Who Wants to Play Halloween Scrooge?

Scrooge

Who wants to play Halloween Scrooge with me? Let’s visit with the Ghosts of Halloween Past, Future, and Present.

The Ghost of Halloween Past shows us a grocery store on October 15. In the back are a couple of aisles with bags of candy, plastic pumpkins, and a few witch and ghost costumes that smell like fresh polyester. No blowup yard characters. Or 50-foot extension cords. No flashing orange and black house lights. Or pet costumes. No assaulting of all senses at the store entrance.

The Ghost of Halloween Future shows us entire neighborhoods festooned with wireless flashing lights. Competitions for tallest and scariest yard holograms, many of which resemble politicians. Entrance fees to trick or treat in your own backyard. (Automatically deducted from your watch when you walk up to the first house.)

The Ghost of Halloween Present, or Halloween Spirit, intervenes and reminds us that of all holidays, Halloween comes with the least sense of obligation. Although the origins may be macabre, it’s a pretty harmless, purely letting-off-steam celebration. What’s wrong with going over the top with no pressures once a year?

Scrooge or Spirit?

Surveying the temptations, Halloween Scrooge says, “Money is better saved than spent, especially on wasteful things like bags of 100 Snickers and plastic witches.”

“But,” says Halloween Spirit, “So what if we gorge ourselves on corn-syrup candy and outlandish pet costumes? We need some FUN!”

Which is it in these tough times – irresponsible spending or mentally necessary diversion?

Spontaneous Spending Strategies

The answer is different for everyone. Do you ever have spending “hangovers”?

If so, you may want to try tracking your spending, real-time. There are apps for that (such as Mint, YNAB, or M1). Or an old fashioned little notebook works too.

Some people have a play-money amount, or even a separate account, set aside just for spontaneous spending. That’s more like serious spontaneous spending.

Scrooges Just Want to Have Fun

Financial planners may be the most notorious bunch for Scroogeness – failing to appreciate money as a tool for necessary entertainment. We don’t want to be 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 your shopping ahead of time, or spend with abandon, make your Halloween hangover-free. And Scrooge would say, save some leftover 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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