With stores starting their Christmas sales on Thanksgiving, Black “Friday” has become a misnomer. That a day of spending and buying is slowly taking over a day of thanks is perhaps emblematic of the poor financial habits that seem to afflict so many. We debit and charge. We buy and acquire. We upgrade and replace. A day for buying more stuff is seeping into our day of giving thanks for what we have.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with shopping on Black Friday or buying things in general. However, the frenzy of Black Friday shopping might be symptomatic of an unhealthy attitude towards money. Continual buying and spending when we don’t need – or worse, can’t afford – affects our ability to save, limits the money we have for the things we need, and often leads to debt.
So what if instead of shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, we spent the holiday sincerely giving thanks for what we have? And what if we did that every day – could it impact our finances? Would we hold onto what we have as long as we could instead of replacing and upgrading as soon as possible? Would we buy less and save more?
Carl Richards, a Certified Financial Planner® who writes for the New York Times and Morningstar, shared similar thoughts in a recent newsletter. He challenged readers to find at least one thing to be thankful for everyday leading up to Thanksgiving and consider how this may affect them:
“…I’ve become more convinced over time that many of our most common financial problems stem from too little awareness about what we already have. Part of building that awareness includes showing gratitude.
If we can’t appreciate what we have, it’s that much more difficult to avoid thinking we need more… There are so few moments anymore when we’re actively encouraged to show appreciation. But what possibilities become apparent to us when we do?”*
In our attempts to control our desires to acquire and urges to spend, being thankful for what we have can play an integral part in our success. And so we encourage you to take up Richards’ challenge and come up with at least one thing in your life that you are thankful for each day until Thanksgiving. Or Christmas. Or every day from here on out. You may see positive changes in your finances and in your life in general.
*Behavior Gap: What Gratitude Can Reveal, 11/6/2014
Covenant Trust Company is a financial services company owned by the Evangelical Covenant Church and its affiliates. Our services are available to anyone in need of asset management, retirement planning, legacy planning, gift planning, or trust services. In addition, we seek opportunities to encourage and promote healthy financial habits, and keep a personal finance blog at www.covtrustblog.com.