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Being Thankful for What You Have Can Benefit You Financially

Clare Levison
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For the first time in the company’s history, Macy’s will be open on Thanksgiving. The retail giant is no longer waiting until Black Friday to mark the start of the holiday shopping season. Instead, it has succumbed to the profit pressure and decided to welcome shoppers through its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Kohl’s and J.C. Penney will also be having the earliest openings they’ve ever had on Thanksgiving weekend, and they’re not the only ones to seize a Turkey Day opportunity. Target, Best Buy, and Sears will also be open on Thanksgiving, just to name a few. According to the chief stores officer at Macy’s, it was time for Macy’s to join “the fun and excitement.”

It was bad enough when Christmas decorations went up before Thanksgiving. Now we’re supposed to Black Friday shop on Thanksgiving? That’s why it’s called Black “Friday” because it happens on Friday, not on Thanksgiving Thursday.

I’m imploring you not to join “the fun and excitement.” Maybe you’ll have to pay a few dollars more to get the items you want and maybe you’ll have to do a little more legwork to get that hard-to-find toy, but I believe that your finances will actually benefit more in the long-run from avoiding those Thanksgiving sales, and here’s why.

We’ve become a society of instant gratification. We see it, we want it, we go get it, even if it’s on a treasured holiday. But you’ve got to take the focus off of accumulating more if you want to have a brighter financial future. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for what you already have, and I believe the principle of appreciating what you have goes a long way toward helping you resist the urge to spend.

Stores are already putting out their advertisement flyers, and I know it’s tempting.  Sure, you might be able to get 50 percent off a television or you might be able to score a coveted Furby Boom, but is that really your top priority? Let me give you a few ideas for things you can do on Thanksgiving as an alternative to shopping.

1. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. See their store from the comfort of your own couch, rather than live and in person during shopping hours.

2. Make a Thanksgiving craft. The turkey that you create by tracing your hand on a piece of construction paper is a classic.  If you prefer your crafts be a little more elaborate than that, I’m sure you can find lots of great ideas on Pinterest.

3. Play a game. When I was growing up, we always played cards after a meal.  Football is also a great game to play on Thanksgiving.  And speaking of football…

4. Watch a football game. There are always some great Thanksgiving match-ups you can catch on TV.

These are just a few traditional Thanksgiving activities that families take part in to spend quality time together. I saw a meme on Facebook recently. It said, “I pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving.” Make that pledge, and focus on appreciating what you already have instead.

Clare K. Levison is a certified public accountant and author of Frugal Isn’t Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better.

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