Well, I resisted for as long as I possibly could but my mind is already starting to drift to Christmas. And with that, I’ve begun to notice something that is turning into a huge pet peeve of mine regarding Christmas commercials. I first noticed it last year. It seems that just about every discount retailer is telling consumers that they will save so much money that they can buy “even more!” But in what world does that make sense? The whole point of shopping at a discount store is so that you can save money. So for instance, say a shopper is spending a total of $700 on Christmas gifts (that sounds pretty steep but Google says it’s the average). Now imagine that you go to a discount store and instead of spending $700, you are able to save a bit and you only spend $500. Why would you think, “Gee, I saved $200 that I thought I was going to spend, I may as well spend it anyway and get more junk instead of paying off my credit card debt/putting the money into my savings.”
I know, I know, the economy is bad and buying stuff helps everyone but so does paying off debt and/or saving your pennies so that you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. I’m no money expert but I did grow up with frugal parents. I never wanted for anything but I was quite aware while growing up that our Christmases were pretty tame compared to other families. And at the end of the day, I’m really thankful for that. I always managed to get the one dream toy that I wanted. In more recent years my focus around Christmas has been more on spending time with family, attending the special candlelight service at church and cooking up an incredible meal for the whole family to enjoy. And even though we all love getting presents, I have to say that I am truly thankful that my parents taught me the value of saving and planning rather than acquiring a bunch of stuff that I probably won’t use in ten years.