Thanksgiving, gratitude, and wiser holiday shopping

Black Friday rolls toward us in a tsunami of spending.

tsunami wave with a dollar sign
Tsunami of spending

But there is a way we can resist the onslaught of commercialism with our sanity and our wallets intact: gratitude.

Remembering all we are grateful for

If we are mindful of all the blessings in our lives, we are better able to resist the temptation to spend too much.

table set for Thanksgiving dinner
Counting our blessings

In his column “How to Defeat the Impulse Buy” in the New York Times, David DeSteno discusses his study on impulse buying. His findings reveal a lot about our spending habits.

Willpower alone isn’t enough

Willpower alone doesn’t help curb impulse spending, according to DeSteno, and in fact relying on willpower alone will lead to failure. Marketers have perfected the time-pressured sales pitch of Black Friday and the holiday season in general.

ad for Black Friday saying entire store is 30 percent off
Time-pressured marketing on Black Friday

Instead of relying on willpower, we need to cultivate gratitude.

Gratitude leads to what DeSteno calls “financial patience,” the ability to give up the immediate gratification of a purchase today in exchange for a purchase in the future. Study participants who felt grateful had twice as much financial patience. The takeaway for us is that financial patience can help us resist the temptation of those moonlight madness deals.

Cultivating gratitude can help us stick to a budget

Being mindful of all we have to be grateful for can help us stick to our budgets. And it can restore our ability to think clearly in the face of amazing deals, never-this-low prices, and limited quantities available.

This year when I go out shopping I plan to take a gratitude list. What about you? Will you give this a try?



Author: wiseabundance

I'm a technical writer trying to simplify my life and learn to live in abundance.

5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving, gratitude, and wiser holiday shopping”

  1. I don’t tend to impulse buy much, probably because I rarely go shopping. Well, except for Target. That store is a different story. It’s impossible for me to stick to my list there. I’ll have to try the gratitude trick next time I enter it. 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  2. I am likely a marketer’s nightmare when it comes to traditional shopping ads and ploys. The assault on my senses and play for my money at this time of year has exactly the opposite effect—I avoid shopping. On-line, in-store, through catalogs—I stay away. I refuse to step foot in a store on Thanksgiving, and you can probably count my “Black Friday” shopping trips on one hand with fingers left over.

    Of course, it helps that the nieces and nephews are all full-grown. 😉 So this has become a time when my husband and I can pass on the shopping and donate more to others who aren’t as fortunate as we are.


    1. I love the idea of skipping the whole shopping nightmare and giving to others in need. That’s a wonderful tradition. I’m very turned off by the stores being open on Thanksgiving. Those poor employees don’t have a choice about missing out on the holiday. Maybe they should staff the stores with executives and see how it goes. 😉


      1. Staffing with executives…. Oh, would I love to be a fly on the wall for that one! I think they would make Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory look like skilled professionals!


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