Happy Cyber Monday. It’s a great day to get a good deal. Some deals, are worth pursuing…like booking travel or buying discounted gift cards for travel that will occur anyway. But perhaps this year you join me in thinking twice about buying stuff that would be nice but you simply do not need.
Cyber Monday Restraint
Distinguishing “needs” versus “wants” is purely subjective and I’m not about to tell you what you should or should not buy. In fact, I’ll shamelessly ask that you use my Amazon affiliate link if you end up buying something. Why don’t you sign up for some credit cards while you are at it?
But I was about to buy some noise cancelling headphones and a lamp today and then stopped and said…why? As in, the ones I have still function and that money would probably benefit someone else far more than a nice seat of wireless headphones and a lamp would benefit me.
Now there are limits to this. I’ll take advantage of the 50% off sale to book a Virgin Atlantic A350 ticket today. But this year I am trying my very best to limit the accumulation of more material items. We have a rule in our (rather small) house: for every new thing that comes in, something else must go out. That’s a great lesson we’ve taught our son but also very helpful to me personally, who certainly has packrat tendencies.
And the reason for my post is not to scold you for amassing objects, but to invite you to join me in questioning our need for every latest gadget and upgrade.
One of the biggest missed opportunities after the 9/11 attacks and again after COVID-19 broke out was this idea of turning bad into good on a country-wide scale. Yes, first responders stepped up beautifully after both events and a new generation of first responders in the form of grocery clerks, Amazon drivers, and Uber drivers has arisen this year. But where were the national calls to truly care for your friends, family, neighbors, and community? Is your next door neighbor doing okay during this time?
As I grow older, I cannot help but to see clearer and clearer each day how serving others provides for so much more of our needs than any material object does, especially once we surpass a baseline of survivability.
So go out and spend if you must…there are great deals indeed. But do think twice about it. Think how discretionary purchases could meaningfully help your neighbor. Humans tend to enjoy their money most when they lavish it upon others.