Self-control in the season of spending

I’ve been debating whether this is the right time for last week’s post, and this one.  This is Christmas time.   Who wants to hear about stillness and self-control at this time of year?  Sounds almost Grinch-like, eh?  Oh, what the heck!  Here goes.  If nothing else, I’ll preach to myself.

I got my credit card bill for November.  Bear in mind that I start Christmas shopping around September.  I figure if the month ends in “ber”, I better get to gettin’.  Hate Black Friday and all of that foolery anyway.  Sorry!

So, I get The Bill.  I knew it was going to be steep, so I repeated my mantra, while peeking through covered eyes at the account summary:  “If you’re woman enough to spend it, you’re woman enough to pay for it!”  

I guess I’m a whole lotta woman then! 🙂

Thing is, most of the money wasn’t spent on me.  Perhaps one third.  But it was spent, whether on gifts or  donations or routine me-stuff.  And the spending can’t be undone without much grief.  Maybe I should follow my girl Michelle’s advice and put my credit card on ice?

Every year I say that I will pare back on spending at Christmas.  I never ever end up in debt, but every year I feel like things get a tad more out of control.  More names on the list, more last-minute additions, more better-safe-than-sorry purchases.

Did I mention that I head home to the Caribbean at Christmas?  I try my level best not to look like a higgler at the airport with beaucoup baggage and the attendant drama.  Not sure of my rate of success.  But the trip home definitely adds to my Christmas spending “situation.”

The whole scenario reeks of Sisyphus.  I roll the rock of Christmas spending up the hill, and over the next few months it rolls right back down in time for me to begin another heave-ho in September.  What is up with that?

But it’s not quite as bleak a scenario as I make it out to be.  I do have the gift of self-control.  We all do.  

Christians love to rattle off the list of the nine fruits of the Spirit and breathlessly come to the end with (drum roll, please):  Self-control!   The Holy Spirit’s been giving me little nudges about that last fruit dangling from the end of the list.  About the entire list of fruit of the Spirit, truth be told.  

Self-control has always been a major prayer point for me.  I find myself constantly presenting to God the self-control trifecta (thoughts, eating, and money), but spending tends to take precedence at this time of year.

So I look at my bill, reconcile it with my receipts (yes, I’m that anal) and pay the piper, better known as Mr. VISA.  And I ask God for the wisdom, discernment, and self-control to do better this month and for workable strategies that won’t leave me like a spooked six-year-old watching a scary movie in the dark when I get my December bill.

Is self-control a particularly fierce challenge for you at this time of year?  What do you do to make sure that Christmas spending doesn’t get the best of you?  


  1. I try every year to start shopping early for Christmas. It is so easy to overspend. I try to pay cash whenever I can. Thanks for linking up to Traffic Jam Weekend, Alison.
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted..How Your Pinterest Boards Can Attract AttentionMy Profile

    • That’s wise to pay cash. I do my card because I get points for every dollar spent, and Christmas shopping points add up and can be used for trips back home. But I try to keep within a reasonable limit for gifts. I go a little overboard for my mom but hey, she’s my mom!! LOL!
      Alison recently posted..Three things I know to be trueMy Profile

  2. I am in denial! I don’t want to start Christmas shopping. I always overspend. Always.

    • Welcome to the club, Herchel! I don’t go way overboard, but I always see something extra that someone would appreciate. I figure, if I can, I should. It’ll make them happy!

  3. I haven’t even started my shopping! Oh boy this could be good or bad. I try my best to have a plan. And a spending limit for each person. It’s difficult because you want to be thoughtful but also not go overboard. Hard to balance! Stopping by from SITS Saturday. I have a special project on my blog. Hope you will stop by and visit!
    Nicole recently posted..Thanks And Giving ProjectMy Profile

    • It truly is hard to balance,Nicole. Start soon, however! The later you wait, the easier it is to spend more because you’re short on time. I’ll be visiting your site shortly.

      Take care


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