Black Friday: An embarrassing American traditionNovember 23rd, 2012
As most of us recover from our gluttonous evenings, American consumers are crowding the aisles of every department store taking advantage of savings on trendy gifts like TV’s and iPads. I can personally say I’ve never taken part in this tradition and as popular as it may be there is nothing attractive about getting up earlier than I would for a work day to take part in this:
I experience a facepalm every time this messy day approaches. Doesn’t it seem like the sales start earlier and earlier every year? Anything for an excuse to get people buying a bunch of stuff you can’t afford, I suppose. Well before we point the finger at the obnoxious consumers (who are just that on days like this), let’s talk about why these people are even behaving this way to begin with.
The holiday season has been one to jumpstart a slow economy. Most families find some way to purchase gifts for loved ones, even if that means financing the holiday. Why should they refuse such offers as “no money down, no interest for 12 months”? The government gets away with it every time they spend money, because the US is over 15 trillion dollars in debt and that means there is no money to spend. The US, much like the individual should be cutting their spending, rather than bulking it up through loans. That message doesn’t seem to resonate well around our entitlement system. The average american has 2 TV’s in their home, while at the same time over 50% of the population collects some sort of government check each month for living expenses.
In our current culture we must have things we want and assume to get the things we need. A wise man once said that “If you live above your means, your destined to leave beneath them.” On a day like today I’d like to remind those of you who have the slightest bit of knowledge into the world of economics, that being lured into a store with big sale signs is a step in the wrong direction. Get creative this holiday season…spend what you can and spend wisely. I understand we all want to enjoy the traditions of gift giving and children talking about Santa’s “naughty and nice” list, but as individuals we can take back some of the responsibility of our finances.
Here are some ideas for you that will help you skip the ugly lines and attitudes and still enjoy your holidays:
- Write a nice letter
- Take nice photos (it’s usually $.10/piece to print out nice pictures)
- Reserve nights with your family to spend time together
- Purchase gifts that can be helpful in the long run
- Teach your children about gardening
- Cook together!
- Make coupon books for car washes, foot rubs, etc.
- Silver, gold, and other commodities that will retain their value for a better day
I just wanted to help out and ease up some of the stress that comes along with this crazy day. Not everyone NEEDS an iPhone 5, especially if you’re having trouble paying your bills on time. Let’s get smart with our money and quit taking cues from the government. We know they have a bottomless resource of paper from the Federal Reserve. Soon enough that paper will be worthless, but some of the gifts I listed above will not be…