Smoking mirrors, or the lies we tell ourselves

It’s the beginning of the holiday season and store catalogs are pouring in our mail box. The thought of the list of people we have to get presents for has been in our minds for weeks now, together with how much we’ll end up spending on all of this.

The holidays are the ultimate time for gift giving. But why do we feel the pressure to one-up one another? How many of us are writing gift giving lists more out of a feeling of obligation than actual desire to give? Or how many of us are figuring out how much we will spend on said gift not based on what we can afford but what we “must spend” on that person? Most importantly how many of us will end up spending more than we can afford because we are trying to hold up an image in front of people?

Do you really think your parents will be thrilled about the gift they got if they knew you paid for it with a credit card with an APR close to 20%? Or do you think, that by the time your children reach college, they will be more grateful for the wii game they got this year than for the fact that they are able to apply some of your savings to their college expenses?

My point is not that you don’t spend anything on your loved ones but that you do it responsibly. Every time you make a spending decision you are making a choice. Will you make the choice that will contribute to your future or will you make one that undermines it?