MGU 301 | Holiday Shopping

 

Christmas is almost here, and more than the chill in the air and the mesmerizing lights is the rush of holiday shopping. Indulging in this season of giving is indeed fulfilling, but that also comes with a challenge when it comes to your finances. Whitney Lauritsen is here to discuss how to eliminate anxiety when doing your holiday shopping spree, helping you save money in the middle of endless product promos and advertisements. She explains how to assess if the things you are buying are not only making you happy but nourishing you on a personal and much deeper level as well. Whitney also talks about consulting love languages when purchasing gifts for your loved ones, delivering a long-lasting and memorable impact.

This episode is sponsored by Simply Codes: simplycodes.com/wellevatr

Listen to the podcast here:


 

Is Holiday Shopping Giving You Anxiety?

How To Save Money And Make Decisions On End Of Year

I’m doing a solo episode to talk about money emotions. The day that I’m recording this is December 2nd, 2021. It was Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Jason and I have talked several times about our experiences. First of all, I am so relieved that I did not run a Black Friday promotion. We talked about this thought process beforehand but to come out of Black Friday after many years of running promotions, it’s a relief I felt of not having to send out a ton of newsletters.

I imagine that you, the reader, may feel some relief either specifically towards Jason and me or in general, depending on your relationship with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, and Giving Tuesday. There are all of these “holiday special” days, at least in the US. I’ve talked a bit about some of the emotions, which I’ll summarize. There’s a lot that I’m going to cover, but I wanted to start with that because it feels so timely. However, that intensity is still here, gearing up for the holidays because you may be making a lot of purchase decisions. This also feels like a great episode to tie in our sponsor, Simply Codes.

We talked about them in the past episode but if you haven’t checked that yet, they are a wonderful browser extension and iOS application that you can use to save money on products that you want to purchase. I encourage that you read the previous episode that Jason and I did together. This is technically a true solo episode of just me. I encourage that because we talked about a lot of our feelings about making purchases and I wanted to dig a level deeper into this.

Black Friday

If you haven’t read that episode yet, you can find it. If you do decide to check out Simply Codes, you can go to SimplyCodes.com/wellevatr to be directed to their website to check out their app. They’re an amazing company and I’ve had such a great experience with them. Let’s get back into Black Friday. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I have been working on not overbuying things. When it comes to purchasing decisions, I get a bit of anxiety and this is why I feel like it’s important to discuss.

I often have trouble making decisions. This 2021, especially, I noticed Black Friday deals started at least a week ahead of officially Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving. What do you even call it if it’s more than just one Friday? The sales start flooding in, aside from us. We did not do any promotions, so you didn’t get any emails from us about a special deal but I got bombarded with emails and so many ads, as I’m sure you did. Some of those I appreciate because there are times where I don’t know that a company is running a deal.

However, sometimes it’s good not to know. We were thinking about this how I started unsubscribing from a lot of newsletters. Some people refer to Black Friday as unsubscribe day because you are reminded of all these newsletters that you signed up for because they’re all coming in on one day. I was one of those people who was hitting the unsubscribe button a ton but I found myself hesitating with some brands because I was like, “Maybe I do want to know when they have sales.”

I felt a bit torn because, on one hand, I love to save money. I’m sure you do, too. This is exactly why Simply Codes is a sponsor for us. A perfect example was this brand, Cymbiotika. I have wanted to buy their vitamin D supplement for a long time but it’s pricey. Every time I would go and consider buying it, I would hesitate because not only was I paying for the product but they charged for shipping and tax. It would end up being even more than the daunting price point, to begin with. They had a Black Friday deal, so I got it. It was still pricey but it was less than it normally was and it felt like a great time to try that product.

I feel very grateful for that experience. Sometimes, you don’t know when a company goes on a big sale like that unless you get those emails, so that’s why it can feel hard to unsubscribe but the downside is that sometimes, you don’t have any interest in buying something but you feel tempted to when you see a sale and this is a huge marketing tactic. This happens at in-person stores, too.

You walk by. They have a sign like, “Buy one, get one free. A special deal today.” Our emotions are toyed with. We feel like, “We should do this because we don’t want to miss out.” There’s that FOMO element. This is another reason why I prefer Simply Codes to these big sale days like Black Friday because when I want to make a purchase, I can use their extension or iOS app to go in and decide if I want to buy something and whether or not there’s a code and if that’s going to help me make that decision.

Sometimes, people undergo retail therapy over and over again because they get a high from it. Click To Tweet

In a lot of cases, it does. I’m sure you can relate to this. Have you ever been interested in buying something then you go and search out a code for it? You find a code and you’re like, “I’m sure I want to buy it because I’m getting $10 off or free shipping,” or whatever else is involved. It helps you make that decision. Sometimes, you’re on the fence about buying something and you’re like, “I’ll buy this if I can find a discount code for it.” I’m one of those people.

Want Versus Need

There are also times where I’ll go to a website, be on the fence and I’ll use the Simply Codes app. If there’s no code applied, I’m like, “Hmm.” I start to feel indecisive. I’m like, “The fact that I don’t want to pay full price for this is helping me get clear on how important this thing is for me.” There’s also the other side that I wanted to share with you about all these purchases. I got into this Black Friday mindset this 2021 and I was trying to be very clear with myself, the difference between wanting something, how important it was, the utility of it versus the need for it.

Is it truly important or am I just doing this because it’s a desire? That’s an important distinction. This helps us so much with our budgeting, consumerism, businesses that we’re supporting and minimizing things. I’m in the process of wanting to minimize, especially after doing a multi-month cross-country road trip where I lived out of my car even though I was staying with people along the way and in some of the places I was visiting. I could only bring with me what I could fit in the car. Since I was sleeping in the car some nights and camping in it, I needed to have enough room for my body to be in the back. I couldn’t fill my car to the brim.

