* Jedd Thoughts, Intentional Living

When Saving Money Isn’t Saving Money

Black Friday
A simple Google image search for Black Friday gave me this

I use to love this time of year.

But over the past 5 years or so, the warm, joyous feelings of celebrating this season with family and friends, has slowly been invaded by consumerism, chaos, and comparison.

We need to be reminded that there was a time when Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now pre-Black Friday (a.k.a. Thanksgiving Sales) didn’t exist. But the Black Friday craziness that exists today didn’t happen overnight, it took time. The weekend after Thanksgiving has traditionally been a long holiday weekend that was supposed to be a break for all (those working, going to school, etc…). Businesses and corporations (let’s call them The Execs) saw this as an excellent time to promote shopping. “Get all your presents now before Christmas.” The Execs knew though, that it would take a little bit of encouragement, some sort of bait to lure people to their stores, to give up time with family and friends.

Though post-Thanksgiving was already a profitable weekend, the Execs wanted more. They knew that all they had to do was to brand it, give it a name, make it an actual event. They called it Black Friday. They offered bigger discounts. They created a limited, too-good-to-be-true feast that people couldn’t resist.

We ate it up.

According to estimates, the Black Friday Weekend sales phenomenon will bring in an estimated $36 billion dollars this year alone. $36. Billion.

And the main message? “Save money.”

Spending Money is Not Saving MoneyI confess. I used to be a supporter of the Black Friday movement. I’ve waited in line for sales and deals. There was a time I actually believed that when I bought something on sale, I was saving money. It all changed when a friend challenged me with the following statement:

“Spending money, no matter how much money you are saving from a sale, is still spending money.”

More often than not, a sale makes us buy something we wouldn’t have bought otherwise. To truly save money, we have to refrain from spending on things we don’t really need.

Ironically, the most shocking and scary thing about Black Friday isn’t the obsessive and obscene amounts of money we are spending on stuff, but the damage and cost this sales event has on relationships.

We are creating and supporting a culture that says consumerism is more important than family and friends.

First, it started with the controversy of a few major stores opening on Thanksgiving day late at night, to ease anyone’s concerns. Each year, however, stores open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving. This year, it’s big news as to which stores will be open and those that refuse to open on Thanksgiving. With issues like Ferguson, ebola, wars, etc… going on in our world, I’m still amazed how pervasive the Black Friday weekend is in the media.

One thing I would love to ask the Execs and supporters of Black Friday: Does this make our lives and our world better? But maybe the question more important is: What are we doing to make the world better?

Is saving money by spending money on sales really saving money? And more importantly, what is the true cost of excessive consumerism?

JandMSwiss

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time (or money) this weekend, we hope that you and your loved ones find time together and ways to reflect how much you value and cherish these special relationships.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-J

Ps. This is an awesome video about all of that so-called important, must-have stuff.

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates

Everyday Thanksgiving

givethanks
Wherever you are in the world, whoever you are, as you read this I am hoping that you have something to be thankful for.

Amidst all the things going on in the world, specifically the misguided attention that the media and businesses try to emphasize regarding Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general, I’m asking that we consider this time right now as an opportunity to refocus and intentionally think about what it means to be thankful…before it’s too late. Too late for what?

Loss. Separation. Regret.

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, in light of the terrible situation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, and reflecting on 20 months of being a volunteer, I’ve realized that if our world is ever going to change for the better, it will have to start with our values. We can start by being more appreciative of what we have at this moment because life can change in an instant. I will be the first to confess that I Continue reading “Everyday Thanksgiving”

* Jedd Thoughts

A Long Overdue Post

I was struggling last night working on a post about being thankful. I looked over the words and felt sick and uninspired by my written garbage. To be honest, I just felt it wasn’t very truthful and it wasn’t very me.

We just watched the movie “Julie and Julia” (a movie I didn’t think I would like so much) that shared the lives of two remarkable women. I was impressed by their stories (won’t spoil the movie) that in good times or bad, we must be who we are, do what we love, and above all, do what my dad has always said to me, “Just be thankful.”

I left the movie reflecting and convicted that often, I am not as grateful for the life I have as I should be. I wonder if I tell and show the people who are most important to me that I love them enough, I wonder if they know. I wonder about the people who I haven’t spoken to in years, or loved ones that have passed on, whether or not they knew how much they mean to me. Of course I also think about those that have also hurt me, whether they knew or not, if they know how much they affected my life, the memories I cannot forget, the forgiveness that was hard to find. And finally, I think of those that I have hurt, and whether they know how sorry I am, whether I meant to hurt them or not.

Yet, I am constantly reminded by others and God that in my life, that all of it, the good and the difficult, is my life. Each hurtful comment, each hug of support, each difficult choice, each hair on my head lost, each treasured and also painful memory makes me who I am, and while there is a lot I am not proud of, I do find hope in where I am now and I truly am thankful for my life and the people in it.

I want my Dad’s words of “Just be thankful,” to be my mantra and life goal. I think of the other movie I saw today, “UP”, (it’s vacation….you are allowed two movies on vacation). I am deeply touched how they showed that no matter how painful it is to lose someone you love, that the gift is to treasure every single moment.

Thank you God for the life I have lived so far, please help me to be thankful for all of it, and for whatever is to come. Please help me to be thankful and show my gratitude everyday for those that I love and for those that are difficult to love. Thank you for movies like “Julie and Julia” and “UP”, and thank you for making me, me.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems that truly speaks to me about who I am, and what I would say if someone wanted to know about me.  Thanks William.

 

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.

 

I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

the current is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.

-William Stafford

 

ps. I really appreciate everyone’s support with my P90X challenge. Day 19 and still going strong… J