Tag Archives: black friday

The #Frugal Life: Mute The #Commercials

I clearly remember Super Bowl Sunday 2013, not because of the game, the highlights, the commercials, or the advertised specials. I remember it well because all the commercials were muted!

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I know that many of you are pretty shocked right now.

You see, a couple from church opened their home to anyone who wanted to watch the game and just hang out. In order to make it more interesting, the couple created an environment where – during commercials – the TV was muted and someone would talk about something they were thankful for, how God blessed their life, or something they just wanted to share with their friends. What does this have to do with Living Frugally? Everything!

I love John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. (NLTse)
If we say we are Christians then we are to be guided by the third member of the Triune God- the Holy Spirit. Often The Spirit speaks to us like a small voice reminding us of our priorities, goals, mission, etc. Advertizing for the newest gadgets, upgrades, new features etc. become competitors for our attention. The Spirit will not force Himself on us so many times the big sales and allure of shiny new toys wins out- tragic!

There is a reason retailers pay millions per second to advertise during the Super Bowl. It is the same reason that Super Bowl commercials are so much more creative than any other time of year. The marketers realize that it is the most watched sporting event in the world and therefore, it serves as their best opportunity to get into your pockets. You’re glued to the tube and they know it!

At the party I attended there was zero opportunity for these retailers to influence our buying decisions. I was free to remain in a thankful mindset, enjoying time spent with other Christians and therefore open to The Spirit’s voive. I was not tempted to spend based on an emotional response to advertizing creativity. However, the neighbors next door, whose TVs were not muted, were subjected to creative attempts at infiltrating their wallets, bank accounts, and credit cards.

Resist the Temptation

The power in having the ability to ‘just say no’ cannot be overstated. Imagine the temptations you would avoid if you decided, before hand, that you are going to say no to all advertising during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year’s, and Super Bowl Sunday!

It brings to mind the fact that many folks who have a desire to save, live frugally, invest, etc. are sometimes thrown off track by a commercial designed to do just that…throw them off track!

How many dreams have been wrecked because of one unplanned purchase which leads to regular unplanned spending? I imagine the answer is in the millions.

A well planned budget doesn’t include reaction or emotion-based spending. It is the result of a disciplined mindset that recognizes the importance of saying no to creative marketing ploys. My advice to those determined to live the frugal life? Mute the Commercials!

What about you , BBM reader:

*Are you able to tune out the commercials or do you occasionally fallen victim to those wily advertisers?
*What’s your plan for resisting New Year’s and Super Bowl advertizing tactics?
*Got helpful tips for your fellow BBM audience?

I’d love to hear your ideas!

#Batman’s True “Superpower”

Batman’s True SuperpowerThe Bat

To say I am a big #Batman fan would be an understatement. I love the flawed, dark character partly because I can relate to him. He’s by no means perfect and I love that. He wrestles with inner conflict, flirts @ the borders of what’s considered legal and he’s wanted by the law enforcement agencies he saves on a regular basis. Batman is called into action when the Justice League (Superfriends for those who can remember) is in a bind. He’s known for doing what other superheroes cannot.

I remember an episode where Superman, Wonderwoman, Flash, Green Lantern and the Martian were taking turns interrogating a criminal. They tried for hours on end to get vital information from him and got nowhere. Batman arrived, spoke to the criminal for a few seconds and walked up to Superman with the needed information. Flash asked Superman, “How’d he do that?” Superman replied, “You don’t wanna know”.

Yeah, I love the Batman.

It’s easy to think of all this character’s toys, his money, mansion and his fancy vehicles as his greatest attributes. However, you’d be wrong. Batman, aka The Dark Knight, has another name unknown to most- World’s Greatest Detective.

True Batman fans will remember a conversation our hero had with Commissioner Gordon on the roof of the police department. In this conversation Gordon gave Batman a riddle from a villain called The Riddler. Gordon thought out loud as he tried to figure it out, Batman walked calmly to the edge of the roof and prepared to disappear over the edge, having figured the answer in just a few seconds. Gordon asked, “Wait, you already know what it means?” Batman replied, “Yes, don’t you?” then vanished in true Batman style.Off the Edge

The intelligence of this cartoon character is one that is often overlooked in movies and Saturday morning episodes. But, we Christians would do well to keep it in mind. Think about it. Have you ever watched an episode where Batman fought the bad guys without first doing research on the criminals themselves, their tactics, weapons, known affiliations, etc? He’s often seen in front of his huge Batcave computer, typing in information or looking through his microscope at some chemical compound or another.

Once the research is done he is then ready to face the bad guys- equipped with toys, vehicles, gadgets and the intelligence necessary to use his tools in the right way. If Batman didn’t posses this tremendous intellect he would be completely ineffective in crime-fighting.

The discipline of seeking knowledge and wisdom before facing a problem is very Biblical advice. While I’m sure Batman isn’t a follower of Christ, he does help remind us of the importance of doing our research before diving into a problem, business venture or solving our financial woes.

