In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘electronics’

Why simple is better when shopping for toys

simple toy shoppingThis year Christmas shopping for my children was one of the hardest year’s yet. When they made their lists, I let them flip through the toy store catalogues and to get ideas. To my surprise, most of what they put on their lists were electronic. I figured maybe these are just the items that are more heavily advertised. As I examined further I realized a lot of the catalogues were comprised of electronic toys. Even traditional games seemed to now include and electronic component.

Toys that play themselves

For example Monopoly now features an electronic banking version. The players can actually use a credit card! No silly counting and learning the basics of finance for these kids. They can just charge it and have an in game calculator add and subtract for them. I remember the banking and playing with fake money as being one of the funnest parts of Monopoly.

This year there was a whole section of mechanized robots, electric powered scooters and toys that required a smart phone to play. This would be expected if I were talking about older kids maybe middle schooler or early high school since they tend to gravitate more towards electronics by that age anyway. These gifts were geared towards elementary age children. Ages where learning social and developmental skills found in play are still vitally important.

photo from Walmart.com

I am not against technology mind you. Some video games are fun, can be a great time to bond with your child and can promote strategic and creative thinking. However, as I perused these catalogues it seemed a lot of these toys would basically play themselves. No building, pretending, or imagination required.

Toys that last generations

A few years ago, I remember listening to a podcaster who stated she sticks to traditional toys for her kids. She found they would play with the new toy for about a day, get board of it and return to their block, Legos, or dolls. She believed the new toys don’t engage a child’s imagination. They basically do everything while the kids watch. Because of this, the interest in these types of toys is lost after the novelty wears off. They are left in the toy box while the old favorites are brought back out.

I never really thought about this idea until my children became school age. However, I can attest that it is true. All to often (mostly at my husbands insistence) we have shelled out big bucks for an electronic item only to see them go back to playing Legos or Barbie’s after a few weeks.

That being said, this year, I was to late to the electronics party and most of these items were sold out.  Such a bad thing. When I look at the items my children play with most and always return to they are as simple as you can get, a notebook, pencil and crayons for drawing and writing stories.

These simple tools take them on new adventures, engage their creativity and give them endless hours of fun. Maybe my children won’t have the newest fad toy out there this year but they will have toys that have been fun for generations. They will have toys geared towards active play. Items to help them grow, imagine and create a world that is their very own. When holiday shopping this year, remember simple is better.

 

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Are you Black Friday is broke?

Black FridayDid you get bitten by the Black Friday bug last weekend? These advertisers know what they are doing, making you feel that you will totally miss out on the best deals ever by not being first on line in front of their big box store at 5:30 in the morning.

So how many of us take the day off work. We crawl out of bed, leave behind a sink full of Thanksgiving dishes to drive over the nearest superstore. Only to fight out way to what we are told is a great deal. If you don’t go then someone else will get all those sweet deals. Right?

Well, maybe not.

Remember it was only a few years ago that Black Friday sales actually started to creep into Thursday evening. It began as a midnight madness type of sale but then inched closer and closer to 4:00 pm. The Black Friday frenzy was overtaking Thanksgiving dinner. Retail employees we’re wolfing down their turkey and stuffing because they had to head out to work on a day that was designated specifically for home and family.

Luckily, after a few years of consumer pushback many stores dropped the early Thursday sales and moved it back to Friday where it belonged. However, that didn’t necessarily stop shopping. They just moved it to cyber space.

According to NBSNews Black Friday Online sales it a new high this year. These followed quickly by Cyber Monday show that more people are buying online for the holiday’s. And why not it’s easy, convenient and might be less expensive. Or is it?

The online ease of time sensitive flash sales are still tapping into a buyers urgency to not miss out on the savings. I know from my own experience that I have said to myself, “I better buy this (insert useless item I don’t really need) because I won’t ever see it for this price again.”

I don’t care what it is at that price I need it!!

The issue then isn’t the price of the item it becomes the fear that you will miss out on these insanely low prices. (which are usually not insanely low at all by comparison.) Advertisers have become so adept at creating a feeling of scarcity we don’t think twice about parting ways with our money for the Memory Form cat bed, (although cats can find comfort on a car tire.) We really need that water resistant shower speaker (can’t sing in the shower without one…oh wait you can.) Can’t forget about the Ukulele Starter Pack (because one day you will sing tiny bubbles in the shower to your cat on their form bed.)

Cyber Monday

Black Friday and its online twin Cyber Monday help you fulfill that Christmas anxiety with the words BUY NOW. But when you look at the credit card bill sticker shock is an understatement. I remember thinking “What did I buy?”

There is something to be said for the physical presence of counting out bills that makes you more aware of what you are spending. Couple a click of a mouse with the new internet urgency and you have the makings for an overspending disaster. That is no way to have a happy holiday.

Black Friday sales can be a force of good if you give yourself limits. Here are 5 ways to use the Black Friday frenzy to your advantage.

  1. Know what you intend to purchase before the sales come out.
  2. Remember most sales are cyclical and these prices will come and go.
  3. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer a single day event but have been extended to weeklong sales with most merchants so do not rush into anything. Take time to consider your purchases.
  4. Just like Santa says make a list of what you intend to buy for whom. More importantly make a budget plan and stick to it.
  5. If you missed Black Friday don’t forget you can still compare prices between stores and prices match at some retailers to pay the least for an item.
  • Most importantly…remember the holiday season is not about your Black Friday 50 inch TV or other electronic item. Matter of fact it is not about things at all. It is about  people. You are giving gifts from the heart to show people you love them. Despite what advertisers tell you it is not about putting yourself into debt impulsively buying to combat the feeling of FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out.)

New $$$ Poll! Which things are worth spending money on?

Sometimes it is true that you get what you pay for. What items or services do you feel this is the case? Here in this new poll we find out what most of you think is worth spending money on. We can all learn from each other so please expand on there answer in the comments. You can see mine below.

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