The Holidays Are Coming! Cha-Ching!
Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, it is time to officially ring (the cash registers) in the Holiday (Shopping) Season.
Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, it is time to officially ring (the cash registers) in the Holiday (Shopping) Season. And retailers can’t wait. For some retailers, the fourth-quarter shopping season brings in an average of about ⅓ of their entire annual revenue.
Apparently, neither can shoppers. According to a survey by Mckinsey.com, fourth-quarter consumer spending in 2021 is likely to rise 7 percent over 2020 and 9 percent compared with 2019, driven by consumers across the income and age spectrum (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/us-holiday-shopping-2021-strong-demand-meets-big-challenges). This means there are a lot of pent-up consumers, waiting to cash in on great deals. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of holiday shopping. My favorite part is when I buy stocking stuffers for our children. I get so excited by seeing all the cool flashing lights and remote control gadgets that I want one of each, and ultimately spend more than I need to - because it’s Christmas.
Our argument is that it’s Christmas is a way of forgiving, or enabling our spending frenzy. And it is a frenzy. It’s like drinking alcohol, eating a chocolate bar, or gambling. That sensation of “ hey, that's a great deal and I have to get it now,” increases the dopamine in our body, which gives us that automatic rush we get when we make that purchase. And then the package is opened, the rush of excitement kicks in, and it’s over. That’s all folks!
Just like any immediate rush, the excitement of everything happening all at once in the next six weeks can cause an amazing rush of joy, or create a stressed-out ball of anxious disappointment. So here are some pitfalls that can wipe out a small nest egg, and how to avoid it.
Watch for Incentives to spend money, not so you can spend more, but to look and pause to determine whether or not it suits your needs, or is truly worthwhile for someone you love. Incentives are great if it matches what you are looking for. Many of us get caught up in purchasing something just because it’s on sale and then years later that battery-operated singing bass you just had to purchase is still in the box unused. Pre-plan, knowing the temptation is real, and stick to your list. In fact, go shopping with an accountability buddy, and shop each other’s list (as long as the item you were going to purchase for your friend isn’t on that list you just gave them). That gives you an opportunity to spend time with a good friend and stay within your means.
Pride can be expensive when you are trying to be the biggest and best on the block. If your house can be seen from the intergalactic space station, then there is a good chance it’s a bit too much. The same can be said for hosting holiday events. It’s healthy to be proud of your home and want to put it in the best light possible, but is your intent to be the biggest and best and outdo your neighbor, or is your intent to show your festive appreciation for the season?
Peer Influence can derail your holiday spirits, especially with social media so readily available in any format these days. All we have to do is swipe right and see all our friends having a great time overindulging at the latest social gathering. Of course you want to be that happy, so you seek out your friends and catch up with them to follow the herd. You return after drinking, eating, and spending way more than what you otherwise would have, and the credit card bill will come each month thereafter to remind you what a great time you had. Keep this from happening by checking your feelings. Are you jealous? Do you feel depressed? Or are you genuinely happy for your friends that they are having fun? The hardest word to learn and use in the English language is “no,” because we don’t want to be seen as not part of the group. Having the confidence to decide what’s right for you, and not others will help you reduce your anxiety and depression this holiday season, and keep your bank account healthy too.
Setting clear boundaries, knowing what to say no to, and having someone close to hold you accountable will help to keep you falling into that Holiday Spending Frenzy and keep the stress, anxiety, and depression at bay so you can receive the joy, peace, and love that the Holiday Season offers.
All my best to you this Christmas. Feel free to reach out to talk.