Ready to Shop Till You Drop? Read This First

Here’s a little something to think about as you sit down with your family today: When you reflect back upon your life, you won’t think of the things you had, but the times you had.

There’s no holiday quite like Thanksgiving. It’s the day we all eat too much, fall asleep in front of the TV, enjoy our families, and begin plotting our Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday strategies.

But as we officially start the mad dash toward year-end, do yourself a favor. Take a minute between food, coupons and football to remember what today is really about.

A few years ago at a bloggers conference, I stopped a couple of popular bloggers and asked them for their favorite frugal tips. One in particular I remember well.

It was from Bob Lotich of Christian Personal Finance. What I expected was a tip like, “buy used” or “use coupons.” But what he said was infinitely better:

“We live in a society where there’s so much. There are so many things we have that people didn’t have 100 years ago. We have heat inside of our houses, we don’t have to go out to an outhouse. Things are pretty good now, yet everyone wants to complain about how bad it is. I would just say appreciate what you have and enjoy it.”

Now there’s a great frugal tip: Rather than obsessing about buying things you want, keep your money in your pocket and appreciate the things you already have. That’s something we can all keep in mind as we rush into another frenzied season of shopping.

Material possessions, when it’s all said and done, are vastly overrated. In fact, in the big picture, they’re nearly irrelevant.

Nine years ago today, I was in Atlanta, sitting at my parents’ dining room table, stuffing my face and cracking jokes with my mom, dad, sister, and assorted friends.

Today that house, dining room table and both my parents are gone. They’re only memories. But what awesome memories they are.

My Thanksgiving wish for you is to create as many memories as you can, today and every day. Go ahead, shop till you drop. Have a great time.

Just remember that when you’re on your deathbed, you won’t be remembering the things you had, you’ll be remembering the times you had.

So as often as you possibly can, surround yourself with the people you love and make some memories. You’ll be glad you did.

Got some nice memories of your own to share? Take a minute to comment below or in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

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  • grandmaguest

    Wonderful sentiment and so true. Thanks Stacy! Have a wonderful day with your family. May your turkey be terrific and your gravy lump free!

  • Amy Livingston

    This is why, according to happiness economists (yes, that’s a real job), the purchases that make us happiest are the ones we use to create memories. Whether it’s a trip you take with your spouse or a game you play with your family, it’s not the possession itself but the experiences it creates that bring happiness.

  • LagunaLady27

    Travel. All my best memories were of time when I was traveling. First to the national parks with my family, then taking students to Europe on foreign language trips, later taking my daughter to see the world. Now, I am retired and plan on doing more of the same.

  • macadoo212

    Right on. Two things have rung true recently for me. This quote, which has been running around the internet – “Because only in America will people trample each other for sales precisely one day after gathering to give thanks for what they already have.” – and another – “Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened.” All of a sudden, you will realize that you don’t want another thing – and don’t actually want most of the things you have cluttered your life with for good money. Experiences – travel – friends and family – will make all the memories you will take with you to the end. Most of us have more than enough already – just sit and appreciate that fact, and think about how you might help someone else improve their lot in life the same way. Be grateful every day for what you have and you will soon realize that you need little else.

  • Vince Ryder

    People over packages. Hear, Hear! I have no recollection of ever shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Most years, I spent time with family, some years, I stood the watch in foreign lands, and a few years, I found some charities with which to volunteer time. My parents died when I was relatively young (aged 17 (mom) and 25 (dad)), and I would miss them terribly (even today, three decades later) if it were not for my involvement with other family and friends. As the great Bill and Ted said, “Be Excellent to Each Other.” Peace Out.

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