The Canvas Grey

Inspiration, Perspective, Insight

The financial strain of the holidays

Posted by TheCanvasGrey on December 8, 2007

I’m usually about appreciation and thanksgiving especially during this time of year but I had a realization yesterday that I just had to share and wondered if others where feeling the financial strain of the holidays.  Here’s my thoughts toned down quite a bit from yesterday:

The more life I live … the more I wonder about all this dream peddling… the money grubbing… the almighty dollar… the set up of buying stuff for Christmas.  The “black” Friday where everyone is to rise up and FINALLY make money for the merchants who’ve been operating all year at a loss (WHAT?).  Everyone open your wallets and spend, spend, spend so that everyone everywhere will have all the STUFF they want on Christmas morn (or for each day of Hanukkah). 

I guess you could say I’m feeling the financial strain of Christmas as I do every year around this time.  But that is mitigating what is going on deep down underneath everything, isn’t it?   What is going on?

Living without a nest egg or knowing that retirement may not be an option is one thing but when a person has to decide between taking a sick child to the doctor versus paying $200 out of pocket (and that is with insurance folks) what the heck are you supposed to do? 

Am I mad?  YES!  Frustrated?  YES!  Upset?  YES!  It was at this point I could imagine how people beg, borrow or steal to keep life going…really, I saw the OTHER side!  I glimpsed it, felt it and then quickly pushed it aside.

Of course you take the child to the doctor and figure out how to pay the bill when it comes…but I thought I was paying insurance premiums so I wouldn’t have to fork out this kind of money.  What the heck happened to health care/insurance and what the heck am I paying for?

I’ve suddenly had an awakening and have to ask myself, am I going to continue paying the cash cow?  And who exactly is the cash cow, the doctor, the hospital, the insurance company?  The person who runs to the doctor for every sniffle but has plenty of extra cash to pay whatever premium AND the $200 bill are they to blame? 

Then I got to thinking about how quickly things have gone up in price.  Shall I get started on the price of gasoline from 2004 to present?  Milk has gone from $2.50 to almost $5, bread from $1.29 to $2.07 (update 12/12/07, just got home from the store, same bread is now $2.54 a loaf…what the heck is going on?)  in just the last TWO years!  WHAT?  Did your wages increase that much?  Cause I don’t know ANYONE who got that type of windfall in wages.

If Christmas spending is another record breaking year then more than just a few people are piling up debt they may never get paid.  This year we will do with much less so tomorrow we can have what we need, like bread and milk; and some of what we want like electric and gasoline.

 I’m done now.  😉

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8 Responses to “The financial strain of the holidays”

  1. Maddy said

    Maybe a little off topic but A few years ago I read a book called ‘unplug on the Christmas machine’ [or something like that, rapidly going senile] but I’m sure it applies equally well to all faiths.

    [I’m not really plugging a book but bear with me] Anyway, the reason that I liked it was because it helped me to focus on what was important and what was just so much ‘hype and pressure.’

    Also it pointed out that it tends to be the women / mums who call the shots [nice use of colloquial Americanism there!] and that the Dad/men’s traditions tend to be trampled. [by me at least]

    Hence, when you whittle it down I learned to chuck out the unimportant stuff and focus on what really matters. I think it should work for everyone.

    BEst wishes

  2. thecanvasgrey said

    Amen Maddy! It is what we make it and I choose to make it about love, family and thankfulness for having what I have when I have it. The truth is we are all just one foot from the grave so why not be happy whilst we live!

  3. My family is always strained in December because our city collects car tax this month.

    The increase in prices at the supermarkets are probably directly related to gasoline since our supermarkets rely so heavily on tractor trailers to keep food in stock. If we bought locally and adjusted our diet according to season I don’t think we would be as affected by the price of gasoline, you know?

    Our children are so blessed to have a pediatrician who sometimes sees them and doesn’t charge us anything. When we didn’t have insurance he used to just charge for the office visit ($35) and his office ate the rest of the cost so that we wouldn’t have to. If they need follow-ups to check their ears to see if the infections have cleared up, the office doesn’t charge for that follow-up visit. Isn’t that humble and kind? He is a dear man.

    Thanks for posting this, CG. You are wise to think about this kind of topic, even though it is difficult to address.

  4. thecanvasgrey said

    Ask and ye may receive…I did get a discount on a couple of bills and the hospitals will take payments, for which I’m thankful.

  5. Accountable said

    Right now our kids are young enough that they really don’t care about how much they are getting. We bought each of them a biggish present (about $30) and a smaller one, under $10. The kids don’t need any toys and I know that the grandparents will get them clothes.

    I feel like a scrooge becasue we did not take the family picture this year and I am NOT sending out cards to everyone this year. But boy do I feel less stressed out by it.

  6. thecanvasgrey said

    Good for you Accountable for not succumbing to the pressures! The more I let go of the better I feel…less stress is a good thing!

    I was thinking today how great it feels to have a few things that they wanted and clothes that they need. Good for kids, good for parents, good for the wallet.

    My parents grew up like Loretta Lynn, one toy, a pair of shoes, one dress and a feast for dinner. They were TICKLED to get that.

  7. Angie said

    Your post really resonated with me. I feel many feel the same way that you have described. It is tough out here today. Most of us make less and prices continue to rise.

    I read a post about health insurance in Australia, where they were complaining about the cost and get this, theirs is government health care.

    I do not claim to know the answer, I am just very concerned about health care and a real living wage for all of us here in this country. It seems that there are going to be 2 classes here, rich and poor. The middle class is being choked to death.

    Maybe the one good thing that can come out of all this if it continues is that we will get to the real true meaning of Christmas and be happier and less stressed at the same time.

  8. thecanvasgrey said

    Angie, I agree. You hit the bullseye when you said the middle class is being choked to death. I think it was about 15 years ago when Clinton gave his wife the task of fixing healthcare. So the problem has been with us for long enough.

    HMOs were born with co-pays at $5 or $10. Now co-pays are $20 to $50 just to see the doctor and the premiums are sky high.

    Healthcare is broken and it will get much worse before we figure out what to do. Government run health care doesn’t work either because the rich will always be able to pay for higher quality care. There is a monster sized collapse looming in the future if we don’t figure out what to do.

    It IS a good thing to focus on the wonderful blessings, especially now!

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