Last week I was glad Mr. Groovy took up the cause to write a Thanksgiving post. I wasn’t in a gratitude state-of-mind. Maybe I was still lolling in loserdom from my latest post about TEDx Talks. To make myself feel better, I put out a call to our follow bloggers for links to their Thanksgiving posts to assist Mr. Groovy. “We’ll include links to their gratitude posts and spread more positive vibes,” I rationalized. But when Mr. Groovy asked me to do a rough edit of his post on Tuesday, I realized he wasn’t writing about Thanksgiving at all! Crap! I dropped the ball on Thanksgiving!
I don’t know exactly how I got the idea Mr. Groovy was writing about Thanksgiving. I suppose I heard what I wanted to hear during a conversation. After all, we’re together almost 24/7 and at times we tune each other out. Meanwhile, links to well-crafted and thoughtful Thanksgiving posts from my fellow bloggers began arriving. I was not about to squander the opportunity.
So now that the holiday has come and gone, the bloat has come and gone, Black Friday has come and gone, and the haze in my head is dissipating, I want to share how the personal finance blogosphere spread Thanksgiving holiday cheer.
Physician on Fire expressed his thankfulness by giving himself a gift that keeps on giving. He opened a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) with Vanguard to the tune of $100,256.43. Now he has funds at the ready to donate to any 501(c)(3) charitable organizations of his choice, as outlined in his investor policy statement. And he’s able to extend this level of generosity without sacrificing his family’s future. Bravo PoF! I’m following along your journey.
Also feeling charitable, Michael over at Financially Alert challenged his readers to convert a comment into a gift. As a bonus, Michael will select a charitable organization mentioned in the comments to receive $100. Watch for the drawing on December 5th. And Bill from Family Finance Favs described how he discusses charitable giving with his children. He injects a bit of data about their average allocations to nudge them along. But I love that he lets them decide what portion of their birthday money, holiday money, etc. goes to charity.
Next up are two posts about subjects many of us fretted over this Thanksgiving—talking about money at the Thanksgiving dinner table, and the even more dreaded subject—politics! Ms. Our Next Life penned a guest post on Think Save Retire about breaking the social taboo of discussing money with family. She offered tips for making conversation without hurting feelings and without being judgmental. And Linda at Brooklyn Bread focused on ways to avoid confrontations about politics with family members. She recommended focusing on issues, not personalities. And yes, she mentioned lots of alcohol if all else fails.
Liz from Chief Mom Officer put up a colorful infographic with fun Thanksgiving financial facts. I learned Mr. Groovy and I are among the 4.6 million Americans who travel more than 50 miles for turkey! And Tawcan offered 10 steps for avoiding Black Friday madness. My favorite is #4—throw your car keys in a bowl of water and stick the bowl in the freezer. Then, unplug your internet connection. Talk about deprivation!
Many personal finance bloggers wrote about gratitude for Thanksgiving. Erith at Cracking Retirement made a short and simple list of things she’s grateful for. I hope to find a hobby as equally fulfilling as metal work is for Erith. By the way, her post was inspired by Cait Flanders, who shared 50 things to be grateful for. Cait’s post is based on entries from her gratitude journal. One of the most simple, basic things Cait is grateful for is an endless supply of clean drinking water. I was curious to find a statistic on that and through an effortless Google search, I found that 650 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water. Can any of us imagine living like that day in and day out?
In his post Thanksgiving: More Than Money, Mr. Apathy Ends offered up a sweet list of things he’s grateful for this past year. It’s heartwarming to see his mention of a visit he had with his sister which made him feel like a college kid again. And on the subject of family, Ellie over at The Chedda discussed her financial un-independence. She disclosed that Mr. Chedda’s parents gifted him $14,000 a year for six years and that both sets of their parents paid off their college educations and wedding tab. Still, Ellie’s not ashamed of her lucky breaks. She made the most of the gifts she was given and didn’t squander her opportunities. I agree with her sentiment. How many lottery winners ended up with botched lives after they received big windfalls?
Matt at Optimize Your Life and Maggie at Northern Expenditure took a more philosophical approach toward gratitude. In The Ancient Art of Being Thankful for What We Have, Matt looked to the Stoics and negative visualization for inspiration. Imagine you’ve lost a material possession, or an ability such as your eyesight. After contemplating the loss and thinking how you’d feel or act, return to reality. Perhaps you might find you have a greater sense of appreciation for the fact that you still have those things. In Maggie’s Grateful Year-in-Review post, she explained how to perform a practical gratitude exercise. Compare your circumstances from last year to this year. Pick two things that are better this year and focus on the growth, not the negative.
In Gratitude Helps our Budget, Matt at Distilled Dollar discussed how gratitude makes us happy, and happiness curbs our urge to spend. He also pointed out that gratitude is free! In an earlier post about gratitude, Amanda at Centsibly Rich agreed that gratitude helps us spend less money. When we develop a habit of gratitude, our wants and desires change and we feel less of a need for immediate gratification.
Steven from My Family on a Budget also expressed how an attitude of gratitude can transform your finances and how feeling thankful rather than entitled gets you further in life. He said concentrating on others makes our own wants disappear. To that point, Gwen from Fiery Millennials gave an example of how she was affected by focusing on another person. In her post Giving Thanks 2016, she recalled a recent conversation with someone so down on his luck, he was living illegally in a storage unit. She realized that the amount of money he needed to pay first and last month’s rent for an apartment was about equal to the amount she often amasses on her credit card each month—and easily pays off! How’s that for a gratitude realization?
In his post Not Feeling Thankful This Thanksgiving?, Jon at Be Net Worthy recalled how he narrowly missed disaster years ago in a middle-of-the-night highway speeding incident. He also spoke with gratitude about how his parents escaped from tyranny to the United States, his marriage, and his children. Ty at Get Rich Quick’ish had a refreshing and original twist on gratitude in his post Learning How to be Thankful. He turned things we complain about into things we should feel gratitude for. As an example he mentioned grief—because to experience grief means we have known joy and happiness in our lives.
And finally, Penny from She Picks Up Pennies recalled that her first feature on RockStar Finance appeared last Thanksgiving day. She expressed gratitude for her virtual world of blogging buddies. She thanked her friends in cyberspace for sharing their time, talent, and understanding.
So there you have it. A little taste of what bloggers in the personal finance community are thankful for. And I wish to express my gratitude, as well. Thank you to our readers from Mr. Groovy and me for visiting Freedom Is Groovy—we really appreciate you! And a big thank you to our fellow bloggers who inspire us on a daily basis. We’re blessed to be part of a very special community where the level of generosity among its members is off the charts.
A special thanks to J. Money for unveiling the Forums at RockStar Finance. It’s been a magnet for regular folks interested in personal finance, as well as a growing group of bloggers. In the Bloggers Lounge we share tips, give advice, offer congratulations on milestones, and uplift our comrades when they need uplifting.
Another special thank you is due to Grant from Millennial Money who helped many of us from the Bloggers Lounge with our websites. Grant is an SEO expert and consultant who knows his stuff. Contact him on Twitter or though his website. Grant is also a millennial millionaire on a mission. Check out his 7 Millennial Money Mistakes.
If and when you need a pick-me-up I hope you’ll return to this post. Til then, I leave you with:
Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.
– Robert Caspar Lintner