Don’t Go Into Debt for the Holidays

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Good deals are meaningless if you blow your entire net worth.

It’s nearly the holiday shopping season! Nothing signals the true start to the holiday season like a period of ferocious consumerism, and I’m not even being sarcastic. I love a good sale just as much as the next guy. But as much as I love shopping on sale, I still make sure to set strict budgets for my holiday expenses. After all, a new rice cooker isn’t much good if you can’t afford rice to put in it.

It’s an old trope of fiction to try to work yourself to death so you can afford some new action figure for your kid, or some similar expenditure for your family (or yourself). As nice as this idea is, it isn’t really healthy or feasible. Putting aside the regular fluctuations of the job market and economy, if you drive yourself to the brink of exhaustion every year just to get a couple of nice things for the holidays, the holidays are going to start becoming a lot less pleasant for you. That just ain’t right; the holidays are supposed to be a time for joy and togetherness and all that jazz.

This warning goes double for doing something like taking out a loan for a gift. Giving gifts to people is great, sure, but if you start buying those gifts with money you don’t have and likely won’t have in a timely manner, nobody is going to be happy about it in the end, especially once the collection agencies start calling. Everyone wants nice things, and (mostly) everyone deserves nice things, but while the notion may seem a bit heartless, if you can’t afford those things under your own power, it just isn’t a good idea to go for them.

If you have the money and budgeting skills to buy what you want, then by all means, put your plan into action. But if the math doesn’t add up, you’re just gonna have to compromise.

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5 months ago
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