By Victoria Sechrist
Invariably, at some point during Lent, I refer to Good Friday as “Black Friday.”
I think it makes sense because Good Friday is a dark, but beautiful day in our Church that led to the foundation of our Christian beliefs.
Lent is months away, but Black Friday is upon us – and it doesn’t have anything to do with Christ’s suffering or resurrection. That doesn’t mean we can’t bring God into our shopping and spending decisions. Like anything, He can transform the way we think about ordinary things.
Things to Remember
- Kids value your time and attention over all else. Yes, they may love that new toy in the moment, but they’ll be over it in a few months. They’ll never tire of good, quality time spent with you.
- There is so much you can give that costs nothing: a smile, a hug, a text of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, friendship.
- It’s OK to miss out on a sale.
- It’s OK to feel overwhelmed by all of the sales.
- It’s OK if you get to the store and realize you forgot the coupon. Be compassionate with yourself – you have a lot going on!
- No matter what gifts you give or receive, God loves you the same.
- At the same time, it’s OK to want to bring beauty to the world through the gifts you buy. All beauty ultimately points us back to God.
- You can accept that no holiday is ever perfect, but you can focus on the love surrounding you, whether it’s friends, family, or pets.
- From scripture: “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
- If you do overspend, realize that everything can be fixed in finances. There is always hope to turn things around and be debt free!
Now onto the practical stuff
- Make a list of everyone who you want to give a gift to. It could be a spreadsheet, notepad, not on your phone, etc.
- Commit to a spending threshold for all of the gifts. For example, if you’re buying for 5 people, decide how much you’re willing to spend in total. For example, if it’s $200, then that’s an average of $40 per person. If you’re married, discuss with your spouse an amount spent on gifts that you both would feel comfortable. Think of it this way: what dollar amount would make you cringe when you look back and find that you spent that amount? If it’s $600, then you know to stay under that.
- Consider buying the same book for all the adults on your list. Pick one you love and write a nice message in each one. It gets rid of a lot of the guesswork in gift buying and also provides a personal touch to all recipients.
- Consider doing homemade gifts (no pressure, though if you’re not crafty). For example, you could make homemade chocolates in different molds; you could knit or crochet; or paint something. Personally, my favorite gifts are homemade ones! Knowing that someone put care and attention into making it for me is special.
- If you haven’t saved at all for gifts, ask yourself what you can sacrifice the next 6 weeks so that you don’t go into credit card debt.
- Unsubscribe from retail emails that make you feel especially tempted!
- Use the Honey extension to search for coupon codes on the items you already have in your cart.
- Consider going dark on social media if you get FOMO (fear of missing out) from seeing what other people are buying or what sales are going on.
- If you want to earn a little when you spend, try a site like Rakuten to earn cash back from online retailers. If the thought of creating an account and earning points sounds annoying, then don’t do it.
- Save receipts in order to keep track of your total spending.
I hope you all have a blessed Advent and Christmas!