December is not even upon us, but according to retailers like Starbucks and Target, chestnuts should be roasting on an open fire and six geese should be laying:
It feels like we fell asleep Halloween night and when awakened Holiday decor slid up in these stores like an unsolicited DM from someone on Instagram. Black Friday, as we know it, received its moniker in the 1960s after Philadelphia police officers and bus drivers griped of congested streets from Holiday shoppers. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, in 2017 the average shopper spent an average of $335.47 during the five-day period. Depending on your household, spending $335.47may seem insignificant or way out of your league. Let’s play a short game of “How far does $335.47 go”:
1. Towards a car payment. According to Experian, the average used car payment in 2014 was $352.
2. Towards a student loan payment. The average monthly payment is $280.
3. Towards a credit card payment. The average US household owes $16,000, counting only those households carrying debt.
4. Towards an emergency fund: the average American has little or NO SAVINGS! This is not to shame or condemn you. We must know and do better, so that we are not out in these cyber streets spending money, when we cannot even save ourselves from financial inconveniences and emergencies.
Listen, I want you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, however not at the expense of making unwise, irresponsible short-term decisions that affect your long-term plans. Trust me, I have my eye on a cute pair of this and a cute pair of that. Here is a quick guide to navigate the holidays deals while dumping debt and spending without control.
JUST DON’T SHOP
: G A S P :
“Did she just say not to go shopping?”
“She is taking this too far”
“You’re gonna die owing somebody. Might as well enjoy life”
I mean you may do as you please, however, understand every non-essential purchase, when you’re in debt is quite honestly a step away from your financial goals. Got an enticing offer in your inbox, don’t click the link. Don’t even tempt yourself. Is that 42in TV is working just fine at home? Then don’t worry ‘bout Target selling a 50in for $199 (Totally made up that price. Don’t go there looking for a $199 TV and get mad at me). Pay the price now of self-denial. There will come a day, when the word “no” to yourself won’t seem so prevalent in your vocabulary.
“Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else”- Dave Ramsey
SET A BUDGET
I am a realist and I know some of y'all will still hit the ground running towards the gates of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so if you must shop, STICK TO A BUDGET. If you must indulge, puh-lease make sure you’ve paid your bills. Duh right?!
Create a list of your recipients, even if it’s just you, not judging.
Grab every coupon code none to man, then spend within the confines of those parameters. Remember, every unplanned expense pushes you further from your financial goals. Don’t have a budget? Click here to grab mine for FREE99.
As a consumer, you will typically spend 12-18% more than if you carry cash. Scott Rick, Ph.D says “credit helps to anesthetize the pain of paying”. What does this mean? There is a disconnect while swiping a card (even if it is a debit card) as opposed to handing over the cashier PHYSICAL CASH. So with the being said, I recommend literally withdrawing cash from your bank’s ATM, according to your pre-determined, budgeted gift amount. Yea, just like grandma did when she carried it around in an envelope. Ancient, perhaps. Effective, absolutely. Once the cash is gone, SO ARE YOU! Do not open up a credit card, and stay away from those in-store “offers”.
Consumerism unfortunately has a grip on American holidays. Don’t be its potential victim. Ask God for the wisdom, contentment, and self-control NEEDED to spend and give wisely. Also consider this: is it truly a gift to someone, at the expense of your own financial irresponsibility. Is it really a gift to the recipient, if received out of obligation. Gifts are truly gifts when you do not compromise your financial matters. Remember what The Word says in regards to God’s blessings: “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it”-Proverbs 10:22.
Keep your eye on the prize. (Cue the Rocky theme song)
Stay the course.