Presidents’ Day is Here, So Save Like a Boss. Or a President.

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Just to be clear, this post has nothing to do with saving money on towels and linens.

Today is Presidents’ Day, and to satisfy my curiosity,   I read up on how you actually spell  the holiday (see, and I read a bit about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two presidents who had birthdays in the month of February.  Before “Presidents’ Day” we used to celebrate each of their birthdays as a federal holiday.

After I got the spelling worked out (Spoiler: no one really knows the correct spelling. It depends on your point of view), I was curious whether Washington and Lincoln were good with their money.  After all, they do appear ON our money, so it begged the question, “Are they good money role models?”  The answer is yes.  Unlike Jefferson and Hamilton, who died broke, Washington and Lincoln were considered to be very savvy with their money.

Like so many American holidays, Presidents’ Day is tied to consumerism.  In this case, it’s all about the sales.  “White” sales on bedding and bath accessories are common, but apparently Presidents’ Day sales come in all varieties.  The idea, however, is always the same: “Here is a holiday!  You are off work!  Come and spend your money, because we are <wink> offering excellent deals!”

This made me wonder what Washington and Lincoln might think about such shenanigans.  My conclusion is that they likely would be horrified — Lincoln especially.  George Washington was a smart businessman who married into wealth and grew his family’s wealth through many different enterprises.  He lived in relative luxury for most of his adult life.  While he had great wealth, all indications are that he was shrewd with his money and wouldn’t have been inclined to spend money just for the sake of spending it.  Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, came from significant poverty into adulthood.  For his entire adult life, he was an uber-saver.  His middle name might have been “thrifty” from all accounts.

The lesson to be learned here is twofold.  One is the importance of saving money, so you have a comfortable life in your later years.  The second is the point I want to emphasize: Stop falling prey to advertising.   Buy things when you really need them, versus when all the stores tell you to buy due to some arbitrary holiday sale they are running.  Advertising is powerful stuff, and our brains are very susceptible to its messaging.

The best bet is to ignore it all.  Use this, and other holidays as a reason to spend time with family and friends, not to buy more stuff you probably don’t need.  Save your money instead, so you will have it when the real need for new towels comes up.

How about you?  What are your thoughts about the consumerism of every and all holidays?

2 responses to “Presidents’ Day is Here, So Save Like a Boss. Or a President.

  1. I completely agree! Companies have become masters of using our emotions and desires against us to open our pocket books. Even when we are trying to focus on savings we’ve occasionally fallen for the “specials,” but we try to keep it to things we have actually discussed getting at some point. One of the concepts I find helpful in these situations is to remember opportunity cost – every dollar I spend on one thing I can’t spend other somewhere else. If I can pause before buying X and ask if I want something else (like financial independence) then it doesn’t matter how big the sale is!

    1. Hi Monica, the worst part is that even though you KNOW the companies use emotional manipulation, you can still easily fall into the trap. I know I’m guilty of it from time to time. I agree whole-heartedly with your opportunity cost example, too. We just have to remember to use the self-talk when that shiny object is before us. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

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