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.
slightly off topic but could you enlighten us as to why you continue to allow that bumbling fool Kyle Stewart to pollute this website with his incoherent and divisive ramblings?
Yeah, Kyle is a moron. Second that!
Kyle offers unique insight and is a loyal friend and colleague.
I’m only trying to buy items I will consume, such as shampoo, soap etc. Walgreens.com has a nice sale with free shopping today so that worked out good.
Perhaps you can still buy those headphones and do a giveaway to your readers?
This Christmas will be different because of the pandemic. Everybody in the faily has agreed not to shop in stores to lower the risk of Covid-19. Everyone has agreed to expect much smaller and simpler gifts, things that can be bought in a grocery store or online. Instead, we’ll listen to music for the first time and/or do other stuff besides elaborate gift exchanging. There are no little kids, who need toys and cannot comprehend a plan like ours. Hoping for a real Christmas in 2022 and a more normal one in 2021.
@Matthew, I have two stupid questions about your affiliate link (or any, for that matter).
1. Do you know if it’s compatible with AmazonSmile? The cashback portals seem to have very limited Amazon options (Amazon devices, services, etc.), so it’d be nice to be able to support both an affiliate and a non-profit for most purchases.
2. Does it work on digital orders? TV shows, movies, music, e-books, etc.
@Tennen: I honestly do not know. I will try to find out.
I’m helping the economy, and those that may still be employed in the retail industry, by spending the same, if not more, than last year. Which was quite a lot.
I also am attempting to give money to the Salvation Army, but they make it very difficult online. Unless I provide my home address and email, no donation possible. I guess it’s cash to the guy with the bell. If I can find one.
Waiting for Kyle’s annual follow-on post on what we all need to buy from Amazon.
I like your thoughts, Matthew. I myself do not participate in these hyped-up sales. If I can’t afford to pay retail, then I shouldn’t be buying it. If I am considering buying something only because the price has been reduced, then I shouldn’t be buying it.
These days, people don’t give to others because the democrats would like to create a society where mother government pays for everything (why donate food if there’s food stamps?) and individual charity (often faith-based) goes away.
I used to donate to large charities but I found out that many of them are legal frauds that waste money. For example, CaringKind (Alzheimer’s charity in NYC that spends ZERO dollars on Alzheimer’s research) or even the Alzheimer’s Association (which is primarily not a research funder). So now I identify a professor who I don’t know but is doing research then donate to that medical school requesting that it fund research projects in the neurology department.
I hate getting and giving presents.
We need a balance between continuing to spend ( supporting businesses and jobs) and direct funding of charities ( supporting those for whom there isn’t another ‘safety net’)…