What do I do?
Do I spend money or save?
If I spend money I get to buy new things and since I've had my stuff for over a week now it's old and therefore no good. I need new stuff. I need to go shopping. I need to hit the going out of business sales and enjoy buying everything at up to 70% off. How I can I resist the urge to shop at the greatest shopping event of the year, the Christmas buying frenzy? 'Tis the season to buy.
If I go shopping I'll have to charge everything 'cause I don't have any money. My credit card debt is already pretty impressive so maybe I should save my money and pay my bills. Maybe I don't need another pair of shoes - I've already got 30. I could skip the hunt for a parking space and save shipping and handling charges and be happy with what I've got. Could I? It feels odd to repress the urge to buy. It feels dare I say un-American. Maybe it's not a good time to buy considering the stock market roller coaster ride, the bailout, stores going out of business, and foreclosers in the news.
But, it seems to me that the economy is strongest when people are buying. When people buy, manufactures make and hire and then those people go shopping. Great.
What to do?
I've wondered for a long time about the economy. I've thought about the mixed messages of buying and saving. Buying creates a healthy economy but debt erodes that foundation. I've wondered if capitalism will continue to exist in America. When do the percentages of government intervention and control change enough to create a new breed and where do I Ms. Consumer fit into the picture?
As much as I ponder the consequences of the changing economy I truly believe that it is not defined by its strongest moment but instead by what happens in its weakest event. America is the Land of Opportunity. As much as we love a bargain we love an opportunity. We seek the niche, we create the new idea and we hope to be lucky enough to spot the trend before anyone else. While companies go out of business, new ones file fictitious names. While the stock market tumbles, money is made by betting on the loss. While homes are foreclosed on, buyers welcome the bargain.
Economist worry that Americans won't spend a lot of money this Christmas. I'm worried that we will.
But, if you can resist the urge to buy more, if you can defeat the challenge to buy gifts for people because you have to, and if you can save your money than you will become one of the powerful in this weak economy. The question is what kind of power do we want, the immediate rush of a new purchase or the quiet strength of acquired wealth?