To Be or Not To Be…a Halloween Scrooge

Retailers want to know – Are you ready? Got enough candy? Bought your pre-carved pumpkin? How about costumes for Lucky and Whiskers? When it comes to Halloween spending, it seems they’ve thought of a million different ways to get Americans to celebrate.

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 simply, pure discretionary fun.

So what if we spend money on corn-syrup candy and pet costumes? Which is it – unnecessary, irresponsible spending (as a Halloween Scrooge might say) or necessary, letting-off-steam, fun?

To answer for yourself, think about these 3 questions:

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

2) Have you ever tracked your discretionary spending?

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

Financial planners ourselves may be the most guilty bunch of failing to appreciate money as a tool for bringing spontaneous fun to our lives. We don’t want to be the unwitting 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 see who comes knocking on 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, you could call your financial planner….or at least, hide the leftover candy until Christmas.

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® runs an hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice virtually from her Tampa Bay, Florida office. She also works with clients throughout the U.S. (except Texas) interested in retirement and tax planning advice without product sales or investment management. Holly 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."

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