Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cyber Month Cynic


There's a curious similarity between Cyber Monday and plain old Tuesday. In fact, Tuesday feels so similar to Cyber Monday that I suggest we go ahead and admit that we are at the start of a full-on Cyber Month. December is all about retailers getting every last dollar we have before Christmas arrives. The push to sell, sell, sell doesn't lessen to any measurable degree and you will kick yourself when you see the same deal or better in the coming weeks. Let's expose Cyber Monday for what it always was - it's not a real part of Christmas celebrations. 

Be on the lookout; there are other ways to get your hard earned bucks, too. 

Many people struggle with finances at this time of year. How about the credit card companies that invite you to skip the December payment? Happily, I will tell you I've never paid one cent of interest on a credit card, so they're not getting it in December, either. 

It seems that the next line of consumer attack goes straight for those who have trouble controlling that credit card and they're the last people in the world that need Christmas debt. As a public service, let me say to those folks: THERE IS A TOMORROW and it's filled with bills and buyer's remorse as you realize that little Johnny didn't really want or need that life-like Zoomer Dino Bonekruncher Spin Master that put you back $169. 

Wasn't Christmas simpler when you sat on a chubby guys lap and told him your one wish and then let him handle it? I love that kind of oblivion; I could make it my home for the holidays.

It's not just the expense, though. Gift giving has become complicated. You can buy your Granny a FitnessBitness Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker 2000, but she knows when she is active and when she sleeps, she doesn't care about BMI, IBM or BMW - she's still going do her thing. I take that back: she will spend a little time bragging that you got her some electronic bracelet thing that she doesn't turn on because she doesn't want to waste it or "use it up." 

I can't even begin to figure out what all my nieces and nephews have or don't have. 

Let's be different and not follow the lemmings.

Maybe today could be called "Take-A-Breath Tuesday" and we can celebrate by breathing in through the mouth and slowly out through the nose. Having completed that action, now consider what you want to purchase for whom - and why. Reel in that spend-a-thon. If it feels like "I should" instead of "I want to," just skip it. Think about the people in your life that really matter (the ones who wouldn't think less of you if you didn't give them a gift, by the way). And remember, the relatives that didn't call all year won't wake up and decide you're the new favorite just because you gave them a gift. Don't gift for validation. 

There was a time (insert urban legend here) when a plaster cast of your first grade hand would make a Grandma cry with joy when you gave it to her. Maybe my mother would get a kick out of that this year. My hand isn't all that big. I've got plaster. My flipside hand cast would find it's way to her wall; she's sentimental. 

You know who would really appreciate your Christmas dollar? People in need. Send something their way or volunteer. It'll be win-win.

Squash that Cyber Month. Bring on Christmas!

20 comments:

  1. We have long since QUIT holiday shopping!! Bud & I have everything we want--or we just buy it for ourselves. We give our kids & grandkids cash. It's the perfect color (they all like green) & though they may want a larger size, they have to get a little older for that. We give substantially to charity all year. I can't handle the crowds & long lines any more!!

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    1. I hate the crowds, too. This year, I'm focusing on what I want to buy for whom and I'm eliminating all the little gifts I send to people at the holidays who I never hear from all year. I'm doing a few surprise gifts for old friends that I consistently hear from - I thought that would be fun. And we always volunteer and give.

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  2. I finished my Christmas shopping. I do all of it in one or two days, mostly online, to get it out of the way. Now I just have to do cards this weekend.

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    1. You're consistently smarter than the majority. :-)

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  3. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    It is I. (It is Me?) Uh...here I am...Shady Dee-light,
    the poster boy for blog friend buyer's remorse! :)

    You wrote:

    << In fact, Tuesday feels so similar to Cyber Monday >>

    Every day feels the same now that I'm working my way through a huge batch of turkey soup!

    My family's Christmas credo is "Go big or go home." Imagine being able to boast that you gave someone a whopping $10,000 for Christmas. I can and I do - every year! Here's how it works. I ceremoniously hand $10,000 cash to Mrs. Shady's brother and his family. He pays it forward, giving the $10,000 to another sister's family. They give the ten-thou to another brother and his family and that brother gives the money to yet another of Mrs. Shady's sisters who delights me by greasing my palms with $10,000 cash! Yessum, every Christmas, each and every member of our family experiences the thrill of giving and receiving a large sum of money... and it doesn't cost a cent!

    I agree that this is the time of year when waistlines expand and wallets shrink. People gift extravagantly and for the wrong reasons. They do it to win new love, to buy love from people who withhold it or to reclaim lost love. Kids who get everything they ask for at Christmas become intoxicated by the glut of presents placed in front of them. They hastily flit from one item to the next and before you know it they have lost interest in 90% of the toys, games and gadgets and they are jammed in a closet and forgotten. Some are already broken, crushed under foot during the Christmas morning feeding frenzy. There would be much less waste and much more happiness if we followed your advice and gave to the homeless.

