Sunday, December 2, 2007

December surprises

I've written a couple of times about planning for holiday spending. In previous years, I always "planned" my holiday spending by working out how much my year-end bonus would come to after taxes, and ensuring that my total spending did not exceed this amount. While this approach technically adheres to the "spend less than you earn" commandment of personal finance, it isn't exactly the best way to stay in control of your finances.

This year, I've been saving up funds specifically earmarked for the holidays, with the goal of not needing my bonus to pay for any of my holiday expenses. If all goes according to plan, my holiday purchases will all be bought and paid for before my bonus even hits my chequing account. We've done a good chunk of our holiday shopping this weekend, and we look to be on track to keep things under budget this year. That is a great feeling.

This afternoon, we were at a birthday party for a friend's 1-year-old, and we were talking with one of Ms. Loonie's closest friends and her husband. After a little while, the subject suddenly turned to New Year's plans, and what we are planning for ringing in the new year.

When it comes to New Year's celebrations, Ms. Loonie and I generally have a nice dinner with friends (usually at a friend's house), and spend the evening chatting and listening to music. It's pretty low-key, but it can be a lot of fun. Well, Ms. Loonie's friend suddenly decided today that we should all go away somewhere for New Year's. The current proposal is Mont Tremblant (a ski resort in Québec).

Now, our plans for the holiday season have not made any allowances for taking a ski trip to Québec. We simply haven't budgeted for this, and we really can't afford it at this point. It's frustrating that this is being brought up now; if we had known a few months in advance, we might have been able to save up for it, but with less than a month's notice, there's not much we can do.

I think we'll be passing on the ski trip, unless we find a really spectacular deal that will let us do this on the cheap.

It's funny how full of surprises the holiday season always turns out to be.

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