Batcomputer

 We should seek God’s Wisdom before tackling any problem, includeing money problems. The Bible is filled with examples of financial mistakes by God’s people along with the consequences of those mistakes. We need to learn from them.

Remember the story of Solomon? In 1King 3:5 God came to him saying, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Wwwwoooooowww! Can you imagine what you’d ask for?

(Honestly a Riddler green, 2014 Chevy Camero just flashed through my head.)

However…Solomon replied in verse nine, “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

#Solomon recognized two things of massive importance; his own ignorance and God’s infinite #wisdom.

This should serve as an example to us. Are we humble enough to admit we need His guidance or are we so arrogant that we tell Him, “It’s OK, I got this”?

 Judging from the sense of urgency on the faces of #Black Friday shoppers last month, I’d say most of us fit in the arrogant category. But, let’s get back to Solomon.

Verse eleven tells us, “So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!”

I could not imagine being Solomon at that moment, being granted such Wisdom-directly from God-that it would be unmatched by anyone in human history from that point on!!

The great thing is we can do the same thing! Yeah, you heard me, we can go to God and ask Him for the wisdom to tackle enemies such as greed, materialism, idolatry and worldly ambition.

Proverbs 24:13-14

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.

It doesn’t get any plainer than that. God tells us, in no uncertain terms, that wisdom yields a bright future. That’s more than enough reason to seek wisdom, in my opinion. 

So what are your financial hurdles? What’s holding you back from the financial freedom you dream about? How can you be a better steward of your God-given assets?

To find the answer to these questions, and others, we need to be Biblical Detectives. Seek God’s Financial Wisdom. Ask Him what your goals should be and which path to take towards achieving those goals.

One last thought from Proverbs 4:5&6

Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.

Sounds like good advice; besides, it worked for both Solomon and Batman.

Black Friday- Humanity Lost

You’ve had a day’s fill of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, some unidentified…thing… your aunt brought over, wine, champagne and anything else that wasn’t moving. You’ve, hopefully, taken time to thank God for your blessings and thanked those around you for how they’ve blessed your life or been there for you in some way or another.

 

Thanksgiving is a time when we set aside materialism, lift our eyes to Heaven and just say, Thank You!

 

(insert calming breath of gratitude here)

 

The day following this yearly day of thanks has become a dark day in this bloggers opinion. Instead of relaxing with family, continuing to be thankful and enjoying time off to relax and rejuvinate, it’s been replaced with the tention that comes with freezing in long lines outside our favorite retail stores in an effort to be the first to grab the latest products. Folks are sacrificing over a day and a half away from family and friends, sitting in folding chairs, drinking hot chocolate & sleeping in shifts just to grab the newest phones, games, game console, designer clothing, flat TV or some other product that will be “outdated” by the time they gather next year to repeat this greed-based ritual.

 

Then comes the loss of human dignity and respect once the doors are opened allowing access to the so-called must-not-miss deals.

 

People are willing to trample over each other like animals if it means grabbing the last X-Box or PS3. Normally respectful individuals are so caught up in not “missing out” that thay miss out on the opportunity to show love to their fellow shoppers. The cut-throat focus is on getting, getting more and me, me, me!

 

(so much for that calming breath)

 

There are some Biblical principles that, if applied to these shopping frenzies, would result in a much more humane experience.

 

Matthew 6:19-21

 

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 

Imagine a crowd of folks, mowing each other down over the latest gadget. Then suddenly they all remembering this verse. They’d realize that the stuff they’re so eager to posess is not only temporary but completely unnecessary.  The truly important things are those that last eternally, the things of Heaven.

 

This verse doesn’t say that we are to never posess anything on earth, it is reminding us that we are to keep things in propper perspective.

 

Instead of dad running frantic through Toys R Us, feeling pressured to get little Janine that new doll AND get that particular game for young Jason, he would be of the mindset that his children have more than enough and that they should be content with the many things they already have.

 

Mrs. Jones (trying to stay ahead of those trying to keep up with her) would realize how futile it is to spend so much energy and time on the limited edition, top-designer perfume while missing out on time with her grandchildren.

 

Matthew 6:33

 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 

Man, I love this verse! Can you imagine what this world would look like if we all sought after the things of God first and let everything else fall where they may? We’d all want to please Him by loving Him and keeping His commandments which includes the golden rule found in Matthew 7:12:

 

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

 

I’d love to see a black Friday where this is practiced- patient people, lovingly letting others go infront of them, letting the other person grab the last of the hottest item off the shelf, polite excuse me’s, smiles & harmony.

 

Imagine that!!

 

As I write this blog on Friday November 27th, 2013, there are folks out there commiting these acts of greed and selfishness. My honest prayer is that as they treat each other with such disrespect, enslaved by the advertizing of retailers, that these verses and the peace of Christ will overwhelm them and bring them back into the realization that Thanksgiving is not a day on the calendar, it’s a way of life!

As it stands Black Friday just reminds me of Humanity Lost. I pray the Black Fridays of the future are characterized by more humane, compassionate and thankful human hearts.