Black Friday and Cyber Monday are stark reminders that Christmas has become the most wonderful time of the year... for retail. When the main focus of the holiday is on, 'What did you get?' we miss out on the true spirit of the holiday season.
Most of us are guilty of some overindulgence during this happiest of seasons. We may eat more than usual, drink more than usual or spend to excess. And while sometimes we can reign in our overindulgences, it doesn't mean we aren't affected by our friends, family and colleagues who don't.
Some of my friends can't wait for the holidays. The rest can't wait for them to be over. It's no wonder we're conflicted. We've allowed our most traditional, warm and fuzzy holiday to be smothered by an avalanche of consumerism and immediate gratification.
The Congress is beginning negotiations on the budget. If the end result is a budget dominated by tax increases and discretionary spending cuts, the deficit will be lower but the unfairness will be magnified.
It is refreshing to finally get honest with yourself and know exactly where you stand. Write out every dollar that you owe and write out the interest rate of each debt. It may not be pretty, but now you can create a plan and feel a sense of control.
The Republicans who voted for these budgets (or contributed to the earmarks and voted "no" later), have morally obligated themselves to support the debt ceiling. After all, these budget packages are what raised the debt to such high levels.
I've always loved a good girls' night out, but lately, I've grown tired of the "out" part. That's why, instead of waiting forever to get into clubs or struggling to hear each other over loud music, my friends and I prefer women's nights in.
Yet just as we must learn a language, it seems the language itself may train us: to focus on one area of life and disregard another, to acquire and practice a new skill while putting others on the back burner, to prioritize the present or prepare for our future.
The first step towards finding a solution to this problem is to simply admit the truth. After owning up to what is really going on, the next step is to understand the consequences of your behavior. And then you can dust off your budget.
Unfortunately, personal finance courses are not taught in schools, so it's completely up to you -- and the earlier you begin the process, the better chance your children will have to grow up into responsible, thrifty young adults.