Dec 04 2011
Quit Spending Money You Don't Have Just Because It's Christmas. Sheesh.


(Look, I have no idea [cough] who this guy is, but he's just...so...krusty.  I'm certainly offended at his straight-talking.  But I thought I'd re-post it here, anyway, because he has an awesome chair and hat and stuff. Send angry emails to him, not me. Unless you like it.)


The Krusty Sage:  Quit Spending Money You Don't Have Just Because It's Christmas. Sheesh.


"Oh, but it's Christmas!  It's a special time of the year!  I know, we're in debt, overall, but it's Christmas, and that's only once a year, and -- "

"And..." you're a doofus.

Seriously.

------

The Krusty Sage says it in love.  The Sage also says, in love, that if you spend $300 on your kid for Christmas when you don't HAVE $300, you're not only giving your kid a nifty 360, you're giving your kid a gift that keeps on giving: The gift of foolishness, surrounded by beautiful lights, the scent of pine, on display, and etched in memory.  Ah.

Yes, Target and Apple and Best Buy don't advertise many $30 gifts, and they've ratcheted up the expectation level for Christmas.  But -- last time I checked -- your will remains free.  This means you don't have to be an idiot.

Yes, your parents may have overspent every year as you grew up.  Yes, they may have been Baby Boomers, seeking to atone for parental guilt, for one or another reason.  Yes, there may have been stacks of presents under your tree.  Yes, you think this is way Christmas "is supposed to be."

Yep! -- and so what.  We all make mistakes.  But if we're wise, we change.  

So try it.

------

Christmas is not "supposed to be" you, buying stuff you don't have money for.  Sorry.  If you're a dad, and feel bad because you can't spend hundreds on everybody, tell them you don't have the money for it, and you'll still have a great Christmas.  If that makes you feel bad, man up, bro.  You're being bullied by a bunch of advertising majors. 

Gee, you're in debt?  How'd that happen?  This is a mystery.  Someone call a C.S.I. unit.  Maybe they can figure out what happened.  Maybe they can piece it together.

Or maybe you bought a bunch of garbage.  Maybe you should stop it.   Maybe Christmas isn't special at all.  Maybe it's just the latest excuse to overspend.  Gee.  Huh.  Wow.  Gosh.  You think?

"Okay, we're in debt, and yeah, we did buy a $1,200 TV, but it's not that simple, because sometimes --"

No, it is that simple.  Sorry.  Next?

"But everyone at my kids' school gets tons of expensive gifts like 360s and Wiis and stuff and -- "  

Are you in debt?  

"Well, yes, but it's not that simple, and -- "

Nope.  It's that simple. 

"But it's not realistic to spend only $20 per person in this day and age, and -- "  

Why?  

"It's just not that simple, and -- "

Waah. 

-----

If you don't have the money for it, you don't buy it.  Don't act like your kid "needs" an iPad, either.  It has nothing to do with "needs", or even your kid, really.  It has everything to do with you:  Your desire to have some kind of "perfect Christmas", your guilt, your insecurities, your conflict-avoidance, your expectations, and you know, just generally...you

Bottom line:  You wish you a merry Christmas.

"But didn't the 'wise men' bring GOLD to baby Jesus? And fancy myrrh and stuff?  That was extravagant, and -- "  

They were royalty.  You think they used a Discover Card?

"But isn't 'Christmas' in the Bible, and -- "

Nope.

Sheesh.

Comments (40) -

12/4/2011 7:10:15 PM
Christie United States
Christie
Thank you, Brant.. *cough* I mean, Krusty. I might add that for $20 you can feed a lot of people who are starving. Much love, Christie
12/4/2011 7:11:06 PM
Alicia Kessener United States
Alicia Kessener
www.wired.com/.../1

