Why Thanksgiving is one of the Best Holidays for your Finances
Happy Thanksgiving Frugal Financial Fives Fanatics (wow, look at that alliteration, actually, who says alliteration in everyday life)
You'll probably be reading this post on Thanksgiving when it's scheduled, but hopefully, you'll take the day off from reading personal finance posts to enjoy family, friends, and food. What else could be better?
While people may feel pressured to spend or outdo their peers on holidays like Valentine's Day or Christmas, there aren't really gifts associated with Thanksgiving.
Kind of Like the 4th of July, we are celebrating something, sharing gratitude, and spending time together.
Sure, you might be thinking "Gary, I'm spending $1100 to fly the day before Thanksgiving and coming back the Sunday before just so I can be miserable with nosy relatives and eat dry Brussels sprouts, hardly saving money"
I'd then shake you by the shoulders and yell at you to cancel your flight! Kidding.
But seriously why would you fly the day before Thanksgiving AND then come back the Sunday after, the busiest travel day of the year?
Sure, sometimes you can't help it, but I would argue if that's the case you should set a ceiling for yourself on what you are willing to pay, and then not go over it.
In addition, if you have the luxury of working from home, think about asking your hosts to stay an extra night so you can fly back on Monday or Tuesday. Want to beat the traffic?
Flying on Thanksgiving Day can not only be cheaper but also less hassle. Probably because everyone is either at the Turkey Trot or making sure they are parked in front of the TV for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (one of the best productions ever, don't even hate).
Anyway back to the moral of the story. Thanksgiving can be great for your finances in a number of ways, including the obvious ones like no gifts.
However, the premise of the holiday is stopping in our ever-busy lives to be grateful for what we do have, and cherish our relationships to share good food.
The more grateful you are, the less likely you are to feel compelled to buy things to keep up with the Joneses (or Influencers in this day and age).
You stop caring about keeping up with fashion trends, the latest technology, and epic vacations.
You start to realize you really like how reliable and comfortable your car is, how you really don't need a bigger house, and how cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a blessing because 90% of the work has been done for you.
Think about the farmers who grow the food, the factory workers who process the wheat, corn, and Cream of Mushroom cans, and the workers who package and test the food for safety.
The logistics workers make sure enough inventory makes its way across the country.
The truck drivers who haul Thanksgiving goodies all over the country
The workers who stock, organize, and price the food.
The cashiers who check you out.
The security guards tackle people who are stealing 3 boxes of gluten-free stuffing at Whole Foods so prices don't keep going up.
The point is, there is so much help we have these days to make it easy as possible to make the food we buy. I'm not even mentioning the ease of modern appliances in making food!
So, the more you think like this, the more you'll realize how good we really have it in the United States.
We don't have to worry about empty shelves, famine, or price gouging (at least not yet).
We don't have to risk our lives going to the grocery store.
We have hardworking people at places like the FDA and USDA ensuring the food we buy is safe and meets strong standards (another thing to be grateful for!).
So, before you sit down to feast, think of all the things you are grateful for, and you might just realize you don't want more materialistic things, that you're happy with what you have, and want to spend your money more intentionally (like working towards FI).
Tell me what you're most thankful for this year, and bonus for sharing your favorite Turkey Day recipe!