Sunday, July 5, 2015

Include Each of These Dates in Your Monthly Budget

I don't know about all of you, but I sure spent my 3rd and 4th of July like a lion, eating like a king.  I had BBQ pork chops, brisket, chicken, corn, and beans, plus solid carbs like potato salad and beer.  What about you?  Did you have a feast at your pad too?  Friends come over?  Glad you enjoyed your Holiday weekend.  Now it's time to figure out how much it set you back.

The average American household spent $71.23 on food items yesterday, up from $68.16 on 7/4/14.  That's actually not a lot.  I suspect many of you spent more than this amount.  I mean, what's considered a food item?  Is alcohol considered a food item?  I told you to keep booze out of your grocery subcategory in May of this year.  More than likely, you spent well over $100 on the 4th of July.  That's okay, the memories are well worth the money.  Yet, you should have accounted for the 4th on your July monthly budget, just like you should encumber the average costs for the following other dates:

1.  New Year's Eve: 83% of Americans spend $200 on the last day of the year.  Confetti, champagne, a fancy adds up.

2.  Valentine's Day: 55% of Americans, age 18 or older celebrated V-day this year.  Of these willing and unwilling participants (C'mon, we all know this is a gal's Holiday), the average spent $96 on their spouse or partner.  Roses...what a racket!

3.  St. Patrick's Day: Over 100 million Americans celebrated St. Patty's Day this year and they spent around $40 on decorations and green beer.  If they were Irish, they probably spent twice that amount just on beer.  Ha!  They can out-drink Mexicans everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.  Of course we all have to bow down to our Russian comrades and their vodka, but I digress...

*I can't stress this enough...never drink and drive.  It may cost you more than you can imagine.

4. Mother's Day: Americans spent an an average of $172 on mom this past May.  And she was worth every dollar of it, cheapskates!  She gave birth to you and changed your poop for crying out loud!  Father's day?  Sure, but dad doesn't get as big of a gift.  Only $115 on average.  What a rip!

5.  Halloween: If you celebrated the festive activities that come with this day, you most likely spent over $100  on decorations, candy, costumes, pumpkins, and other spooky items.  "Trick or treat, smell my feet..."

6.  Thanksgiving: Turkey day is as American as apple pie, and you may be having apple instead of pumpkin pie for desert, but you will nonetheless be spending a pretty penny on this day if you celebrate it.  If you're traveling to get to your mom's or your spouses family home this year, whatever, you will spend a little over $300.  If you're cooking at home, you will probably spend $54 on average for the turkey and other Thanksgiving classic dishes (2014 numbers).  Gobble, gobble!

7.  Christmas: Last year, the average household planned on spending $861  for gifts!  Sometimes being Christian doesn't pay.  As for my Jewish peeps celebrating Hanukkah, it will depend.  But check out how this mother of six uses Hanukkah as a teachable moment on spending:

"Today, some families prefer to give Hanukkah gelt rather than gifts because they view gelt as a more authentically Jewish tradition. Minka Goldstein, a mother of six, says she gives one dollar per candle, not counting the shamash. On the first night her kids receive one dollar; second night, two, etc. The total is $36 for eight nights, and she says her children (and now grandchildren too) love it. Goldstein uses this as an opportunity to teach her kids how to spend wisely. When they were little, she took her kids to Toys R Us and let them decide what to buy with their $36."

Interesting, isn't it?  And what about the movies many Jewish folk go see on Christmas eve?  That's another $25 to $60 easy for the best seats at the theater.  "Oh, dreidle, dreidle..."

8. Birthdays: Your significant other's, your children's, your mother's, your father's, your grandma's, etc., someone is having a birthday in your family and you most likely left a set amount (up to you) out of the particular month's budget.  Gifts, dinners, and parties happen!

You may not celebrate some of the holidays or special occassions.  If you're a JW, you don't celebrate any!  However, most of you celebrate at least one or two of these annual celebrations and therefore, you should be listing them in your monthly budget for that particular month.  Otherwise you'll come up short and wonder where the money went.

This has been another installment of CCM blog.  And all I have left to say is...there are way too many holidays and special occasions, making each new year both momentous and expensive!  Later, skater!

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