    Happy Tuesday, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. I think I'm liking the Shady Christmas plan. Perhaps I could do a pared down version with a twenty OR Monopoly money. Yeah, that would work great! I'd totally stay on a budget and I could give embarrassingly large sums to all the kids. Add a candy cane and voila! It just smacks of Christmas joy. Fa la la la la la la la la!

      In all honesty, I'm taking my own advice. This is the year I consider each and every gift. Who, what and why.

      Cards only (weaning off) to those who are distant or never responded to gifts in the past with a simple acknowledgement - I don't care about gifts myself, but that is so rude. I'm in the fishducky camp. If I want it, I buy it. Other than restocking my creative supplies, I'm good.

      Missed your blog post yesterday. Have a great day and don't scare me like that. I'm old.

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  4. Haha, I LOVE the part about her not turning the bracelet on because she doesn't want to use it up. We were just talking about that this weekend. My mother-in-law has finally stopped turning her cell phone off in between uses. My husband was saying it makes sense because they were always taught to turn their electronics off to save battery life/power between use.

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    1. There's a whole generation that is naturally frugal! You may recall me telling about my grandmother getting off the ambulance to put on her good slip. Her "go to town" slip! She always had brand new items in her spare bedroom. She was saving it for something special.

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  5. Haha! That was me yesterday for sure. I actually finished all of my Christmas shopping yesterday, which is the first time that's ever happened on December 1st. So I won't need to have a month-long Cyber Monday...especially since I'm broke now. :P

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    1. Bwahahahaha...Chrys, at least you're done. Now, just enjoy!

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  6. Oh I am a Credit Counsellor so I have seen and heard most of it. People have no idea that, if they have a retail card and the interest is an average of 28.8% it will take them 36 years to pay it off if they only pay the minimum. If the interest is 19.5% it will take them, average 22 or so years. People also get into the payday loans-borrow $300 for only $20...that sort of thing. They are evil. People will get them, especially now, to buy gifts. Their next "payday" they have to pay the $320 back or $360 which is usually the case if you borrowed $300. One pays it and then....they must re-borrow because they have to pay rent/mortgage and eat etc... and they can never get off the hamster wheel. These payday loans are on-line too. People need to calm down about the spending. I love Christmas and always buy gifts but I once bought someone a pair of nifty socks and they loved it! I once had $20 only to spend on 3 people and they never noticed that i spent less than $7 on each gift. One can get a nice movie or CD. I saw a nice deer ornament, all sparkly for 69 cents! We do not have to follow the advertising hype and believe that a stocking stuffer is a diamond ring. It can be toothpaste, chocolates, something hand-made. By mid January we are really busy in our office since people are getting the credit card statements in. It is a shame that people do not plan and set money aside monthly for Christmas. Christmas comes every year and unless you do not celebrate it or choose to buy no gifts at all there is still an expense. Christmas expenses are gifts, decor, lights, tree and food! One usually spends more on food due to the entertaining. If we budget, we can have the money when it comes time for Christmas spending and it will not deplete one's bank account or get into debt. I had one lady who spent over $5,000 for Christmas for her children. How did she do this? She decided not to pay her mortgage for 3 months!! The bank was now doing a power of sale and she thought I could stop this and I could not so she lost her home just because she wanted to buy all the gifts for her kids who were all under the age of 8!! I could go on and on as this is my forte but I agree with you in all that you say and added a bit more:)

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    1. Every tale I could tell to illustrate your points might expose someone I know, ha ha. Or, ten people I know. Some folks just don't get it. We love a budget and put away for Christmas every month. Then, we don't sweat it and are able to pay attention to the fun stuff.

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  7. I have learned, slowly but surely, that most people don't like the gifts I give them. Not even the gifts I toil over for months. So now I give books to a few beloved friends, whatever my kids need to my kids, and gift cards or food to other people. No way will I go shopping. Christmas will be (I hope) a quiet day at home with Willy Dunne Wooters and a turkey. WDW loves my fake Christmas tree and its pretty lights. He doesn't want anything fancy. He won't accept gifts. Last year he thanked Favorite Young Man for not getting him a gift, and FYM thanked WDW for not getting him a gift. Some things work out perfectly.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That does sound like perfection! I think I like WDW and FYM more and more.

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    2. They sometimes flabbergast each other, but they have pleasant conversations when we get together.

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  8. Great tips Cheryl since credit cards can be a money pit.

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    1. ...a deep...dark...bottomless pit.

      And yet, so many fall in!

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  9. Nearly everyone I know is impossible to buy for - even my daughter. She's 11, for crying out loud! She should want something!!! I suppose I'm proud of her for it on some level...

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    1. Go on...be proud. You're suppose to be.

      There will be many, many levels of "impossibilities" before she grows up. Eleven is a nice age.

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    2. "Suppose" to be? Can I ever write without a typo? The answer: NO.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo