By Amy Sondova There’s a lot of wisdom in the old saying, “Tis better to give than to receieve.” Secretly, I wonder if the person who first said it never received a great gift. Yet as I mature, I have to admit giving a thoughtful, clever, and crafty present gets me as giddy as a child who downed a box of candy canes.
However, sometimes I wonder if my knitted scarves, hats, and now socks are good enough. I mean, how many scarves can I give someone Christmas after Christmas before it starts to get old? Sure, I save a lot of money, try to use quality yarn (Lion Brand Home Spun), and consider colorful combos that will suit the individual receiving the present. And I can always fall back on making beaded jewelry or framing my photographs. These are great gifts, right? Of course (I think). But I want to give more.
There’s something about a sale that makes me want to find a great item at a bargain price. I’m not talking about some of those phony department store “sales” where the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) is ridiculously high, so a sale is just paying normal prices for overpriced stuff. I’m talking about real sales where you can get real stuff for ridiculously low prices. My inclination is to “stock up” on $1 wrapping paper at Joann’s (better than the Dollar Store stuff, and you get more paper for your money) and $10 pajama pants at Fashion Bug and $8 Christmas pillows at Boscov’s. What if I need an impromptu gift? What if I run out of pajama pants and have to sleep naked? If Santa needs a nap on Christmas Eve, shouldn’t he get to lie down on my couch and rest his head on some quality holiday pillows? Or…what if all the shopping centers in the area simultaneously explode and I have to get a last-minute item? See, it’s better to be prepared for all holiday emergencies.
This “stock-up for savings” mentality, I’ve found, can lead to wreckless spending. For example, yesterday I was at Target to get two items for my best friend and a hand vac. I found everything I needed and was making a mad dash for the check-out when I stumbled upon the cutest pair of slippers I never knew I always needed–sock monkey slippers by Nick & Nora. Are they not adorable? After looking at the $12.99 price tag (that’s a deal, right?) I stood there considering whether or not I needed these slippers (yes!). I have slippers at home and I could save my $12.99 + tax to get important things like gas for the car or you know, food. I chewed on my fingernail in utter anguish; I wanted these slippers more than anything in the world, at least at that moment. I fought the temptation, ran to the check-out, and didn’t look back. See you later, sock monkey slippers! And I left Target with a heavy heart.
I should have been proud of myself, right? I didn’t spend wrecklessly. I didn’t purchase something for me, especially while getting presents for someone else. Still, I can’t get those affordably priced slippers out of my head. It happened again last night. I was innocently wading through all the e-mails from my favorite retailers telling me about their great deals. I curiously clicked on Overstock.com’s “Free Shipping” offer and found a beautiful two-tone Fender acoustic guitar for just under $100. I MUST HAVE IT! I even went so far as to start to order it (for Sarah, of course…uh, right) when sanity took hold of my impulsivity and I cancelled the order.
And I don’t just want stuff for me, I want to buy presents for everyone. Thirty second infomercials are the worst. So far, I’ve decided that my loved ones need–a ProCaulk caulking set (it makes caulking look fun!), Snuggies (with a book clip light), a Big City Slider to make mini-burgers, ShamWow!, and PediPaws. As you can see, the situation is clearly out of control.
I’m standing firm against retailers who are battling for my heart, mind, and debit card. Buying something a little extra once in a while is OK, but wreckless spending only leads to huge credit card bills, higher interest rates, and actually paying $40 for that $12.99 pair of sock monkey slippers. I’m saying NO to wreckless spending this holiday season…who’s with me? Scream it with me while you’re decking the malls, “I am saying NO to wreckless spending.” With one loud and clear voice, we can get our spending under control…as long as we can avoid the sock monkey slippers.
Addendum:: Since I first wrote this post on my personal blog, Atypical Musings, the sock monkey slippers went on sale for $9.99…I thought, what the heck and bought ’em? 🙂