanks Hustler Blog $$$ - Great tips). We tried to manage expectations for everyone, but in January there will be no panic...no, "Oh my Gosh, we spent $X!!!" No one died (except Marley...but that was awhile ago) and we go into the new year chipping awayat the debt instead of adding to the pile.

And it feels pretty darn good...


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