Sometimes We Need a Kick in the Pants In Order to Take Action!

Have you ever known someone who knows he (or she) needs to make a change in some habit or aspect of life, but just doesn’t get around to it?  You know, something that clearly could be improved upon, but procrastination or flat out denial takes hold and freezes the person into inaction?

Well, you now know at least one person who’s done that: me!

Okay, I’m sure you know others who have put things off.  Heck, I’d be surprised if you’ve never done this.  Whether it’s money, health, or relationships – which are all key parts of life – there has to be something to be improved upon that isn’t getting done.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as we’re human after all.  Nobody is perfect!

I’ll share with you two example of how this has happened to me.  Both from last year where I took action, and one I’m just now processing.

Last Year – The Soda Habit

First off, confession time here.  I had previously posted a few times about my attempts to give up caffeine.  Specifically my interest was really in doing away with drinking soda, which just didn’t seem like the healthiest choice for me. 

So, I had a few periods of time where I gave it up completely, only to get back into it later.  After having some successes a few years ago that I wrote about, I then got back into the habit of drinking diet soda.  To the point where I was having one every day.  Every single day. Yet again.

This began to take toll on my teeth, to my surprise.  I had a root canal and ultimately ended up getting a wisdom tooth removed due to decay.  It could have stayed otherwise, but the decay was there.  It was like these problems just came out of nowhere in a few years, but it goes to show the impact that a bad habit could potentially have.

I had gotten so accustomed to drinking a soda a day, that I even had one the day before getting my tooth pulled.  The irony of that! 

After dealing with having a wisdom tooth pulled, I decided: that’s it! No more of this stuff.  I mean, I had to be put under IV sedation to get the wisdom tooth pulled, and while the whole experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was still dental surgery. A tooth was permanently gone, which got me wondering what could happen next if I kept up the habit.

Since that time, over 8 months ago as of this writing, I haven’t had a single soda.  That experience of getting a tooth pulled was enough of a kick in the pants for me to wake up and actually make a change.  I don’t think it will be necessary for me to be militant about this in the future to the point of never having one again, but at least I know it can be done because I succeeded.

This Year – Losing Weight

I had an instance recently where I looked at a picture from about a decade ago, when my daughter was really young.  I can’t believe how fast kids grow up, and how different they look from being mere infants to pre-teens.

What I also noticed about the picture is how I looked different then.  Have to say, I looked good back then! Now? Well, not so much in my opinion.  I just look heavier, and somewhat different now than I did in that picture.  Just to be sure, I looked a few other photos and yes, I look kind of different now versus then.

I brought this up with a few people with whom I’m close, and actually got some candid feedback.  The straight up, unsolicited comments were that I really needed to lose 15 pounds to get back to where I was.  These were two separate conversations with two folks that I’m sure hadn’t spoken at all about me, since they rarely see each other.  Independent observations and feedback. But actually, I think they were letting me off easy.

Nonetheless, what a kick in pants!  Or teeth, maybe even gut (but now I have a few extra pounds so maybe not, haha). Anyway, not only did I notice this difference in me, but clearly others did too.  It’s still kind of jarring to hear, even I know it.  Truth be told, I think I should lose more like 25 pounds to get back to where I was a decade ago. Back then, I was physically fit. But just a couple of pounds per year can add up over the course of a decade.

I mean, I’ve lost like 10 pounds before when I had to, but that was years ago.  When young and in good shape anyway, it can take just a month and you’re back in business! When older, it’s a different ballgame it seems.

The next step is to actually do something about it.  By writing about this, I’m making myself accountable.

Final Thoughts

One can see how people sometimes just need a big time reality check to take action.  Usually I talk about money here, and clearly this can apply in that arena.  I’m sure people have their own tipping points that cause them to finally do something about their money.  Maybe it’s a bounced check, lost job, or even something like losing a home. 

Whatever it is, whether money, relationships, or health/fitness as in my case – sometimes we just need that swift kick to get us past inertia and toward action.  It worked for me with the soda.  Plus, I’ve successfully handled other situations in the past. This seems different though…I’m hoping I can apply the same principles to do this!

My Questions for You

Have you ever gotten a big wake up call in some area of life?  If so, what was it and how did you handle it?

Any suggestions for how to approach my quest?  Please do share.

Crazy Prices at the Grocery Store: The Citrus Example

tangerinesI happen to like freshly squeezed orange juice.  There is something about it that’s so refreshing and energizing, particularly on a warm day.  The sugar seems to go to work right away, which is precisely why I rarely get it anymore.  Oh, and it’s expensive to buy and takes some effort to make at home.

With that in mind, it’s only a rare treat for me to get fresh squeezed juice.  It might have been around 6 months since the last time.  This is why at the grocery store recently, a container of what looked like orange juice caught my eye.  As it turns out it was actually tangerine juice. Close enough, I thought.

It wasn’t freshly squeezed on the spot, but I wanted to get it anyway.  The packaging was nice, and it just looked good.  That is, until I took one look at the price, and then had to do a second and third look to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.  The container which included just 8 ounces of juice was selling for $5.99.  That’s right – 8 ounces of tangerine juice for $5.99.

Think about that – that’s almost $0.75 per ounce of juice.  For many, that might be but a sip.  For $0.75? Seriously?  How could juice be that expensive.  For $5.99, that 8 ounces of juice had better make me into a superhero or something!

Clearly, that’s probably expensive for more than just a few people, and we can count me in that group.  Reducing food expenses is a goal of mine, or at least keeping these costs under control.  Now, I’m not one to sacrifice health for money, but I think that there are healthy alternatives that are also cheaper than spending so much on a small container of fruit juice.

Example #1: Buying Whole Fruit.

I recently bought a bag of clementines for $4.99.  Okay, clementines might not be the same thing as tangerines, but they are comparable enough to me.  It’s not like we’re comparing apples to oranges here.  Lame joke, I know :)

Anyway, this bag of citrus had at least 10 individual pieces of fruit in it.  Probably more, but let’s say 10 to be conservative.  This means each clementine cost no more than $0.50.  Doing the math, we can see what the opportunity cost of the $5.99 juice is: 8 ounces of juice, or 10 whole clementines.

The choice for me is clear.

Example #2: Drinking water

Okay, so maybe we don’t want whole fruit instead of juice. As an alternative, perhaps we use another drink as an example: water.  Clearly, drinking tap water saves money versus some other beverage options.  I would think it would save money versus this juice option.

Let’s say that an 8 ounce glass of water costs $0.05 each to have at home.  I don’t really know what the exact cost is, but it can’t be that much – at least where I live! So, just to be conservative in our comparison, we can overestimate the cost of water to be a nickel per glass.  In that case, using that price assumption, we could have 120 glasses of water for the cost of one glass of juice.

Bottom Line: we can save a decent amount of money by thinking of opportunity costs of expensive purchases, including those from the grocery store!

My Questions for You:

Have you noticed any surprisingly expensive items at the grocery store?

Do you ever think of opportunity costs with your food or drink purchases, comparing to what else you can buy for that same amount of money?

A Healthy Brain Equals Healthier Finances

There are many ways to protect ourselves financially.  One is insurance – be it home, business, or disability.  Another is by being careful with certain risks.  Yet another is carefully manage our career.  The list can go on.

One of the additional ways to protect ourselves is by staying healthy.  Seems obvious, as one needs to be healthy in order to work.  If we can’t work, the cash flow stops.  Also, medical bills can add up quickly.

The thing is, when most of us think of being healthy, I believe we are generally referring to things such as keeping in shape and making sure we have the physical energy to work.  Which, of course, makes sense.  But I think that there is another area which perhaps doesn’t get as much attention as it could: keeping our brain sharp.

Yes, I think that we need to at least consider brain health as a long-term investment.  Of course for our lives in general, first and foremost.  But a side benefit is the impact it can have on our ability to earn money.  Just as our capacity to make money can impaired by physical limitations, it could also be impaired by limitations of our brain.  A healthy brain = healthier finances.

The reality is that plenty of people suffer cognitive decline and brain issues as they get older.  Knowing someone who is dealing with this in old age, it’s very clear to me that it’s a frightening reality that people’s brains can give way sooner than their bodies.  If we can’t function mentally, there are severe problems for us.  Alzheimer’s and other related issues can be scary conditions that simply destroy lives.

Along those lines - for financial but mostly quality of life reasons – here are 5 things we can do to help maintain our mental functioning:

Exercise

There have been studies that have shown that staying active can help reduce some risks of developing alzheimer’s.   Being a couch potato and relatively inactive has other problems, obviously.  But apparently it can have potential impacts on your brain as well.

I don’t know about you, but if I go through periods of inactivity, I can get sluggish.  After regular exercise, and particularly after a good workout, I just feel more alert.

Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods

It’s known that antioxidant-rich foods can have a variety of health benefits.  One of them might be helping your brain, too.  Having a good diet with plenty of these foods might help slow the decline of cognitive ability over time.

