Valdosta Daily Times


December 2, 2012

Brittany's Budget Diary: It’s OK to be a Scrooge...

-- — As I watched a video of the “piranhas” in Moultrie’s Walmart attack each other over phones that already cost practically nothing, it reminded me of a quote from former Fresh Prince of Bel Air Will Smith: “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”

Now, I don’t know who you’re trying to impress with a phone from Walmart, maybe your parole officer, I don’t judge, but after Black Friday, I felt compelled to write an article to help people get their lives in perspective because after a very mean old lady practically knocked me down at the mall’s food court just for a table during Black Friday, I figured some in this town need a little reflection on their actions that are certainly fit for a straight jacket.

So, just in time for the holidays, here are my rambling complaints wrapped up as fiscally responsible musings.


1. Apparently Furby is the hot thing this year, which is ridiculous considering that was the hot toy when I was in fifth grade. I officially have a “back in my day story.” Am I the only one who remembers the Furby’s breach in national security? North Korea has a new leader, the director of the CIA just resigned after scandal, coincidence? I don’t think so.

Despite the gremlin-like whimsy, the thing is $54! And then they want you to buy three so they can have a Furby party. Insane!

All that brings me to this: Your children are not too old to know you have a budget. If you tell them you can only spend $100 on them this year, I doubt two days of wonder which a freaky, beak-faced muffin is worth half their Christmas budget.

That’s a whole Benjamin son and the wee ones need to learn from the get-go that Santa has bills and they can either play with Polly Pockets or have centralized heat. You decide.

2. We just got into December and already I’ve been mailed four pre-approved credit cards from companies trying to lure me with the shameless taste of cha-ching ... That is, shameless until six months of retroactive interest hits you.

I know you love your friends and family, but trust me, they are not worth going into thousands of dollars of debt for.

Every time you think your sister deserves that 100 percent cashmere sweater, just remember the time she learned to French kiss with your boyfriend and opt for the poly-blend instead. It’s just as pretty and if you’re lucky, you’ll receive unsolicited retribution when she gets a rash on her neck from out of “nowhere.” Point, game.

3. We all have those family members who think it’s a good idea to send a fruit cake. I suppose if you like to take the guessing out of Christmas and know your money is going straight into the trash, then this is perfect.

OK, I get the point of the cake. It’s a gift for the entire family and that saves money. Don’t get me wrong, consolidation of holiday gifts was one of the reasons I got married, but a fruit cake just says: I’m home alone with my cat eating a TV dinner while watching “A Christmas Story” for the fifth time.

Seriously, a gift is supposed to make me happy, not want to cry for you.

So, opt for making something a little more appetizing like personally decorated sugar cookies. My parents make these every year and I love decorating them. You can even personalize the cookies for who you’re sending them to.

To dress them up before you mail them, buy a Christmas tin from the dollar store.

It’s a great gift that’s good to eat and says that you put in a lot of effort without spending a lot of money.

4. Stop wearing scrunchies with bells. In fact, stop wearing scrunchies, period. This complaint doesn’t pertain to finance per se. I just think they are ugly and annoying.

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