Hey there, Big Spender. This is your day! (Or, is it?)
Since this is a half-day in the markets and since nothing much in government is moving, why not spend some time on spending? Besides, we’re all sick-to-death of political BS. So how about we pencil-out a rational approach to this Black Friday thing? Seems like a worthwhile effort to us….
Why People Shop
They want stuff? Well, sure…they want or need things, but let’s go deeper. Might we suggest the very first thing you do is consider your needs and motives first? Then, if there’s any dough leftover, without having a credit card balance going into the New Year, then a want or three.
Needs are pretty simple: I focused on these in my book The Millennial’s Missing Manual. Since you’re far too busy (statistically) making Zuke Markerberg rich by giving his minions free content to monetize (without sharing with you) from Farcebook, looking at life in a Spock-like logical way may seem foreign.
To school, then: Your physical needs are Food, Shelter, Communications, Transportation, Energy, Environment, and Finance.
On the psychological side, toss in a few unbreakable relationships where unconditional love is shared along with some joint destinations in Life, and really, what more could there possibly be?
One answer is Learning & Motivation. In an information-dense world, other than seeking food and love, having better information and knowledge than others, almost ensures a profitable life.
You need to be a great generalizer. Yeah…a what?
A generalizer can read the foregoing section and distill it down into recipe form. Recipes are thinking framemworks to hang facts on. A great generalizer could sum up today’s rap as Buying with Purpose. Which means:
- Physical Systems: Food, Shelter, Communications, Transportation, Energy, Environment, and Finance.
- Your Investors/Interpersonal Supports: Are you reciprocating and expressing to those who give you unconditional love?
- Knowledge Building: Are you buying “brain power?”
“That’s Shopping Advice?”
Hell yes, it is.
Look, you’ve only got so much money and so much time. While Google and the Zon plus Wally-World have been conditioning you for weeks with Black Friday programming, it doesn’t mean YOU have to play the game.
You can take the time to be strategic about this. Basic Peter Drucker “Management by Objective” here. Are you just “… buuuying a staaiirrway to heaven….“? Or, as you squeezing every nickel till it screams?
Do you ask before every click “Is this PAM?” (Pissing-Away-Money…)
Divide Spending into Three Piles
Put dollar values on how much to buy to support food, shelter, and yada yada…needs.
Then, how much you want to invest in the people who are invested in you? You invest in people; they invest in you. Are you an emotional deadbeat or do you issue dividends?
Last, but not least, what’s your Brain Budget for the next year?
Make up three discrete lists. Needs, Investments in People, and Buying Brains. Shop one list at a time. Focus. No distractions.
The hard part is working on one list as a time. It’s OK…you can do this.
Look at the Calendar
Almost NOTHING on sale today will be more expensive in January.
A couple of years back (and almost uselessly, coming after the annual Consumer Shakedown *(Christmas), CNBC offered a dandy article “The Best Time of the Year to Buy Everything.”
Want to buy that new gaming ‘puter? Wait until after the Back to School rush in September, for example. Besides, if the trade mess gets sorted out, new tech and lower prices may come. If not, money in the bank is the best video game of all.
Check-Run or Gift?
If you have a little money and are over 60, the cold reality is your kids are probably already dreaming about your “check-out time” because they expect a little “cashing-in.” It’s a hard thing to admit, but more true than we’d like. That’s their mee-mee-mee bullshit coming home to roost. It’s ALL about them and ‘fessing to Farcebook. Freaking idjits, seriously.
That side, though, can a 70+ year old adult with a ton of Life Experience really select a proper and useful “gift” for anyone under 40? Probably not.
The quickest way to deal with The Annual Shakedown is to either send a small check ($200/child, $50/grandchild, or whatever works) and call it good.
Above All: Money and gift cards have an amazing ability to “fit all sizes” and in 70+ years, I have never heard of a single instance of cash being “returned.”
Cynical, cold-hearted, and pissy? (Me???) Oh, uh…sure! But your life is about you and buying off kids (so the lil schitz call more often than the week before birthdays) ain’t contributing to your next two week Southern Caribbean Cruise, right?
They’ll come around when they get on the pension dole and no one calls them. If there’s a world left, by then, and a few dozen other qualifiers…
What Do YOU Need or Want?
My “gift for myself” will arrive on December 4th or 5th. It’s a collectible ham radio called an Icom 761. I got it because in +55 years in that hobby, that’s the one radio I enjoyed most. More so than a Collins S-Line.
Made an offer on eBay and picked it up for $303 plus shipping. It’s a grand radio and you don’t know this, but I wrote and produced the soundtrack for Icom America radio introduction film when that radio first came out. 1970-something. I had serial number 2 and worked with Icom’s marketing department doing voice-overs “back in the day.” Nostalgia, right?
Elaine says he doesn’t want anything. She has yet to open the air brushing kit I bought her earlier this year. More than anything, she wants great health to continue so we have all the gym equipment she can think of…We study health and longevity and stay active as all get-out.
