|This newly created "Cyber-Monday" shopping event has me so rankled this week. Maybe it's because our family doesn't have money to burn again this year, so it's just easier for me to take the moral high ground than dwell on all the things I wish we could have. But it's also because it seems Occupy Wall Street and its brethren have taught us nothing this year.|
The day after the day on which we are supposed to be thankful for all that we have, we are encouraged to head out, elbows up, and spend our money on new shit, which I guess we will be thankful for next year on the third Thursday in November (if it's not broken by then or we can even remember it). And now on the Monday after that, we're expected to ignore the work that piled up over a four-day weekend and shop online too. Blah, blah, online sales on Cyber Monday are up 33 per cent over 2010. That apparently means .... what? That the recession is over? That it's not over so people are desperate to save money as they strive to provide a Christmas experience commensurate with non-recession years, which means shopping only sales?
If we spend beyond our means and end up paying interest on credit card purchases, the banks have won. If we do our alleged civic duty and "stimulate the economy," rather than save money for our futures (albeit in an economic climate that favours spending over saving: hello, interest rates?), then the banks have won. If you pepper spray other shoppers so you can get your desperate mitts on a discount Wii, then the banks have won.
We've been so good about not buying new things unless we truly needed them over the past three years. But after a while it catches up to you. Everyone needs new boots eventually, and there are some things you just can't make yourself. And I can't help but feel guilty when someone gives me a gift and I can't afford to return the sentiment in a tangible way. Even handmade gifts require you to spend money on supplies. And for us, with both our families so far away, the cost of shipping is a major added expense.
My plan this year is to make candy and chocolates for everyone to whom we would like to send gifts. My daughter will get one toy from us, plus I'm hoping to illustrate a story I wrote and have it printed for her as a book. And, of course, I'm still working on this gray wool hoodie for my husband (sewn from vintage Simplicity 8360):
|Front of hoodie-in-progress|
Anyway, tell me how you're saving money this Christmas? Has recession fatigue turned you into a cheapskate Scrooge, too?