The Five Best Toys of All time! Should fit on your budget too! Smile
12/4/2011 7:11:35 PM
Laura United States
Laura
solid.
12/4/2011 7:23:40 PM
Rachel Hodge United States
Rachel Hodge
I totally agree with the guy who wrote this. I understand that many want to treat their loved ones since it is Christmas but you're only hurting the both of you by purchasing something you don't have the money for. My 'philosophy' on gift giving is to get the giftee something that lasts past the holiday (i.e. gift kits of food or hygeine products) or at least serves some purpose (i.e. got my cousin in college some food one year to help her out). I gift this way because I care, even for the relatives that aren't nice at all toward my immediate family. It's the thought and if they can't get that, that's their loss but I include the receipt so they can get a refund and get what they want anyway. This removes the stress for me and my wallet.
12/4/2011 7:32:43 PM
Scott Eaton United States
Scott Eaton
I completely agree. However, even if you are not in debt and can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on each kid at Christmas time, should you?
12/4/2011 7:37:04 PM
Marie United States
Marie
Thank. You!
12/4/2011 8:28:24 PM
Tami Kanas United States
Tami Kanas
The Krusty Sage for President!
12/4/2011 9:52:00 PM
barbara United States
barbara
I so totaly agree with ole krusty. been telling people this for years. people have fallen for the add gimics. and the kids today are smarter about using the old guilt complex. my folks had a price limit every yearand still do for the grand kids. no ipads no cellphones no cumputers, mostly clothing, and not the expencive stuff. if you want expencive you got a job and payed for it yourself. my husband and i live on a cash basive lifestile. no visa, vo discover, no mastercard, and diffenitly no american express.
12/4/2011 10:17:37 PM
Caleb United States
Caleb
I have to agree with krusty here, no going overboard with gifts. at my house, we don't "do" christmas, so to speak; as in : no gifts.we get our gifts throughout the year, not on one day. same with birthdays. ( in fact WE don't get presents on our birthdays[there's 4 of us], we give our MOM gifts cuase she did all the work, we just kinda plopped out[except for my sister, she flew out and nearly got dropped])and when we want something expensive, we pay for half or all of it(after giving several valid reasons why we should buy it).
12/4/2011 11:51:12 PM
Mark Christensen United States
Mark Christensen
Dear Krusty,
Your sage advice is packed full of wisdom and sarcasm but none the less, spot on. Though some may be offended by this letter of reality, it is a necessary note for many to read. A literal slap in the face without being a literal slap in the face. Although a literal slap in the face might be what some need when it comes to overspending. You know Krusty, before the 90's Starbucks really hadn't invaded many cities other than those near Seattle and I remember being just fine with a normal LOW CALORIE cup of coffee with a little creamer in it. And then all of a sudden this company invades, yes, with military precision, invades every city, sorry, town, scratch that, street corner within 5 miles of me and beyond, and has skewed my reasoning to think that I need a cup of calorie packed and massively overpriced java. Just this very evening for instance, I drove to the super market for some groceries then stopped off at Starbucks and picked up a drink for my wife and I as well as hot cocoa for my 2 boys. That pit stop, and I use the word PIT not to mean money pit, unless you want it to, that little pit stop lifted $12 from my checking account. $12!!! It also added 1620 calories to our bodies. As I see it, I could have saved the $12 and in virtually the same amount of time it took Barista Bob to crack out.... I'm sorry, did I say crack out? I meant snail out 4 drinks, I could have come home and baristad, baristaded, bar.......... made my own drinks. I've got packets of yummy hot cocoa in the cupboard as well as a pot of brewed coffee in the pot. YES ALREADY BREWED JUST SITTING THERE..... STARING AT ME LIKE I'M SOME SORT OF WASTEFUL MORON. Krusty, I could have used that $12 to buy or put toward a Christmas present for my kid. But it's gone now. Gone. They won't give it back no matter how much I beg. "But it's just a drink from Starbucks." Kinda sounds like what you were talking about. Similarly wasteful and equally ridiculous. Thanks Krusty. Keep up the good work.

Your friend,
Klod
12/5/2011 4:49:55 AM
Stacy United States
Stacy
I blame Santa. I wouldn't go as far as some Christians to say just switch the "n" around and see what you get but I think Santa perpetuates the problem. Instead of parents showing their kids that sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you have to save up to get what you want and sometimes you don't get what you want at all, we've invented this fictitous man that could make all our dreams come true. So parents teach their children that all you have to do is be good and then you get all that you want because you deserve it. These kids then grow up and who cease to believe in the man in the red suit but rather become self-satisfying adults who give themselves rewards because they feel they deserve it even if it doesn't fit in the budget. Some people say that kids need Santa so they can "believe" in something. What they should be believing in is not a old guy who comes down the chimney who gives them what they deserve for being good little boys and girls but rather they should believe in the Savior of the world who, glory to God, doesn't give those who trust in Him what they so richly deserve for being filthy sinners (myself included).

P.S. Klod, I like your writing style.

P.S.S. Brant, I mean Krusty, don't be jealous I like yours too.