I’ve asked about clothes, but honestly, modern clothing is mostly crap and artificial from the ground up.
Mee-Mee-Mee has killed fashion, too. Elaine has a marvelous mink and leather jacket she’d like to wear when it’s cold. But with “fashion out of style” and environmental wacko’s anxious to impose climate Naziism on anyone who thinks outside their prison, she’s afraid to wear it. Who wants to deal with rude 20-somethings? No gifts for them.
We also take care of our things. So, Elaine still has clothes from 20-years back that are classic (retro) and are irreplaceable. Cheap modern fabrics and crap that doesn’t hold up.
Noto that I don’t try: I go through the list of potential gifts, that hit the ad circuit last month. “No, my Lexus is fine,” she insists. (Our 2005 was built in Japan and is heavier than the newer models, and just turned over 100,000. The new ones are a bit noiser on backcountry roads and the ride isn’t as good – we try a new one every year or two, waiting for better.)
She can have anything she wants, though, and knows it.
TV Costs and Risks
After Christmas sales will be along. In March or April, refurbs will be hitting the market. And while Black Friday 43″ UHD TVs are going for around $229 at the Zon and Wally’s this morning, I picked one up (when needed) in October for $169. I was patient and approach spending like a patient fisherman.
Speaking of Televisions:
Listen up here: The Portland FBI office Tech Tuesday has come out with a warning about high tech TV’s being hacked. Especially those with built-in cameras. Their advice?
- Know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features. Do a basic Internet search with your model number and the words “microphone,” “camera,” and “privacy.”
- Don’t depend on the default security settings. Change passwords if you can – and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible. If you can’t turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.
- If you can’t turn off a camera but want to, a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye is a back-to-basics option.
- Check the manufacturer’s ability to update your device with security patches. Can they do this? Have they done it in the past?
“As always, if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.”
Crime Stoppers Checkbook? Beyond the scope of this morning’s convo is electronic security. There still aren’t very many good, wireless, outdoor, high-rez, PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) surveillance cameras.
Home security systems with motion-activation (and updates) are a good investment, in our view. You can get passable for less than the burglary insurance deductible.
But, again, these too will likely be on sale about the time the late-winter “demand letters” start arriving from the credit gangsters.
Tools are a great “man gift” but more often than not, you can find either refurbs that work well, or hit the tool section of Craigslist as you can often find something there. Once your tool collection gets big enough, you can design and build your own specialized shop tools like cutting jigs, saw entensions, and such.
One thing acquired over the year that has been a great source of ideas and enjoyment has been old 1915 to mid 1960’s version of Popular Mechanics annual Shop Notes series. These are in print, make great “throne room reading” and will work when the internet fails.
Elaine’s “She Cave” (as my friend Gaye calls it) is the gym/art studio/guest room when we don’t have a house guest. Things “for her” included mostly computer-related items this year. Setting up Office 365 so she can work on her book in her cave, or over at her workstation in the house. Setting up the video projector to make sketching from photos (either web or self-taken) reduces time from art inspiration to canvas or paper.
We still haven’t gotten the 3D printer built and fired up, though it’s sitting there in the projects queue. Yeggi.com .STL files are slowly accumulating.
Good luck on the day and remember the famous words of Pappy Ure..
“You can only spend it once.”
And In Other News
Only a few headlines of interest, once we drop political BS from our holiday repertoire.
Amazon, UPS, FedEx cargo pilots seek more rest as busy holiday shipping season begins…but the reasons for this are pretty clear if you haven’t dozed-off, yet.
The lefty’s who are bought and paid for by the perpertual war and open borders crowd will no doubt scream upon learning Trump makes first visit to Afghanistan, reopening peace talks with Taliban. Trump may be many things, but this is a solid move in our view. Too many people – solid ring-knockers on down- are getting sick of the perpetual war model.
Russia as a tourism spot? Moscow Scoops Top City Prize in World Travel Awards. With lots of art and museums, we have kicked this one around. Relatively safe compared to other places. Numbeo figures show France is more dangerous than Russia if you look at 2019 mid-year crime index figures. (We credit France’s open border idiocy…)
Also, Russia is hooking into China; belt and road initiative (BRI), so here are 5 Facts About Russia’s First Highway Bridge to China.
Gastown to Claptown? Picked up off Promed this morning: ”
The rate of syphilis infection in British Columbia [Canada] is the highest it’s been in 30 years,..”
And as I told you in my 2012 book Broken Web: “The Global Internet Is Splintering Apart and No-One Is Patching It Up.” We’re usually right, but also usually early.
With Dow futures down 42, a lot of next week will likely hinge on retail hype and predictions.
NY Fed dumped $88+-billion in this morning via repos. Since only $65-billion-ish was maturing today, we might be ready for a rally into the close. We’ll be watching closely.
More tomorrow for Peoplenomics subscribers…(it’s a dandy year-long gift, BTW…)
Write when you get rich, or when the credit card burns heal.