TBF’s Personal Finance Series “Being Broke Ain’t Cute”: Budget Survival Tips for the Holiday

Holidays are all about tradition.  I burn…I mean….make gingerbread cookies because my mom always made gingerbread cookies.  The grinning, tatter winged angel topping my tree is almost identical to the angel topping my mom’s tree.

There may be small tweaks (no trudging out to the woods to chop down my own tree, my tree “lives” year round in a box in my basement) but the core traditions are there.

However, there is a tradition that I steadfastly refuse to carry forward.  That is how I finance the holidays.

My mom, a hard working single mom of six hungry, toy crazy kids, considered Christmas the one time of year she didn’t have to look at the price tags on gifts.  She would spend, spend, spend freely using the financial crutch of credit cards.

Sure, when I was too young to recognize the trend, Christmas was a carefree time but as I got older, I could see the black cloud on the horizon.  I knew that the joy of Christmas would be followed by my poor Mom working 24-7, grumpy, growling and stressed out.  This unhappy period would last through January, February, even into March.

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