Author Topic: Annual Christmas Windfalls?  (Read 2015 times)

realityinabox

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Annual Christmas Windfalls?
« on: December 23, 2015, 09:36:24 AM »
Every year for Christmas I end up getting a large amount of cash from various family members.  I always end up feeling conflicted about how best to use the money.  I'm a frugal type of guy.  I don't like making large purchases, and even when I buy things that I know I'll use and enjoy, I still tend to have buyer's remorse about spending the cash.  I know that stuff won't make me happy, I've proven this to myself time and again, so when I do spent large amounts of money of stuff, I always feel conflicted.

I don't like the way that my brain functions when I have that extra money sitting in the bank account post-holidays.  I get into consumer mode, where I feel like I need to spend it, either to honor the wishes of the givers, or simply to get rid of it so it will stop weighing on my thoughts.  I end up spending far too much time thinking about the things I could buy, weighing options, etc.  It starts to consume my thoughts. 

10 months out of the year, I am good at not spending money on frivolous things because I can simply tell myself "it's not in the budget" and be completely content with that.  Except, for a couple of months a year, it is in the budget.  Part of me wants to just give it to charity and be done with it, but another part of me doesn't want to part with it.  I don't like the greedy part of myself, even though I want to give in to it.

This year I'm trying to decide between buying wood working tools (a new hobby of mine), or more/nicer bike commuting gear (some merino layers and better lights for the winter, especially), but the time spent trying to decide what to buy, and how best to maximize the money is starting to drive me crazy.

How do you handle these sorts of windfalls? 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 12:03:24 PM by realityinabox »

norabird

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Re: Annual Christmas Windfalls?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2015, 09:45:24 AM »
Can you donate at least some of the money? You clearly don't need it, but others do, and it would give you a warm fuzzy feeling instead of a sense of let down.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Annual Christmas Windfalls?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2015, 09:49:11 AM »
This is an easy one: 
Put those funds IMMEDIATELY into an investment / retirement account - use it to reach your max IRA contribution amount, or if you've already reached that, add to your backdoor IRA, or taxable account.  The trick is to transfer it immediately to your brokerage account, and make the necessary investments once the funds are there.

Think of it as "Paying yourself first" - you're paying your future / Financially-Independent self.

AgentCooper

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Re: Annual Christmas Windfalls?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2015, 09:49:46 AM »
Retirement account.

Trudie

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Re: Annual Christmas Windfalls?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2015, 01:12:54 PM »
This is an easy one: 
Put those funds IMMEDIATELY into an investment / retirement account - use it to reach your max IRA contribution amount, or if you've already reached that, add to your backdoor IRA, or taxable account.  The trick is to transfer it immediately to your brokerage account, and make the necessary investments once the funds are there.

Think of it as "Paying yourself first" - you're paying your future / Financially-Independent self.

Ditto.  Put it to work right away.  Don't stress about it anymore.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Annual Christmas Windfalls?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2015, 01:41:44 PM »
Yep, windfalls are just more food for the stache. I'll honor the givers when I walk away from my job to be a full-time parent to my children and a full time husband to my wife.  If I really need something (i.e. better lights for the bike) I'll do a bit of research and buy it.  I do notice that I can get a bit of research fatigue if I spend too much time on reading reviews etc. which sounds similar to what you are experiencing.  I do best if I just wait until I have a specific need for an item, then then purchase it.  Upgrading slightly suboptimal but still adequate items kills me as it depletes cash and leaves me with excess items I either need to store, sell, or dispose of.