Personally, I like to add blueberries to my breakfast every morning.  A bowl of oatmeal with ground flaxseed and some fresh berries has become a staple of mine.  Now, I unfortunately have made enough mistakes during the lunch and dinner portions of my diet :)  However, at least I’ve gotten breakfast down pretty good.

Doing a quick search for antioxidant-rich foods is a good start to becoming more informed.

Limit Bad Fats

Those bad fats, which can include trans-fats and saturated fats, can potentially cause problems for our brains.  Things I’ve read seem to indicate that excess consumption of such fats can increase the risks of cognitive issues, and might even cause actual changes at the cellular level.  That doesn’t sound fun!

Again, we know not to eat these things too often.  The next time you consider whether or not to eat that greasy burger with greasy fries, don’t just think of your waistline.  It might be less than ideal for your brain too!

Check nutrition labels, and do your own research.

Be Social

Not everybody is a social butterfly, and some people tend to be introverted.  Others simply don’t care what people think, and tend to have a narrow focus in terms of their inner circle.

Well, from what I’ve read, there is work out there that indicates that having a good social life and a network of friends and family can help delay the onset of cognitive issues.   I have no idea if this is partially innate in some people, in terms of their personalities – or if some are more predisposed than others.  But it does indicate that being socially active might be a good thing.

Watch Blood Pressure

Hypertension, particularly when we are talking about uncontrolled high blood pressure, can lead to real problems for people.  Studies seem to indicate this could be linked to an increase in alzheimer’s risk.  Additionally, this can be linked to vascular dementia, where tiny blood vessels in the brain are negatively impacted.  Oxygen being shut off, with cells dying, can’t be a good thing for memory.

It seems like it would be a good idea to really watch our diet to make sure that we’re consuming food that isn’t negatively impacting our blood pressure.  Additionally, we should probably monitor it regularly.

What it All Means

Well, I think it’s clear that there are plenty of things we could do to help maintain our cognitive function and either prevent or delay future impairment.  I’m obviously not a medical profession, so don’t take any of this as medical advice.  Do your own research, but I’m just passing along some things I’ve read.  This from a person who knows someone afflicted in old age with congitive impairment.

It’s obvious that we can’t do much good for our finances if our brain isn’t working optimally.  It hurts the ability to make money, and it impacts our ability to make sound decisions.  Additionally, having big problems could lead to catastrophic financial costs for oursleves or our family.

Bottom line is that I think it’s good to actively make decisions that consider the health of our brain.

My Questions for You

Do you ever consider the importance of health in terms of finances?

Do you consider brain health as something to focus on as we get older? If so, how do you approach this?

Have you known anyone older who has had such issues?

 

The High Cost of Getting the Flu

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about a huge outbreak of the flu.  With this reportedly one of the worst outbreaks in recent years, from what has been noted by some news organizations, it’s understandable that this is getting a lot of attention.

I don’t know about you, but I can remember a few past episodes of the flu even though they were years ago.  One time, in particular, was marked by 104+ degree fever and missing 3 days of work.  When I returned, it was only out of pressure.  The whole experience really served as one great example of why it sometimes takes getting sick to really value your health.  I haven’t forgotten that time.  I would have given anything at that time to end that temporary misery!

This gets me thinking again about health and money, which I periodically discuss here as you might know.  Specifically, in this case, the cost of getting the flu for many of us.

Of course, the most important thing is the actual misery that we go through when dealing with a really bad case of the flu, as well as the impact that has on our responsibilities to others.  However, secondarily, there is also the impact on our finances.

Missing Work Due to the Flu

As I mentioned above, many years ago I had to miss 3 days with the flu.  I was right out of college, and was known to be a huge sports fan.  I happened to miss days right at the beginning of March Madness, which got me some teasing over the phone when I called in.  Keep in mind, there was no working from home or smartphones then (yeah, I guess I’m dating myself a bit here).  Anyway, the teasing was probably good natured, but I knew by the tone of the conversation that there was a hint of pressure to come back.  I’ve shared a story about this place in the past, involving an unpaid bonus, so if you’ve read that you may get the idea of why I might have been a bit concerned.

Companies don’t like dealing with people missing work, that’s the bottom line.  I have been salaried, but for some people, it could actually mean hourly wages or freelance work lost.  That’s no fun! 

Also, if you’re burning your time off, it’s valuable time that’s lost.  Those days off can be precious!