P.S.S.S. Merry Christmas everyone! Remember, don't spend what you don't got... afterall it's not your birthday.
12/5/2011 8:10:42 AM
Nate United States
Nate
"And...You're a doofus."

Yep.
12/5/2011 8:14:30 AM
Bethany United States
Bethany
...And we usually can't even remember what we got for Christmas last year. It's such a temporary thing. I hadn't realized before that the desire to create a perfect holiday stems from one's own insecurities, but it makes sense.
12/5/2011 9:52:45 AM
Mindie United States
Mindie
Love it! My husband and I are going to start facilitating Financial Peace University at our church this week (Daveramsey.com) and we are SOOOOOOOOO reading your blog to all 67 families in attendance!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!
12/5/2011 10:41:01 AM
Ken Hagerman(The Barba) Paraguay
Ken Hagerman(The Barba)
Nicely done. Why do you think late February is such a bad time for crime? It's when the credit bills are  at least a month late and the creditors are threatening. Ok so I made that up, but it is stupid to spend what you don't have. www.ramblingbarba.com
12/5/2011 11:49:14 AM
Alan United States
Alan
Right on, brutha!  The thoughts here have been on my mind for years.  The debt doesn't really bother me so much since I'm already so in debt that it would take the Apocalypse to get me out of it (Come on Jesus!).  However, what always grinds my goose is the Christmas push for consumerism from Halloween until Christmas Eve.  Jesus totally gets lost in the whole thing.  My kids are very aware of the necessity for celebrating our Savior's birth and our salvation.  Anytime it gets to be too much about toys and electronics they get drawn back to reality in a hurry.  

I like the shopping.  I like the gift giving.  It's fun.  I just think that as Christians we need to take back our holiday and our country, and that happens one family at a time.
12/5/2011 12:18:20 PM
Carolyn Longpre United States
Carolyn Longpre
Awesome. That's all I have to say. And thank you for the hefty reminder (on the day I was about to go out Christmas shopping, ironically!).
12/5/2011 12:24:55 PM
Cara United States
Cara
This is totally awesome! How true is it that we have to have a "great Christmas" with tons of gifts, we are just taking out the true meaning of Christmas, which is not gifting at all, but that a baby boy was born that would save our souls.
12/5/2011 12:28:38 PM
katie United States
katie
for the past two years my dad has gotten me the simplest gifts, and they've touched me deeper than all the exciting new books or DVDs that I got from everyone else.
I went to Goodwill last year and bought my 6 year old brother two high quality toy cars. [I was blown away just how good they were too] All that to say, for sure, you don't have to spend a ton of money to have a great Christmas.
12/5/2011 1:48:00 PM
Jeff Sobolewski United States
Jeff Sobolewski
Love it.  Thank you!!!
12/5/2011 1:59:37 PM
anonymous United States
anonymous
You're totally awesome. Your blog really inspires me, and I look forward to reading it when I get home from school. Thanks for getting me back on track with your great encouragement. Laughing
12/5/2011 2:52:27 PM
Jared United States
Jared
Most of this is true, but dang it... IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE!!

My parents saved up all year every year to make sure their 5 kids got good gifts for Christmas. (They saved up for other things too, so don't trip.) Some years they could only spend like $50 per kid and other years we even got like $100 gifts. One year my brother and I got second-hand bikes that my dad bought and fixed up. No matter what happened, we all felt LOVED because our parents cared enough to find out the stuff we liked and they did their best to give it to us. These are KIDS we are talking about!

