Red-Christmas-OrnamentSince there are about 40 days until Christmas, this is not going to be the only post about this. That’s why it’s marked as Part 1.

I have three kids and need to buy for Christmas.

One thing my two older girls are going to get is cell phones.

I know, right, you think I’m kidding. Or maybe you think I’m horribly irresponsible.

The thing is, I took a risk a couple months ago and spent $99 a piece for a couple of FreedomPop cell phones. They come with free service (200 talk minutes, 500 text messages, and 500MB data) forever and ever. The call quality turned out to be complete crap I can’t rely on, free or not. But you know what it is good enough for? The┬ákids. I now have free emergency cell service and two phones. That’s one Christmas present taken care of.

Luckily, it’s a pretty big damn present.

My big problem is how to determine my budget for the holidays. Is it better to get them five small gifts or one bigger gift?

I don’t know how much money I have to spend for Christmas because if I did a budget it would be ZERO for Christmas and the rest for bills and savings. I tried to save in advance, really I did, but then the weather got sketchy and when a union man isn’t working he’s not getting paid. That means my Christmas budget turned into a laughable moment of optimism instead of a reality I could bank on.

So I basically have to figure out how much to spend and then somehow make it all up with the tax return. I rely on that tax return and someday I hope I’m in a place where I’m not relying on a tax return. I’d love to be able to put that tax return into the college fund or toward a big debt like the student loans. Anything that’s not something I already spent.

It fels too much like gambling for my liking.

Maybe if I was smarter or more dedicated I could pop my numbers into the tax preparation software I use and get an idea of what the return will look like. Maybe if I was just a little less tired…

In the meantime, in order to quell my panic, I applied for and got an amazon store credit card.

Because goodness knows that for a smart person, I make some very unsmart decisions sometimes. A woman focused on being debt-free getting a credit card. Dumb with a capital D.