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Posts tagged with: thanksgiving

Gratitude and Debt

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Gratitude sign

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Unsurprisingly, gratitude has been on my mind this week. Our family has been writing things we’re grateful for on a pumpkin (totally a #pinterestidea), and it’s actually been really great. Some highlights include “the ocean,” “music,” “Lego Batman,” “Harry Potter,” and “gumballs.”

One thing I’ve been thinking about is how being grateful has helped as we’ve paid off our debts. Debt can make me feel like we don’t have enough—enough money, enough time, enough things for our kids, etc. But when I look at that pumpkin or the cute weirdos writing on it, those feelings start to fade away.

The  Science on Gratitude
Research shows that being thankful makes you feel better. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, has studied the effects of gratitude on physical health for over a decade. When people keep gratitude journals, they enjoy stronger immune systems, better sleep, and more joy and pleasure, and they feel less lonely and isolated. 

How Gratitude Can Help You When You’re in Debt 
The more I think about it, the more I see how gratitude has made our debt journey better:

  1. I have a more positive outlook.
    When I focus only on the big gaping black hole of our debt, I feel scared and panicked and empty. But when instead I focus on what we do have and what (and who) brings me joy, I feel so much happier and calmer. I can appreciate the plan for our finances and I have more hope.
  2. I spend less. So much of my excess spending and money-wasting comes from feeling like (again) I don’t have enough—enough shoes, enough cool vacations, enough plants (too nerdy? just me?). It makes it easy to impulse-buy, overspend, and buy things in a vain attempt to fill that void. But when I start to count my blessings, I remember there’s such a thing as enough so I try to use what we have and feel content with what we already own.
  3. I don’t turn to retail therapy to feel better. I used to run to Target after the kids were in bed so I could walk the aisles like a tired, burnt-out zombie, buying things we didn’t need. And since mindless shopping ain’t ever in the budget, I’d feel guilty and frustrated afterwards. Finding healthier ways to deal with hard days—like writing down what I’m grateful for or taking a walk with someone I appreciate—makes me feel so much better than a new shirt ever could.
  4. I can enjoy where I am right now. Yes, we’re still in debt. Yes, I wish we’d already paid it all off. But I don’t want to wish my life away, so it helps to check in and recognize what I love about the stage we’re in. Right now our kids are younger and they like being home with us. They don’t want a fancy or complicated life—they’re happy with movie nights at home and camping trips at the lake. I could focus on what will be better in the future, but then I’d miss all the good about today.

Gratitude is a powerful tool. I’d like to say I’m grateful all the time and I’m never down or bratty, but of course that’s not true. But it’s been good to write this out and see just how much gratitude matters. It helps, it gives perspective, and it turns what we have into enough.

What are you grateful for today?


Happy Black Friday!

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Hi friends!

I hope our U.S. friends had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. I’d mentioned in a previous post that it would be my first holiday solo, as the kids would be with their dad. I wasn’t sure how the day would go – I’d expected for it to be difficult. But I ended up doing better than I had expected!

My day started off with a 5k run (not an official Turkey Trot race – just my own personal jog on my favorite trail, and it was a great morning for running as LOTS of folks were out and everyone was feeling generous with smiles, hellos, and “have a happy thanksgiving” wishes).

Next, I came home and wrote up a GIANT To Do List to keep me occupied throughout the day. It contained everything from cleaning to work stuff, to household organization, etc. I get the girls back later this afternoon and am planning to do our “Thanksgiving” today so I also spent a good deal of time prepping for what I’ve called the “Friday Feast!” I made our dessert (a cheesecake instead of a more traditional pie option, just because I wanted it and I figured that’s a good enough reason to deviate from the norm). I also got the turkey fully thawed (it’s been in the fridge for a couple days, but was still pretty frozen so I did the ice bath until thawed), and prepped the side dishes.

It turned out to be an incredibly productive day! I blasted music while cleaning and organizing and had a bit of a dance party for one. Before I knew it, it was nighttime and I hadn’t had a single moment to feel sad or sorry for myself.

If anything, I really enjoyed having the full day to get so much “stuff” done – I went to bed feeling very accomplished and caught-up on work and life “stuff.”

Plus as a bonus of the situation, I’ll be spending all of today in the kitchen cooking, so I won’t be out shopping! Lord knows, I don’t need to be shopping right now, even with Black Friday promotions, etc. Actually, I’ve noticed in recent years that the “Black Friday” promotions have mostly turned into a full week-long thing. Unless there’s one specific rare item that has limited quantities, you can mostly find sale prices throughout then whole weekend so there’s no real time pressure to scoop up “X” item on Black Friday because the promotion, for the most part, continues.

Anyway, I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday with your loved ones.

Did anyone go out to do Black Friday shopping? Any specific item you were trying to find at a good deal?


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