flood that destroyed my bank account,
Christmas ‘03. It looked something like this:
Gift-wrapping supplies .............
Christmas cards .......................
Cocktail dress for party ............ $90
Beautifying facial regime ............
Shoes to match cocktail dress ...
Total package . PRICELESS
Of course, this is what credit-card
companies and their ad agencies would like us to believe. But in
reality, this total package is not priceless. In fact, December 2003
cost the average American $689. To make it even worse, most of
it was charged, so let’s add 17 percent to the total. The whole
month was a whirlwind of shopping, organizing, wrapping, charging,
sorting, parties, beautifying – followed by even more shopping.
I had big plans to lock up the credit cards,
but I am weak when faced with temptation – and there were so many
cute things this year! Did you see the new Lucky Jeans in Ala Moana? I
went to Las Vegas early in the
month, too, and the outlets are great! Polo, Coach, Puma and
Nike…it was too much. Goodies from Trader Joe’s for Dad,
a nightie and slippers from Maidenform for Mom, T-shirts for the
boys and initialed purses for the girls. The list goes on.…
It was really fun at the time! I
rationalized my excessive credit-card use by telling myself that we
only live once. After all, it’s just money! I guess advertising
really does work.
Now the adrenaline rush is over, the
shopping high has subsided and the credit-card statements are
starting to arrive. I’m reminding myself that “It’s just
money,” but that doesn’t seem to relieve the tension or my
sleepless nights. This money is what pays rent, gas, food and
everything else that makes the world go ‘round. And it feels heavy
to be weighed down with debt.
I do this every year and every year I tell
myself I am going to do it better next
year. Sounds like my last 10 diet resolutions, but seriously,
next year I am going to do it differently! Next year, I am going to
plan and budget and not wait until the last minute. Next year, I am
going to use cash only. Next year, I am going to give up ice cream
and pumpkin pie. Next year, next year.
Well, next year is here, and I’m
making a plan and sticking to it. No more “tomorrows,” no more
“next times.” Welcome to 2004!
Malisa Uchida is a graduate of Boston
University. She now reports news and traffic on the “Lanai
& Augie Morning Show” (Island 98.5 FM), as well as producing
“The Mike Buck Show” (KHVH 830 AM). She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org