Here’s the point

Take a look at this lawn. Together those Halloween decorations cost $4,000 to $5,000. Similar displays appear on several streets around where I live. To my way of thinking that is a waste of money, a big waste. When I posted the pictures on Facebook, a liberal friend made this comment.

And what are your assumptions about the household displaying them? Do you know them or their circumstances?

I know from experience he is accusing me of extending this spending to others. That maybe they can afford the display. Fact is I know nothing about the household, nevertheless it’s still a waste of money.

The liberal philosophy seems incapable of critically analyzing a situation, but readily accepts generalization as fact. Even worse, much of what makes headlines and political Tweets is based on survey results which are so often repeated they even drive policy.

Can’t come up with $400 in an emergency, living paycheck to paycheck, struggle to meet ends meet, can’t afford prescription co-pay, etc. are all prominent examples.

Surveys ask what you can’t do, what you don’t have money for, but they don’t ask how you spend the money you have, the money you waste, the things you buy that you really can’t afford that should be subordinate to an emergency fund or medical care, etc.

Anyone can live paycheck to paycheck, but we seem to forget the “live” part and only focus on the paycheck portion. Spending patterns make it clear that other than the poor and near poor, few Americans live within a necessity only budget, yet 43% can’t save $400? 🤔

Here’s is another recent survey (study):

MINNEAPOLIS – Oct. 26, 2022 – The impact of 40-year high inflation is hitting savings accounts as a majority of Americans say they are stopping or reducing retirement savings because of inflation. More than half (54%) of Americans say they have stopped or reduced retirement savings due to inflation, according to the 2022 Q3 Quarterly Market Perceptions Study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life). Furthermore, more than four in 10 (43%) say they have had to dip into their retirement savings because of rising inflation.

The study also found that millennials are the most likely to say they have stopped or reduced retirement savings due to inflation (65%). In contrast, 40% of boomers and 59% of Gen Xers said the same.

Do you believe it? The only thing to cut is retirement savings? 😎

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 120.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $1,070 in the third quarter of 2022 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 6.9 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 8.3 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.

BLS 10-18-22

That equals $55,640 per year for one working person.


  1. Lotta stuff. Nearly 10% of US households have so much stuff that they have to rent space to store it, at an average cost of $1,000/year.

    Long ago, as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, we got something that folks used to call the “Success Tax”. There’s a lot of talk about similar activities where you add tax surcharges onto individuals based on a single year’s high income or an accumulation of wealth over a lifetime. Luckily, later legislation elminated that tax provision.

    Seems politicians want us to live in a “Goldilocks” economic system, not too much, not too little, just right. Where they get to decide who has too much (tax them more) and who has too little (subsidize them to buy their votes). See IRMAA, PPACA, etc.

    But, there’s a whole lot of taxing and spending going on – shaking down taxpayers (apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis). I see where, in 2022, the percentage of American households who paid no income tax declined from 60+% in 2021 to “only” 40%.

    Long past time to suck up a larger percentage of any discretionary/disposable income so as to properly fund Social Security and Medicare – instead of willy nilly shifting that liability to people too young to vote and generations yet unborn.


  2. 1. What about Christmas? When the kids were younger, we spent lots, money, time, labor. Wasted? Great memories, great grandkids.

    2. I think cruises are a waste of money, A big waste. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

    3. What does either of these have to do with liberals?

    4. Bonus round, liberal meme? “Please don’t say that inflation is at a 40 year high without also mentioning corporate profits are at a 70 year high.”

    Ergo, why are my investments down 20 percent?*

    Happy Halloween.

    * Knock on wood.


  3. Holidays are not the only thing people waste money on. But, I am just tired of all the people that want the Government or someone else to pay for their spending mistakes. College loan forgiveness is so BOGUS. Can we start an Auto loan forgiveness program, as no one should have to pay so much for a depreciating asset. That would be just as BOGUS. I did not save for retirement, because I never made more than $35,000 during my 27 years of work. Average income $15,000 per year. I knew in my 20s that military service was my retirement plan. Everyone is free to spend their money how ever they want, but just remember, a fool and his money are soon parted. I now live well on $40,000 per year. I watch every dime I spend nowadays. I just purchased a 2020 Ford Edge that I had been leasing since new, for $21,807. The 48 month loan will be paid off in just 20 months, saving me over $2,000 in interest. I just made 4 – $518.72 payments in the last week, current balance $19,810.01. How can I do this? By saying NO to myself and wife. Nothing extra, no eating out, no vacation, etc., until the loan is paid off. The grandkids will still get Birthday and Christmas gifts as it is just $800 total and in the budget. Anything is possible if you do the math and only cover NEEDS for 20 months.


  4. I am all for the decorations but don’t ask me to forgive your student loans if you have them.

    Also, where do they store all these decorations. Is that why we have so many self store businesses? Is that another $125-$150 a month?

    I think several people missed the point. I have a friend currently on life support at about age 70. Works for the city. Couldn’t afford to retire. Lost his house about a decade ago. But for every holiday, he has had a yard full of decorations. Yet he couldn’t afford to retire on a city pension.

    Decoration are like tattoos and fancy coffee drinks. Only get them if you can truly afford to spare the money.

    On the other hand, we acquired ours over many years. Only adding or replacing one or two pieces a year with a very limited budget set for such a purpose. I would like to think that was the case for these Halloween decorations but giant ones like these only became available in my area this year and they were not cheap $200 to $800 for each giant piece.

    Like I said, I am all for the decorations but don’t ask me to forgive your student loan or pay your winter energy bill if you have these decorations. Or ask for a bigger COLA.

    Otherwise, good for you and your neighbors. Enjoy them.


  5. Sounds like some people think we need to start a discretionary spending police force. Last time I heard this was still a free country and we can’t protect everyone by stopping them from making choices we would not make.


  6. I could not agree more with you. I know public assistance programs were not part of this article, but I believe anyone who receives such, their spending should be subject to review .


  7. Our neighborhood has tons of Halloween decorations. Almost theatrical. Families take walks the weeks before Halloween (Christmas), too, and enjoy the decorations. I see the wonder in little one’s faces. On Halloween night, our neighborhood is overrun with people. We had over 1,000. Many do not live here. Our neighborhood welcomes them. Many are generous and see it as a chance to share with others; some of whom may be less fortunate. Collectively, we’ve made some memories for families and children. I’d bet these neighbors can afford the decorations. They work hard to put up and then take down these displays. To me, going out to eat at an expensive restaurant with expensive wine is a waste of money. But that’s the thing. We each get to decide what is important to us. And isn’t that wonderful? The issue of spending when one can’t afford it is a whole other issue.


  8. Well, the giant Halloween figures were in front of some nice homes so I figure they can afford them or maybe work for the company that sells them. Either way it is not a waste of money if it is what they want to spend it on.
    The studies about not having $400 for an emergency always seemed bogus to me. Why $400? Why not $500 or $1000? I recently had 2 unexpected car repairs and both were more than $400. Also some out of pocket medical that was way over $400. So the I say why ask about $400. The survey about stopping retirement savings also looked fishy. I doubt if 40% of boomers are still working, let alone stopping their retirement savings. The figures for those dipping into retirement savings due to inflation? Is the percentage any different than 5 years ago? Some folks have dipped into their savings all along. Are their reasons valid? I don’t know.
    Anyway, back to those giant Halloween things, where do people store something like that for the rest of the year?


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