“We have been persuaded to……

Spend money we don’t have

On things we don’t need

To create impressions that won’t last

On people we don’t care about”

Tim Jackson~

Black Friday has come and gone. Cyber Monday deals are over. We have already seen the news reports of the many people who opted to camp out on the street to await Thanksgiving Day “deals” with many major retailers and have heard about the women willing to pepper spray her fellow shoppers in what law enforcement called “competitive shopping” – are you kidding! Maybe a few of these shoppers should take a moment to read the Tim Jackson quote above.

This quote was the core of my seasonal commentary to clients last year – and this year I once again believe it bears repeating. Who is Tim Jackson? A good friend of mine had sent me a web link to a presentation given at a TED conference. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and is a non-profit devoted to “ideas worth spreading”. The organization holds conferences all over the world. Tim Jackson presented at the July 2010 TEDGLOBAL Conference and has authored a controversial and groundbreaking book, Prosperity Without Growth, which examines the economic structure and social logic of consumerism.

Ahhhh, consumerism…this time of year causes a good deal of financial stress as many people feel overwhelmed by the season’s obligations. Nevertheless, we American consumers like to enjoy the holiday season and history has shown that many of us spend money we don’t have. Is it to buy things we don’t need, to create impressions that won’t last, on people we don’t care about? Is that the case for you – does Tim Jackson’s quote land too close to home? Then maybe this is the year that you reassess what the season is about for you.

If finances are difficult and you are feeling strapped, let go of any guilt you may feel for not living up to “self-created expectations”. This holiday season give yourself permission to spend only what you can reasonably afford. It is the people that you DO care about that will understand the most and they do not expect or want you to overextend yourself financially. Even if you can well afford your holiday spending budget, consider making smaller more meaningful purchases and look to local business owners for interesting gift ideas. Most recently the nation supported local businesses on Small Business Saturday. Consider making more or all your purchases at these local small businesses. They will appreciate your patronage and you will be making an impact in your own community.

So as you prepare to complete your gift list and before you step foot in any store, say to yourself the words of Tim Jackson. Hopefully, you will spend money you can afford, on things that are truly needed, which will leave a cherished impression, on people you care about. Doing so may allow you to enjoy your holiday season and begin the New Year with a better financial outlook.

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

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