Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Spending Diet, Birthdays, and Other Occasions

Here's why I don't do the spending diet well.  Birthdays and Christmas.  That's it.  So far this year, my vow to spend no more than $15 per person per birthday has been absolutely laughable.

I thought I would tell you what I am spending on birthdays and see if I'm just justifying the spending or whether I'm being a genuinely nice person by buying the people I love nice things.  (See, I'm justifying it already!)

February 2 - Dad's birthday

I think I hit Dad's pretty close to $15 - it might have been more like $20.  It was his 70th and we got him 70 of different things.  70 M&M's, 70 golf tees (which I put on his cheesecake - that was fun), 70 peanuts.  I think I bought him a book from me and Justin.  So far, so good, right?

February 24 - my brother's birthday

Usually I would never buy my brother a birthday gift.  We live 3,000 miles apart and kind of stopped gifting each other a few years ago out of joint poverty.  It wasn't that we didn't care.  We just couldn't afford it.  This year, he happened to be in town and, since he went way overboard last Christmas and sent a huge box of stuff, including gift cards for me, Justin, and the kids, I felt like I needed to get him a birthday gift.  I got him a $25 gift card to be spent on books, since he likes to read.  I went over by $10 because he was in town and I went over by $25 because I would not normally have bought anything.

March 2 - Mom's birthday

Epic fail on the diet.  My brother was in town and we decided that we would like to go in together on a gift for Mom because (a) it was her 70th birthday and (b) she had just had the cancer diagnosis and major  surgery.  I'm not going to say what we spent because I know she's gonna read this, but let's say it was a lot more than $15.  I'm not sorry we did it.

April 7 - Justin's grandmother

Well, we knew today was coming.  It's Grandma's 95th birthday.  We just forgot the date in April.  Yesterday, it occurred to Justin that we needed to find out and oh, crap, it's today!  I hopped online to FTD and sent her a $50 flowering plant that comes with chocolate.  Come on, it's her 95th birthday and there's chocolate!

Coming up:

April 15 - our 23rd wedding anniversary

Two years ago, I took Justin to a local B&B for our 21st anniversary.  We stayed local and spent a couple hundred dollars on the room and probably another couple of hundred eating out for two days.  This year, I sent a $1500 payment to the I Hate You credit card, scheduled to arrive on our anniversary.  Does this count as a gift or should I make a card too?

Justin is a way bigger fan of my being on a spending diet than I am.  I think the payoff of three credit cards and the $1500 payment to the big one count to him as a gift.  But I still think I need to acknowledge the fact that he has tolerated me for the last 23 years, even after he figured out that I would completely suck the life out of him and, being a man, he will probably die before I do.  Life really isn't fair.  He should get to be free long enough to find a blonde perky thing half his age who smiles a lot and drive off into the sunset in his little red convertible.  If I go first, I give him permission to do that.  Is that a gift?

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