I can’t tell you how tired I am of hearing the words ‘Black Friday’! To me it says ‘buy something, buy something, buy something ……. Please, buy something, anything, please’. I have had endless emails all saying it’s Black Friday, spend some money with us.
It hardly needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. A bargain is not a bargain unless you will use it/need it. The siren song of the marketeers is a masterful thing, creating strong desires and powerful ‘needs’. Advertising agencies are paid astronomical amounts for their wiles because it works. We all like to think we are immune to advertising messages, me included, but, sadly, we’re not.
It is best for everyone, living on a budget or not, to step back from the hoopla and reflect if this thing really will improve your life, or if it is just a created bit of ephemera whose only visible effect is a dent on your credit card / unwanted clutter to later be de-cluttered / gets broken and thrown away in 5 minutes flat.
I used to feel a very strong need to buy everyone something for Christmas. Sweating over the people difficult to buy for, desperate to find them something acceptable, anything to wrap up. But really, what was I doing? It was a self imposed trial. I absolutely love the festive season, the intimacy, the fun, the get togethers, the way everyone is more open to being genial. And as Sue says on her blog, the most important things in life aren’t things.
Most children, and your own parents, want nothing more than to spend time with you and have fun together. This too can cost a lot of money, but doesn’t have too. There are many ways you can gift time and attention. A special day out, just you and them, one at a time, or maybe with parents, both at once. Home made vouchers for anything you can think of that they would enjoy, a cake a month for a year, a massage, babysitting for tired young parents, a home made afternoon tea with your old mum, breakfast in bed every Sunday for a period. That kind of thing. Personal, loving, kind. Talk with them, smile with them, listen to them.
There will be a lot more of this pressure to buy over the next few weeks as Christmas approaches, lots and lots of pressure to buy the latest ‘must have’, the indispensable toy of the year that you simply must procure, the extensive (and expensive) provisions that shows how much you love your family. Consume, at all costs.
Indulge in the annual spend fest by all means if that’s your thing, I did, for a great many years, and enjoyed every minute. Sometimes I overdid it and had to pay off the credit cards right through to the summer. It’s not worth that. If you’re living on a tight budget, it’s very tempting and very easy to hole the budget below the waterline at this time of year.
If you want to gift, and don’t want to spend a lot, have a little Google, there are thousands of ideas out there for no-cost or low-cost gifting ideas. There are lots in the archives here too. The ThriftyLesley Pinterest boards have lots of ideas too.
There are some ideas from last year on how to eat during the festive week without spending a fortune, roughly £1.30 last year, probably a bit more now.
Over the weekend I am working on another version for this year, will probably be £10 per person for the week. Roast pork, roasties, braised red cabbage and roast parsnips for lunch on the 25th. Lots of porky leftovers, mince pies and other festive flavours.
More on that in a bit