I don’t think it’s a secret that I love Christmas. I think it’s in my genes. A few years ago, my brother commented that during the holidays, my parents’ house looks like Christmas threw up on it. My mom makes the house look like something out of a magazine. I believe she had nine trees last year. Nine. Trees. Now admittedly, half of those trees are small. One is a tiny table-top tree placed in the laundry room as a joke (all of the other rooms have trees, after all). But it’s not just trees. There are ribbons and greens strewn throughout the house, a Christmas village (for the cats to sleep in), stockings for every family member, including the pets, candles, lights, etc. I love it. Possibly because I don’t live there anymore, so I don’t have to help with the setup or cleanup.
I’m already itching to get my Christmas decorations out. I will have them done by the end of the month, as I am hosting book club the first Thursday of December, and I want everyone to see my decorations. I might start them as early as next weekend.
One thing I love to do at Christmas is go to the mall and see all the decorations. Of course, along with going to the mall to see decorations, there is always shopping. And everyone has such great Christmas items! I love the scents that accompany Christmas, which means that I have to be careful to not buy too many candles or room sprays or shower gels. I don’t need more decorations, so I have to avoid those as well.
I haven’t been to the mall in months. I’m pretty impressed by this. It’s definitely helped keep my spending in control, and I’m thinking about not going until my annual birthday shopping trip (when I use birthday gift money to replenish my work wardrobe). But the idea of missing out on the holiday decorations makes me a little sad.
And that’s exactly what the retailers want. They do everything they can to get the customer into the store because they know that once the customer is there, they will end up spending money. So I will just enjoy the free holiday decorations elsewhere and avoid the temptation to spend. At least until January. When all bets are off.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.