Anybody else breathing a huge sigh of relief? I mean, I adore Christmas. I do. But it's also quite delicious to know that I have a full year to wait before we go through that kind of overload on our senses again.
There's nothing quite like the Day AFTER Christmas, either, is there? Sitting amongst the shreds of paper that never got thrown away, my children have enjoyed the many presents that were showered upon them all. So have Patrick and I, for that matter. In fact, I got to watch him practically skip out the door in his handsome new sports coat and pants. He loves new clothes. :) I suspect that today will find us all in relatively the same locations; playing new games, reading new books, drawing with new media, wearing new clothing... We spent our Christmas budget well this year!
I will say that while I am still committed to using cash for a majority of my purchases, I diligently used the American Express card that I was given. I found presents for our loved ones at different stores and used the AmEx card to purchase them. I was never turned away from a register or told that my card wasn't good somewhere. And it was much easier to carry one card than a wad of cash, but with my wad of cash, I always know how much I have left. And this tight-fisted mom likes to be in control of that spending!
However, the temptation of a purse or wallet of money is a double-edged sword. It can be wonderful to KNOW how much money you have. But it is difficult to not whittle away at that money on $5 and $10 purchases that weren't in your initial budget.
I know that this poses a problem for some people (aka, my husband). When he has a big ole pile of greens in his wallet, he has a bit of a block on how far it will actually stretch. If you tend to have a block like that, then the American Express gift card would be a truly wise choice for you.
Next Christmas, try to take your budget and invest it into the card. You will still only be able to spend what you have budgeted but there won't have a pile of presidents' faces encouraging you to pick up a pizza or extra pack of gum at the gas station. What you WILL have is a card that is usable just about everywhere and the security of knowing that if it's lost, you can report it, just like a regular credit card! Check out their site for information regarding the rules on American Express Gift Cards. Start thinking about picking them up throughout 2012 for next Christmas. You'll be so happy you started early when the stress of next Christmas doesn't involve setting aside extra money.
Disclaimer: I received 2 gift cards in exchange for a series of posts on my views about the American Express gift card and rewards program. While I did receive compensation, all views remain strictly my own.