Losing Time for Personal Projects

Have a list of things that you need to get done in your life? These could be tasks around the house, or other projects.  By getting the flu and being home on the sofa, you’re delaying getting your own things done.  Hopefully none of the things being put off cost money, but you never know – they might!

Doctor Visits

For most people, a visit to the doctor isn’t free.  Even if it’s just a matter of some kind of copay, you’re still paying.  If someone doesn’t have insurance, those costs could be much higher.  With health care costs a big burden for many people these days, who wants to spend more money on it?  Whether it’s $25, $50, $100, or more – such expenses can add up

Medicine

Perhaps you might just be dealing with OTC products.  Or, maybe things get bad enough that you end up needing a prescription for something.  Either way, you just might be spending some money on things that may give you some comfort in dealing with the illness or maybe even speeding up your recovery.  Perhaps this will be $10, maybe $20 – or it could cost even more.

What to do?  Well, I’m no doctor (and no, I don’t play one on TV), but I got a flu shot and have been fine so far.  Not sure that guarantees anything, but presumably that gives someone a better chance to avoid problems, right?  That and washing hands/using hand sanitizer has been my approach.  Not too time consuming, but it’s a small price to pay to ourselves what might be a better chance to avoid getting sick.  Not to mention avoid the financial aspects of it!

My Questions for You

While of course health is most important, do you ever think of the financial costs of being sick?

Have you ever had to take a few days off work for a bad case of the flu?

What steps do you take to put yourself in better position to avoid getting such an illness?

Drink Tap Water to Save Money

When we go out to eat, a surprisingly significant percentage of the bill can come from just getting something to drink.  You might end upDrink Tap Water spending $2 for that fountain drink with your meal.  Or, if you simply grab coffee some morning, it might have nothing to do with your breakfast – and still set you back $2.  Or, much more if you get something other than simple coffee.

I recently went 2 straight weeks without getting anything to drink other than water.  This meant that I had no coffee, soda, or other drinks during that time.  It’s not the first time I’ve gone without such drinks, as I’ve written about giving up caffeine before.  Needless to day, I went back to drinking caffeine after that post a couple of years ago.

Anyway, this round of sticking to water found its motivation after recent dental work, where I saved money on a wisdom tooth removal.  I thought it would be best to stick to water for a few days, and once I got on a roll, I just kept at it for a few weeks.  The results were interesting, both in terms of health and money.

Health Benefits of Drinking More Water

The health benefits I observed were noticeable, and a mixture of expected and unexpected:

  1. More consistent sleep.  Meaning, I didn’t toss and turn, or have trouble falling asleep.  I just slept, quite uneventfully actually.
  2. Less sleep.  This one was surprising. I would have thought that cutting out caffeine and simply having water might have meant more sleep would occur, but not exactly.  Perhaps if one sleeps better, less sleep is needed than if you’re not sleeping as well? Who knows, but it was simply a half hour or so less sleep all told anyway.
  3. Steadier energy levels.  Not having caffeine or sugar seemed to having a steadying effect
  4. Calm stomach.  Not that I had any noticeable trouble before, but water seems pretty easy on the body compared to consuming many other things.

Now, I can’t speak to the specifics of tap water in your community or any other.  Just going by how I feel with the local water here :)

Money-Saving Benefits of Drinking More Water

The money-saving benefits I noticed were fun to see:

  1. Water is free.  Okay, maybe not free to the environment, or the water bill.  But there is so little incremental cost to getting a glass of water, that it might as well be free.
  2. Cutting out all other drinks probably saved me $40 over the 2 weeks.  Seems like a lot, but I think I was spending that amount on coffee each workday, plus a random fountain drink outside and juice at home. If I annualize that, we’re talking about savings of over $1000!  For those who have more fun beverages, I’m sure the savings would be much more.  Perhaps several thousand dollars?

After the two weeks, I actually stopped at a Jamba Juice and paid $5.02 (yes, $5.02!) for a 16 ounce cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.  It was really, really good! But after a long stretch of just having water, it almost seems unimaginable for me to spend this much regularly.  Not that I did, but even with other drinks, it’s like guzzling down hard-earned money!

One thing to clarify here – none of this involved bottled water, except for 2 bottles I got for free.  Strictly tap water!

My Questions for You

Do you spend much money on other drinks each day – coffee, soda, juice, etc?

Do you ever think about how much money can be saved by drinking water?

What would motivate you more in terms of drinking more water – the health benefits, or money benefits?

Wisdom from a Kid on Money and Health

Sometimes, it takes a family member to keep us in line on different things, including money.  Suggestions can come from different people, even – believe it or not – a kid!

