Are You a Halloween Scrooge?

Retailers want to know – Are you ready? Got candy? How about those pre-carved pumpkins? And costumes for Lucky and Whiskers? When it comes to Halloween celebration, it seems there are a million different ways to get Americans to spend money.

And what’s wrong with it? Compared to the other big consumer holidays, Halloween comes with the least sense of duty and obligation. It’s more simple pure fun.

Yet with the temptation to spend comes our inner (or external) Scrooge – “Money is better saved than spent, especially on wasteful things like Snickers and plastic witches.”

But, says our fun-loving side, so what if we spend money on corn-syrup candy and pet costumes?

Which is it in these tough times – irresponsible spending or mentally necessary, letting-off-steam, fun?

If you ever have Scroogish second thoughts about spending on fun, ask these 3 questions:

1) Do you ever have spending “hangovers,” and suspect you may spend too much on spontaneity?

2) Have you ever tracked your discretionary spending?

3) Do you have a play-money amount set aside in your cash flow plan to spend however you like?

Financial planners ourselves may be the most guilty bunch of failing to appreciate money as a tool for spontaneous fun. We don’t want to be the spending Scrooge to anyone – not our clients, nor our families, yet our analytical nature can sometimes come across that way. Spending with healthy enjoyment is one of the greatest balancing acts we can all learn.

Whether you plan it all out ahead of time, or spend with abandon for October 31, make your Halloween hangover-free. Enjoy the holiday in the way that seems right for you. And if you’re still not sure about spending, you could call your financial planner….or at least, save some of the candy for Christmas stockings.

To show financial planners can have a little fun, enjoy this flashback Halloween Scrooge video:

Holly Donaldson

Holly P. Donaldson, CFP® writes and consults on the psychology of money. Her fee-only, product-free financial planning practice focuses on increasing financial self-efficacy for those seeking a financial navigator to help them make good decisions. She is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch." With a fully virtual practice in Seminole, Florida, she primarily serves clients located in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas. Holly will also work with clients who are a good fit located elsewhere in the United States.

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