My point is that you're a freaking monster if you are barely going to grow a conscious and stop your spending at Christmas. Stop at New Year's, that's what resolutions are for anyway. If you do happen to have a big flatscreen and shiny car, don't you think your kids will resent you all the more for cutting back when it was THEIR TURN for stuff? That may not be how it is, but that's how they'll see it. They're KIDS for goodness' sake.
12/5/2011 3:04:43 PM
Sofia Perez United States
Sofia Perez
Yes. Everything you said is so true... This year we are giving back to others and not ourselves. My kiddos at first were super upset, but now they want to know how we can help the next person. I just want my children to grow up thinking about the true meaning of Christmas and not get mixed up with tradition of over spending... That's my goal for this Christmas.
12/5/2011 11:26:15 PM
nicolej (: United States
nicolej (:
Brant. YES! Epic win, now, can you please explain this to my paerents? It's my last christmas at home (I'm moving out to go to a bigger university) and they keep asking me what I want and I keep telling them that I want for them to sponsor a child for worldview or compassion (no preference) and they won't listen! I keep getting a no, what do  you really want? But maybe if you or ummm excuse me, Mr. Sage explained this concept to them, they might actually give me what I want which is in fact, nothing... how ironic.
12/6/2011 10:50:24 AM
David Stolz United States
David Stolz
Brant, this is awesome!  I have been trying to tell my daughter this very thing. She is asking people to lend her money so she can give presents.  Really? Since when does Christmas REQUIRE that we give presents?  When I was a kid, I gave my mom a coupon book of things that I would do for her upon presentation of the coupon.  Didn't cost me anything but a little time.  What happened to creativity?  Thanks for being straight forward and in our faces.  A verbal slap is what we need sometimes.  Keep up the good work!
12/6/2011 2:05:58 PM
Karen Bolt United States
Karen Bolt
I've never heard it put any better!!!  I totally agree.
12/6/2011 2:44:26 PM
Dylinn United States
Dylinn
AMEN!! I agree!!
12/6/2011 9:48:18 PM
Kimmy United States
Kimmy
I loved this and agree 100% with it. I'm 17 and stopped getting things for Christmas when I was 10 because my mom didn't have any money for gifts. She never said anything at Easter so we spent days looking for our non-existant Easter baskets but at Christmas she said we weren't going to get anything and we spent the day at Denny's and it was the best thing ever. Now we have resorted to 'White Elephant' gifts and my mom just takes some of our stuff and wraps it and it's like getting it all over again!! Which, for the record, getting something twice is way more exciting the second time you get it.
12/7/2011 4:33:28 PM
Tina T. United States
Tina T.
I have been saying this for years.  I know people that will rack up credit card debt and have to pay on it all year.  And then struggle all year with doing so.  Why?  The season is about giving but give Love and Compassion!  That doesn't cost!  In our family, we do not buy the anyone over the age of 18 a gift.  And our 2 boys get 3 gifts.  Jesus only received 3 from the wise men,and by golly they are no better than Jesus!
12/7/2011 5:08:26 PM
Demetreanna United States
Demetreanna
Thank you! People complain about the economy but then they go and punch people out for an XBox and spend a bunch of money! I think we need to go back to what Christmas is all about. Sounds corny but it's true. This year in particular I'm going out to do something in the community and give back without spending a bunch of money. And for my family and close friends I'm gonna draw portraits and frame them...... some may think it's cheap but I don't care! We think that the more money we spend the more we love people. I guess parents are concerned that their kids will accuse them of not being loved if they don't get what they want... It's sad but I'm glad that someone is talking about this.
12/8/2011 8:08:16 AM
Ciara United States
Ciara
This is awesome!!!!  Thank you so much for posting this!!!!  My husband and I are following the Dave Ramsey plan to get our finances back where God would like them to be so that we can be better stewards with God's money!!!  This post is perfect!!  We are not going to be spending a lot of money this Christmas, but really we just want everyone else to understand why we can't buy them tons of crap that they will probably throw out, throw in a closet, or re-gift!!!!
12/9/2011 8:22:48 PM
Charlie Japan
Charlie
Brant, you got some good things to say, but while you were riled up and blasting away at someone's desire to overspend, you inadvertently said, "Maybe Christmas isn't special at all."  And, well, this will be my 4th Christmas while being a working missionary here in Japan, and this year I absolutely don't have any money to come back and be with my family.  Does that mean I don't love my family?  No, absolutely not, but unfortunately this year, my family will just have to trust me, because I don't have the money to tell them in person.  
So, while, I'm living your post (or Krusty guy's tough love suggestion), Christmas means more to mean than any other day.  I know that we're supposed to love Easter, but can we just be honest with ourselves?  Doesn't Christmas mean something to us, not just spiritually, or from a Christian collective, but how about individually?  How about personally, looking back on our memories, and our lives?  Doesn't it just seem like our birthday's are somehow tied to the birth of Christ?  Doesn't it feel like with every Christmas, we get one year older, and as Christians we look forward to being with the Lord one day.  On Christmas.  
Brant, Christmas matters, it matters to me, and it matters sooo much.  I miss everyone back in America.  I wish I could come and tell you how special and important Christmas is.
Brant, could you please edit your post to edit what you mean by, "Maybe Christmas isn't special at all.  Maybe it's just the latest excuse to overspend.  Gee.  Huh.  Wow.  Gosh.  You think?"

