A Culture of Overconsumption
I have never been one to participate in the in person chaos of post-Thanksgiving sales. I am grateful to parents for never subjecting us to that experience for many reasons. Firstly, the complete disregard for safety and, yes, even for human life, is horrifyingly unnecessary. Secondly, no sale or alleged discount could interrupt family time and draw us out of our home. Thirdly, no perceived value is worth a single moment of discomfort.
A Change in Perspective
This year has been full of talks of gratitude and a shift of perspective for many. Was this year different from past years for you? It seems the pandemic brought with it a season of gratitude for most. Many who were previously actively playing the game of overconsumption and were a rat in a wheel working hard and spending all that they earn (and sometimes more!) just to be further limited and bound to their jobs have experienced a change.
Many companies dissolved, had to lay off employees or had to cut back on compensation. Many heads of households lost a job and had to transition into new positions. Many in the corporate world have taken part in what has been dubbed The Great Resignation. As people see the value of good health, family time and financial freedom outweigh the value of a job title and the stress that comes with it, people are leaving their careers at rapid rates.
Will American families spend less this year because of this shift in our culture? I believe that, unfortunately, overconsumption is still alive and well. Overconsumption is actively being welcomed into the family and given permission to shift the priorities of the household. Will overconsumption have a seat at your dinner table this Thanksgiving—like a looming uncertainty staring at you across the food?
Treat Yourself Marketing
I always have an adverse reaction to marketing that speaks to overconsumption. You know what I am talking about. Those emails that read treat yourself, for example. I swipe delete or unsubscribe from the company. Why? Easy. Why treat yourself to stuff when you can treat yourself to the joys of financial freedom and the options that it brings?
There’s nothing wrong with a sale if you found an item you already were planning on purchasing and it is actually discounted and not listed under a retail price that was never real. Sales are pretty funny because, like finances, they are rooted in basic math. If something is discounted and you spend money you were never planning to spend or shouldn’t be spending, are you really getting a good deal?
Be Weary of Genius Marketing
Last week, I wrote about being weary of buying into genius marketing and brand positioning in blog post called Conglomerates & Discounts. I am not here to tell you what to do. Everyone has free will and the burden of responsibility of their financial literacy and financial wealth lies only on the individual. I am here, however, to shine a spotlight on the marketing tactics that are all too common and are created to push you into a cluttered, indebted life.
As a 26 year old that knows a little something about finances and business, I am your big sister (or little sister) that will tell you the truth. If your family tradition is to venture out for a good sale after Thanksgiving, go for it. If your family’s financial health declined in the past year, please think about your finances before swiping the card. If your family has been blessed with an increase in net worth over the past year, don’t fall into the treat yourself marketing more than is logical.
Marketing doesn’t discriminate based on tax brackets or income. Regardless of one’s income and any decrease or increase one’s net worth has seen this year, take a moment to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday as much as possible. Happy Thanksgiving!