A week away from Thanksgiving, and I'm proud to say I've already started Christmas shopping. Back in October, I sat down at the table and make a carefully budgeted list of who to shop for, how much to spend per person, and on which pay periods I would allow myself to make the purchases; oddly enough, these strict limitations have put me more at-ease with the whole gift-giving process than simply buying to my heart's content like I did last year, when I was carelessly tossing out comments like "To hell with budgeting" and "How can you put a price on family?" and proceeded to fund hundreds of dollars of holiday cheer courtesy of Mr. Visa, back when I could make such decisions with the knowledge there'd be a three-thousand-dollar tuition refund check waiting in the wings next semester. Now I'm having nightmares about the student loans I'll start paying next month and scouting out which interstate junctions to frequent with my little tin cup and cardboard box. Now I'm thinking, "I can TOTALLY put a price on family."
In the short time we've been living together, Luke and I have managed our money pretty well. We've followed Suze's advice and made it a point to pay our bills together each month, and I even sent in the paperwork for a rebate from my contact lens provider, who shall not be named here because I hate rebates and lose respect for any manufacturer that issues them. If you REALLY wanted to give me a break, Contact Lens Provider, you wouldn't make me pay for the damn lenses in full and then demand I mail in not only my original sales receipt but also the UPC codes from each lens box, just in case I'm a thief with the deplorable habit of stealing NON-CASH PIECES OF PAPER THAT ARE NOT DOLLAR BILLS from my fellow man. Then, once I've proved my worth as a customer and a human being, I have to wait six to eight weeks before you'll reluctantly hand over forty freakin' bucks. For cripe's sake, get over yourselves.
Anyway. During our Christmas shopping on Tuesday, somehow the second season of Scrubs and the tenth (final!) season of Friends found their way onto our conveyor belt, two purchases that were not Christmas purchases at all but in fact superficial material additions to our apartment, because they were each on sale and even though I thought the last season of Friends was sort of *eh* I was suddenly dying to complete my collection that. very. minute because the cover was such a breathtaking shade of magenta and Courteney Cox's hair looked really pretty. Plus, Luke loves Scrubs and I hadn't seen the second season and really, people, we don't even have cable, aren't we allowed ANY earthly pleasures?
Obviously, there's room for improvement.
I think it will be easier to save money when there's a lot less of it going around. Once the loan checks start going out, suddenly a smart celebrity hairstyle won't be sufficient grounds to blow thirty dollars, especially when we could use that dough to upgrade to a better brand of toilet paper or perhaps stock up on Ramen noodle soup.
Note to self: Begin construction of cardboard box. Also, purchase tin cup.