Because whether Christmas is or isn't Dec. 25th, and whether or not its marked with 40 days of spending before the official day, I will attest, that Christmas is special, it lives in our hearts, and our dreams to be a day that I will never forget.  And as a fellow enthusiast for literature of times gone by, Brant, I'm sure you can attest that this has been expressed time and time again in thousands of books and thousands of songs (not to mention "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" paints a pretty good picture to the reality of what Christmas really is for all of us, whether we are conscious of it or not).  
Its not about spending, its something much much more.  If you seek it, it'll find you.
12/11/2011 5:00:31 PM
Dr. Jensen United States
Dr. Jensen
I think I'll show this article to my dad so he can stop insisting that "We're not gonna have a Christmas this year 'cause we're broke". Laughing
12/15/2011 5:58:39 PM
Amber United States
Amber
AMEN! I'm so tired of people buying gifts that they don't have the money to spend on. I'm so tired of my family buying me gifts when they really can't afford it! I tell them all the time that I don't need anything but they go and buy something they can't afford. and I know people who say that their family might lose their house and stuff and then they turn around and buy their teenagers iphones and ipads for Christmas. It makes me sad.
12/17/2011 8:18:26 PM
Micah United States
Micah
It kind of annoys me how RIGHT all your posts are... Love ya, Brant. And thank you for making such a difference in so many lives (definitely mine!). Smile

From: a 14 y.o. girl
12/27/2011 1:44:50 PM
Tiffany United States
Tiffany
Brant, i could agree with you more about going into to debt over Christmas gifts. My husband and I have recently been going through Dave Ramsey's "Financial peace" class, and he expresses the same thing. In fact he is completely against credit cards all together. This is the first year that we told everybody in our families that we were not doing Christmas presents this year, and they were surprisingly really supportive. It was still a really nice Christmas. I still baked some goodies for everyone, but not a single thing was bought on a credit card. I cannot tell you how good it feels to know that January is coming and we have ZERO Christmas debt. Christmas doesn't have to be about all the fancy presents. Spending time with family and remember what this season is really about is more important than any present.
1/4/2012 4:30:10 PM
jessica evrist United States
jessica evrist
I love it!! ...I wrote a serious song about this! view it on youtube.com  Jessica Evrist live America!
12/21/2012 9:01:08 PM
Momma United States
Momma
I have 7 children and we are in debt, have sold most of our luxuries such as flat screens my wedding ring, video game(s) just to get by.  My husband does have a job, I have applied everywhere for part time positions but my work history stops years ago, when I got married.  
my first marriage ended, he fell off the planet leaving me with 4 children our youngest 1 years old.  I moved on and It was a struggle and alot of prayer and faith that God knew what he was doing.  
As my family has grown with my second marriage we have never known cable, cell phones, air conditioning or heat in a vehicle until my second marriage.  My husband gave us pleasures in life that I never thought to try to have without struggling for it.
But now, we have lost our medical insurance.  I am 6 months pregnant and haven't been properly treated to ob care.  My oldest son is autistic and my second daughter is partially deaf.  We are sitting in an ER as I write this, because her tonsils are nearly closed, but she doesn't have insurance and they dont treat her like they did when she had insurance a last year and came in with ear problems.
I cant breath not knowing what I am going to feed them tomorrow or the next day or the next.  My chest hurts thinking that we have one gallon of milk left for out 1 year old.
A couple of times I cried for just a couple of minutes cause we won't be having christmas.  
The world is full of judgment.  
We don't qualify for assistance because my husband is over income?  But that excludes my children from my first marriage, where im under income but am married to an over income husband.  We have saved what we could, taken care of our gifts, believe in hand me downs, if it ain't broke dont fix it.  
This Christmas I give up and I give in.  What ever lesson we are supposed to learn, I am looking for it.  Patiently.  Taking deep breathes.  I told my husband, "Hey, who says Christmas has ti be on the 25th?  We can have it later in the year, when we are caught up...sometime.". Right?
12/30/2012 6:25:07 AM
Larry United States
Larry
I gave both of my kids, (which are adults now)a water filter, and $50.00 each with there wife, and boy freind. Got NO Thank You, Thats all right, but when my daughters boy freind called me and said," That'll buy the gas". (Pissed me off inside) I guess some people just don't know what Christmas is. Wait till next. I'll do for my Grand Sons only, and they loved those toys that only costed $20.00. Some people are going to get a bible.
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