We all talk about how we get carried away with holiday shopping. Well, most of us do. All you people with enough self-control to buy only exactly what you planned — just be nice and pretend you are mortal like the rest of us.
Point being, it’s easy to lose track of everything you’ve spent for gifts. I was so proud of myself for really keeping the expenses under the radar. I’ll be spending $50 or less on the PS3, I was able to find a couple Tim’s high-priority video games for $15 each, plus I’ve been using 40% and 50% off coupons at Borders for a couple of books I got him.
I was absolutely sure that I was under the $100 mark — so sure that I was trying to figure out what else I could afford to grab up for affordable prices. To figure out how much progress I was making, I opened up a trust Excel sheet and put everything in.
I was at just over $150.
To be fair, part of this disconnect is that I haven’t yet spent $50 of that. I am waiting one more week to see if a rewards certificate comes through, which would knock the price down by $25. So, having not yet spent it, I wasn’t always adding in that amount to my “have spent” list. Still, I was much higher up the spending chain than I would have expected. I was literally guessing about $65.
This miscalculation is worrisome on a couple of different counts. First, I was off on my spending by over 33 percent. I’m not going to beat myself up about this — for $35 it’s not worth it — but it isn’t exactly a small amount to be off, either. Second, and far more worrying, one of my swoop-in-on-a-sale purchases was $63. So, in my head, all of my other purchases were about $2. (??!!)
I’m a rational gal. I pay far too much attention (some would say) to how much we spend at any given place. When we’re playing Magic, I’m keeping a tally in my head of the beverages we buy. I consistently nag Tim about how much fast food we eat and pointing out that we can easily spend $30 a day on two fast food meals each.
But, with the holiday rush of buy-buy-buy, even my brain goes soft on math. The fact is, it goes a little soft in general, I think. Whatever the reason — willful ignorance to keep me spending or basic distraction — the fact is, it’s happening.
While I do want to get one or two more small things (under $10), I will be plugging each one in to the Excel sheet before I buy — to be sure I can stomach the total.
I’m sure there are many of you out there who automatically keep running tallies, just as naturally as they breathe in and out. You’re smarter than I, that’s for sure. But how does everyone keep up with their holiday spending math?
Inquiring minds want to know!