What’s the benefit of Toy Sales?

Have you noticed that there is an enormous amount of ‘toy sales’ that occur at this time of year? It’s no accident; they’re designed to entice shoppers out from their warm houses and into the stores by advertising large discounts on toys so that parents can get ready for Christmas. 

In some cases they offer a ‘free lay-by’ arrangement which means that the shopper can store the toys at the shop while they pay them off.  What a great idea! 

As a kid, I often wondered where Santa stored all the goodies that so obviously couldn’t fit inside his sleigh. 

But in initiating a discussion on the topic this week, I threw in the thought that “toy sales mean that parents spend huge sums of money so that their kids can impress people they don’t even know or like”. 

It was an interesting debate. One argument was that some parents like the lay-by arrangements, as it gave them a chance to buy ‘big ticket items’ that they would not ordinarily be able to afford in December. At that, I couldn’t help myself; I had to float the idea that perhaps they could put a little money aside each week to pay for the festivities at Christmas

Of course, the ‘savings’ idea was then counteracted by mums and dads telling me that they mightn’t be able to afford everything on the Santa List if they did it that way. Whoa! If all the wants on the wish-list are being fulfilled every year, then I’m moving in! 

Using the lay-by system is a good idea, because there are no interest payments and the penalty for not making the payments is that the goods aren’t released till they’re paid for. But once again we’re conditioning ourselves to constantly paying off things we’d like to have. It means that we’re always living in debt.

 And I need to ask this question – what happens if you lay-by something now that your child has ‘gone off’ by Christmas? 

The discussion was not all one-sided. There were people who agreed that perhaps the children of today have high expectations of material possessions because constant advertising and peer pressure point them in that direction. These were the parents who freely admitted that they’d never be able to afford everything that their kids asked for. And that’s the reality that every generation of parents must face. Even with a million dollars to spend, I doubt that every wish could be fulfilled. 

Sometimes I wonder if converting a child’s bedroom to the equivalent of a mini toy store is just to satisfy our own desires. So I have to ask – “how many times have you bought a gift for your child because it’s something that you’ve always desired?” 

One father sadly admitted that the model train set that he’d insisted on buying for his son was really to complete his own childhood dream and it was only ever used when they were together. It seems that in this instance, spending time together was more valuable than spending money. 

It concerns me greatly that maybe we’re teaching our children to copy our love of consumerism and I’m curious to know if future generations will also have a ‘keep up with the joneses’ mentality. 

As I’ve said many times before – “the greatest gift you can give to anyone is the gift of time”.

So, as you line up in the queue at the toy sales ask yourself this“if I gave my child a choice between this wonderful toy and a full day of doing things together, which would they choose?”



©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

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