Marriage Mondays-avoid the holiday budget blowout

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Decorations are hung, the lights are strung, and presents are wrapped and tucked neatly under the tree.  Last minute gifts have been purchased, and you’ve checked your list twice and thrice.  Now it’s time to sit back, enjoy a cup of joe, and snuggle by the fire in front of a classic Christmas cartoon.  Then the phone rings.  You’re invited to yet another holiday party and there is a white elephant gift required. 

You already know it's tight, but you hate to turn down an opportunity to go to a party.

Begrudgingly, you open your bank ap to find that you’re overdrawn and the fees are racking up.  You realize that there is a purchase of $200 from a store you never went to.  You turn and look at your spouse, who is oblivious to the hellfire brewing inside of you.  Trying to hold it back, you sip your coffee and stare at the screen stewing and wondering what gifts under the tree have to go back to the store to make up the overdraft charges.

Then it happens.  Your spouse says something to you that under normal circumstances would be sweet, and you unleash the beast.  By not giving your spouse any warning that the person they married has been replaced with a hot lava monster, they are immediately activated and put up the wall.  Then the missiles of blame are launched back and forth, weakening the foundation of your partnership.

Finances are one of the top reasons relationships don’t work, and the holidays add a lot of pressure to the situation, creating the perfect storm of holiday failure.  People are so excited to please each other during the holidays that all rules and morals of budgeting fly out the window, and this can spell disaster.

There are steps you can take to prevent this from happening:

Set a budget together before Christmas shopping happens
·        Make a list of people you want to buy gifts fore
·        Make it a rule that any spending over $25 will be communicated before completed to make sure you don’t both spend too much on the same day and overdraw your account.
·        Agree that you can say no to any holiday parties requiring gifts outside of your budget.
·        Host your own holiday party with a true white elephant that requires everyone to bring things they already have.
·        Have budget talks before and after you go out shopping.  Maybe you can’t spend $50 on a gift you really want to get someone today, but it will work in a week when a paycheck comes in.
·        Remember that gift giving isn’t the reason for the season

Putting a plan in place can save your relationship from the holiday budget blowup, and it keeps you from spending beyond your means.  Working together to keep your finances healthy will also keep your relationship healthy.

Trust me, you’re gonna’ love it!


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