One day after Christmas, I would like to ask you a question. How much did you spend on Christmas? If you are like most Americans, you probably would answer that you spent more than you planned to spend.
Dave Ramsey estimates that half of all Christmas shoppers will spend more than they planned and will go further into debt. It is understandable. Advertisers started promoting Christmas long before Thanksgiving. It wasn’t uncommon to see some Christmas decorations and ads alongside Halloween displays. Consumer groups estimate that credit card companies alone spent more than $150 million on advertising and promotions. It is easy to see why so many Americans get caught up in the consumerist mentality during the Christmas season.
In my book, Making the Most of Your Money in Tough Times, I devote a chapter to materialism and consumerism. We live in a culture that encourages us to spend and not to save. It seduces us into thinking that we need all sorts of products and services to be happy.
The more we buy, the more indebted we become. The Bible warns about this. Proverbs 21:17 says, “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.”
In our lifetime we have lots of money that flows through our hands, and we need to make wiser choices. Consider that a person who makes just $25,000 a year will have (in his lifetime) a million dollars pass through his hands. The median family income in America is twice that. That means that two million dollars will pass through the average American family’s hands.
The more we buy, the less happy we are. Once again, the Bible warns us about this. Haggai 1:5-6 says, “Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”
If you are feeling the post-holiday blues because of your spending, I recommend you make a resolution to change your spending behavior.