Spending During the Holidays

The masses head out the door for the latest and greatest bargains and deals on Black Friday. Then comes Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales. Some people budget for what they will be spending during the Holidays, but most don’t.  Sales can make you overspend.

Keff Kreisler and Dan Ariety have co-authored a book titled, “Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter. Their philosophy is that assessing value on something should be based on the pleasure you receive from the item you purchase and not on the cost.  When you spend $50; you spend $50 no matter what the savings, the markdown, or the discount. How we budget our money, the ease of payment, the list price, how fair the price seems to be, our expectations about a purchase, and whether we already own something does not affect value.Kreisler and Ariety point out, “Buying a $60 shirt marked down from $100 isn’t saving $40; it’s spending $60.” This is certainly a different mindset in our culture.

I am one who enjoys giving gifts.  I shop throughout the year for things I believe people will appreciate.  Consignment stores, discount stores, and online are places I make my purchases. Generally, I stay away from the larger department stores and try to be thrifty, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g my dollars as far as I can. The question is, am I being lured into these stores or online because of cost or because of value?

During the Holiday season, we tend to splurge more without contemplating what our credit card bill will look like in January. I encourage you not to be penny wise and pound foolish which means careful and economical in small matters while being wasteful or extravagant in large ones. What you think you may have saved in the sale will be added back in incremental credit card payments.

When it comes to gift giving, consider Compassion International, Heifer International, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, your place of worship, an animal rescue shelter, a local shelter or other charitable organization that is meaningful to you or to the person in whose name you will give a donation as a gift.  Ponder the option of re-gifting, passing along a family heirloom to the next generation along with the history of the item.  Share with them the sentimental value and allow them to grow in the knowledge of your ancestry. These type gifts can be profoundly meaningful.

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas.


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