Well, it looks like I've pulled off another Christmas. It's not extravagant, no scenes from Christmas Present in "Scrooge", but it's covered, right down to stockings. Good presents for 13 people, Irish cream, cards and postage, a big dinner and most of the food for a party, all for about $350. And all my bills are paid with a (very) little left yet.
Must be the poverty I was raised in, or the Scottish and Swedish genes. :) I'm so careful with money, so budgeted and strict that I can tell you at any moment exactly every cent I have to my name. Every buck I spend is in a running ledger in my head that I tally several times a day. Always have, going back to high school. Do other people watch every cent so closely? I don't know. It's how I've survived.
My husband would get twisted that I'd leave for work with only a quarter in my pocket, but I didn't need any money. I don't make impulsive buys, never have. Don't see things that I 'must have right now;' I'm not self-indulgent in that way. Maybe a candy bar once in a while, but I'm an ant by nature. I'm more concerned about my obligations than my wants. The worst fight I ever had in my marriage was over Ian wanting new head shots that would make us 8 days late on the rent. My parents must have beaten fiscal responsibility into my head with a club.
It pays to be a careful spender. Especially when you have no resources to fall back on and you have to be. I know that if I do anything off-budget I have to balance the books elsewhere and do without something else. And I make my choices accordingly. Takes planning. It's not easy to stay so on top of things but I'm not willing to go through tsuris because I've been careless.
Wish I knew how I do it so I could teach others...
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