Yes, I actually got some spending advice recently, from my daughter, and found it to be very simple but insightful.  So, I thought I would share it here with everyone.

We were out at a quick-casual restaurant recently, getting dinner while being out on a busy day.  I normally don’t think eating out excessively is the best idea with kids, but at least we weren’t at what some might deem a socially unacceptable fast food place like we discussed recently.  We read off the menu board, then I was about to order for everyone. We were next in line, right behind the people ordering.

At that point my oldest, still a young kid, asked me what I was getting. I told her what I was going to get for myself, but didn’t mention the drink.  Then she asked if I was going to get a fountain drink, and I said “yes”.

Then, she asked me not to get one.  Or maybe she nicely suggested it, I don’t recall exactly.  But she did very nicely make this quick point to me (paraphrased): “You’ll feel better if you don’t get one, and just get water instead.  Why spend money on something that isn’t good for you”.

Admittedly, I paused, and my first thought was “ugh…I can’t get this now because it wouldn’t set the best example.”

But you know what, she had a point!  Why spend money on buying something that is less healthy than water, when I could get water for free?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to choose the option that both costs less AND is better for you?

Why don’t we all think like this a little bit more often? Throwing good money after negative results doesn’t seem to be a high ROI proposition.

So, after pausing, I told her she was absolutely correct, and that I was just going to get water.  And I thanked her for bringing that to my attention, while telling her I liked how she thought about it.  Needless to say, I was happy – not only because some teachings are being learned, but also because it’s great to see the next generation making good decisions.  I certainly didn’t think that way as a kid, or even when a little bit more grown up!

My Questions for You

Have you ever heard some words from kids that reflected a surprising level of wisdom and good sense for their respective age?

What do you think of the simple idea of not spending good money on something that is surely not going to help you overall, and might even harm you in some way?

Squirreling Gone Wild #34: Punished for Being Frugal

If you see a shiny new penny on the ground, what would you do? Pick it up, right?

Since frugality has its merits (and I’ll put picking up coins into the frugal category), I would do it.  Many people would. After all, it’s there for the taking! Never mind that time is money, and the economic value of picking up pennies isn’t exactly a slam dunk.  If it’s right in front of you, just take the free money and move on.

Well, I may have been “punished” for not exactly following my advice on when not to be frugal.  If you recall from that post, within the 6 situations I mentioned was a theme surrounding the idea of not sacrificing health for money.  I noted food as well as health care specifically, as 2 of the 6 situations.  So despite some the antics from the Squirreling Gone Wild series that I’ve shared, I actually do believe it’s important to not go to far just to save a few dollars.  Or pennies.

Or, in my case, penny.  That’s right, I inadvertently made a trade-off with health, just for a penny.

So there it was…a semi-shiny penny sitting in the parking lot of the local library.  Actually there was another one that was more dull right by it, but I never tried for it. Anyway, I just walked out when I stumbled upon the coin.  Immediately, I made a quick lunge for the coin, not even completely stopping my stride.  That’s when I felt a slight twinge in my back.

Now, I have had a few bouts of back soreness and worse over the years, so this was very mild compared to those episodes.  Actaully, it was really an tiny aggravation of recent back soreness (which I felt a little bit in the morning anyway), so I don’t want to make it seem like picking up a coin was the source.  But anybody who has had such issues in the past should know that you just have to make some good decisions, such as bending at the knees when picking something up.  Not that you’re going to necessarily get hurt otherwise, but it’s just one of those little things that we do to avoid any unnecessary issues.

It did freeze me for a few moments, but I made it to my car without a problem and then went home and stretched out my legs and back – having learned from past experience.  Things got back to normal later.  No long-term damage, so don’t worry. :)

But still, why deal with any consequences just for something that’s not that important! It could have been anything – this happened to me once when quickly bending to simply check tire pressure on a cold morning, and the result was quite a bit worse than this.  However, it just seemed like maybe some type of “justice” being served upon me this particular time, given that it was a coin involved, and that I’ve penny pinched in quite a few instances.

Moral of the story: a little extra money isn’t always worth it.

Apparently I needed to be reminded :)

My Questions for You:

Have you ever gone too far to save (or make) a little money, or do you know anyone that has?

What was the situation?

Has Fast Food Become Socially Unacceptable?

At lunch, during the work day, many of us have different options for what we can do.  Some people regularly bring lunch from home every day.  Other people might work someplace with a cafeteria on premises, and might go that route occasionally.  Still others might go out to eat once in a while.  Clearly, there are many different ways that we can handle lunch during the work week, and many combinations of how our weeks might look in that regard.

