The countdown to Christmas has begun, along with all of the characteristic craziness that is often synonymous with this time of year. Trying to get the “right” present for loved ones and friends without destroying the budget is daunting. The tendency to equate love with how much is spent on gifts is a trap many of us fall into. Not wanting to disappoint our kids, family members or friends is usually at the root of overspending. The curse of charge cards makes overspending a reality when in fact it creates chains of bondage for the less fiscally disciplined.
I want to scream, rant and rail at the television screen when I see actors and company’s extolling the virtues of “Payday” Loans, credit cards, and reverse mortgages for seniors, college students and those having difficulty making ends meet. The propensity to tantalize people who are mired in debt is ever pervasive. As many of us try to eek out an everyday living, the thought of quick money in the form of a Payday Loan or credit card purchase is so enticing. The only problem with this plan is that the usury rates that often accompany those loans create a “loan shark” quicksand existence with an ever-moving finish line. Paying for Christmas for the next twelve months for purchases long forgotten seems ludicrous. Paying yourself first in the form of savings is a much better plan. Ten dollars a week, is forty dollars a month, and four hundred and eighty dollars a year. Include compounding interest and in a relatively short time a rainy day fund exists. That long forgotten purchase appears only in the form of an unpaid high interest balance on a credit card.
Let’s remember the true spirit of the holiday season. Honoring love, family and friendships on Christmas as well as every day of the year is a self-sustaining year-long gift of peace and joy. What a valuable lesson to pass on to our children!
Happy Holidays to you and yours! May the spirit of Christmas and this Holiday Season continue to bless and nurture you and your family!