With respect to the latter option - going out to eat – we might also have a variety of options from which to choose.  One of these options is fast food.  However, in recent years, I haven’t seen as many coworkers eating fast food at lunch – or, at least, making it known that they eat it.  It leads me to ask the question: has fast food for lunch become socially unacceptable, and something to avoid for your career?

It might sound silly, but in the workplace, perceptions often matter more than reality.   While people are generally entrusted with responsibilities based on qualifications and past performance, one’s image at work can matter – even if it shouldn’t.  In a white collar, corporate setting, multimillion dollar decisions are being made all the time.  Would you think more favorably about the guy or gal who brings a healthy lunch to work every day or buys a salad from a quick casual place, or the person who regularly dines on an unhealthy value meal of a burger, fries, and soda from the local fast food joint.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying it’s fair, and it’s not necessarily how I view things. However, people can be fickle, and personal impressions do have an impact for better or worse.

I liken this to how smoking was once viewed in society.  Supposedly, news broadcasts way back in the past had cigarette smoke swirling about, as a fairly decent percentage of the overall population smoked.  It wasn’t unusual or a big deal.  I vividly recall years of going to restaurants that offered both smoking and non-smoking sections.  Smoking even happened on airplanes!

Now, smoking doesn’t happen on the news, or in restaurants where I live, and certainly not on airplanes.  People don’t smoke in the office, at work.  While it isn’t fair to judge the character of a smoker vs. a non-smoker, in the professional world it’s simply not socially acceptable.  Smoking is simply not a part of the workday.

Keep in mind I’m not equating smoking to eating fast food, just thinking about perceptions of social acceptabilty.  I wonder if this concept is starting to apply to fast food lunches?  Maybe it’s a stretch, but I just don’t see people eating these lunches, or talking about how much they like fast food.  They may eat it otherwise, but it seems to be less accepted.

So as funny as it might seem that flaunting an affinity for fast food lunches might be bad for your career – and your finances – well, it just might be.  Not to mention the health impact, which in the long run hurts our finances too!

My Questions for You

What do you usually do for lunch during the work day?

Do you notice people eating less fast food these days, or being less anxious to admit to it, with co-workers?

Do you think that fast food for lunch during the work day has become less socially acceptable, and something that can be detrimental to how one is perceived?

 

Here is How I’m Going to Get the Ultimate Black Friday Savings Experience

What could be better than lining up at 2AM outside a retail store, shivering in the cold while guarding your position in line? After all, you will be engaging in the the thrill of competing with other bargain hunters who are also trying to race into the store and grab some deals!  Who needs sleep, and who needs all that hard earned money you’ve managed to save?

No thanks.  Last year, I posted about the best way to save money on Black Friday, and shared how one can ensure that costs will be kept to a minimum.  Again, we want to have fun and enjoy ourselves without overspending, right?  Well, I plan to do just that this year, and not go shopping on Black Friday.

Sound boring? Well, I know that it will to many folks.  But the question is, are you buying what you need?  Or, in the case of many Black Friday shoppers, shopping for sport.  Yes, I think that some folks view shopping competitively, or at the very least as a form of entertainment.

Okay, we can all define what constitutes entertainment, so I’m nobody to judge that.  I just think that if that’s the case, just admit it.  Otherwise, there isn’t much need for people to be waiting in line in the wee hours of the morning, disrupting their sleep cycle just to stampede for savings.  In many cases, I really believe that some folks buy things that they don’t need or truly wouldn’t normally buy, but get caught up in the frenzy of great offers.

I’m not saying I won’t buy anything at all during the holidays. Of course I will, as I have quite a few presents to buy for others. And, when I see deals for things that I need for myself, I’ll jump in that way too.  The more it can be done online, the better. I do admit though that every holiday season I do like to spend an afternoon out and about, taking in the festivities, etc.  It can be a lot fun, of course.

However, Black Friday itself, with all the craziness of weird hours, frenzied crowds, and offers that tempt us to buy things we don’t need?  I’ll pass this time.  Call me boring, but I’ll have a great day anyway, doing other fun things! Oh, and it will be after getting a great night of sleep as well, keeping in mind the idea that the trade-off between sleep and money is to think about :)

My Questions for You

What are your Black Friday plans for this year?

Do you find it worthwhile to jump into the fray and hunt for deals on Black Friday?

Have you ever waited in any really long lines, or gotten to stores at odd hours, in order to get a deal?