That required me to make a lot of decisions about what was truly important. I ended up bringing some things with me that I wasn’t sure that I needed and I never ended up using them. I’m sure you can relate. This happens a lot when you’re traveling and going on vacation. You’re packing your suitcase and you’re like, “I have a little bit of room for this thing that I’m probably not going to use but I’m going to bring it in case.” That was me on this trip.

MGU 301 | Holiday Shopping

Holiday Shopping: Some people refer to Black Friday as unsubscribe day. On this day, you are reminded of newsletters you signed up for because they’re all coming in on one day.

 

When I returned to where I live in Los Angeles, I have been looking around my home, examining items and the point that they serve in my home. I have this anxiety because sometimes, there’s nostalgia attached to things that you already have, which is interesting almost to anticipate when you’re going to buy something like how hard is it going to be for you to let go of this item?

I’m glancing at my periphery and somehow, I look at a crystal. This is what I happened to glance at. This crystal is pretty and it’s nice to look at. I can use the Marie Kondo method and be like, “Does this bring me joy?” It is a good question to ask yourself. At this moment, this does bring me joy. It doesn’t serve a purpose. It’s just something nice to look at but the purpose is that it’s the joy, plus it’s the decor. Maybe, it brings other people joy when they come to my home, which crystals tend to do. Thus, I’ll keep it.

Getting Stuck With Books

The thing I got stuck on where I went through the process that Marie Kondo lays out in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is I have gotten stuck over and over again with books. I rarely ever buy physical books. I am a huge fan, speaking of saving money, of this website and app called Libby. It’s a game-changer.

If you have not tried Libby yet, please download it. It allows you to attach a library card to this digital app and borrow any book. You can read and borrow almost any eBook that’s in the library system for free using your library card. You get to borrow it for up to 21 days completely for free. It’s like you went to a physical library and took out a physical book. You can also do the same thing with audiobooks.

It has changed my life truly because I love audiobooks. I listen to more audiobooks than podcasts, which sometimes I feel guilty about as a podcaster but I love learning and reading. I love the experience of spending time in the car, which I do commuting if you could call it that, driving around Los Angeles or cross country. Wherever I’m going, I love audiobooks. I get to do that for free through Libby. I am challenged with all of the physical books that I have.

I sat down and was like, “I want to minimize and I have 150 books.” I don’t know if that’s a lot to you. It doesn’t look like a lot to me but when I see that number, I’m like, “That’s a lot of items that I’m not actively using.” I decided to go through every single book that I have and decide, “Does this book bring me joy? Does it serve a purpose? Is it helping me? Is it adding to my life by having this around?” In most of my books, the answer was no but it was still hard for me to let them go. I felt this sense of loyalty to them. I had a sense of nostalgia.

There are books written by people I know. Some books were gifted to me. There were all sorts of emotional attachments to these items that made it hard to decide what to do but I decided that I was going to go with my gut instinct like I will with a purchase decision. It’s that feeling you get when you know if you want something or need something that’s in your shopping cart. I applied that to something that I was going to decide to keep, give away or sell.

Here’s another tip for you, and I’m going on a bit of a tangent with these books, but I’ll come back around to buying and purchasing decisions. Since money is a huge factor in this, I decided to use some online tools to try to sell some books. I found a great one called BookMonster. I learned about it for the very first time because I passed by their physical store in Santa Monica, California. I had wanted to sell books for years, so I went to check them out.

Perhaps you don’t have any interest in buying something, but you feel tempted to when you see a sale. This is a huge marketing tactic. Click To Tweet

They have this website where you can scan the barcode of your books and they’ll tell you if they’re going to buy them or not. Depending on the condition and how important that book is to sell for them, they will give you back a price. You can either send in your books to them, which most of you would do because I imagine most of you do not live near Santa Monica but if you do live near Santa Monica like I do, you can take the books in person and they’ll give you cash.

If you send them in, it’s free. They give you a free shipping label if I remember correctly and they’ll send you money somehow. I don’t know how they do that through a bank account or gift card but it was awesome. I sold about twenty books. I made around $30 from that. It’s not a ton of money but it was money that was lying around my home and that offset some of the purchases I decided to make on Black Friday.

Item Prices

Next, I want to talk about gifts because we’re in the holiday season. I’ll get to that too. I was buying for myself and I took the time over several days and weeks to reflect on items that I have been wanting but haven’t bought because the price got in the way or items that I was interested in and might be able to be persuaded into because of a great deal.

I made a list and went on to Amazon. I have mixed feelings about Amazon but what I do like about Amazon is lower prices and it’s easy to organize purchases, buy from several sellers and also be able to read reviews, which helps me make a lot of decisions. I went on there and organized all the items that I thought I needed.

I tried to get clear about whether I needed them or not and then also allowed myself to buy some things that I wanted. I thought about the purpose like, “Would this thing still be relevant to my future self? How long am I going to use it? What is the value of it compared to the price point and the resources it takes to make it?”

MGU 301 | Holiday Shopping

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I came up with a shortlist and I checked to see if some of these things were on sale. Some were and some weren’t. I went to their direct website to see if they had an even better deal than Amazon or the same deal, because if they did, then I would buy directly from the seller, which would help support them directly instead of via Amazon.

I used Simply Codes to determine some of the deals. The other cool thing about Simply Codes is it’ll show you all the deals, not just Black Friday. I was able to compare their Black Friday sale to other deals that were going on. Sometimes, there was an even better offer like free shipping versus X amount off of the price point.

Here’s where I nerded out and I imagine most of you will not do this but maybe this will give you an idea. I didn’t want to go overboard. I wanted to be clear. I’m also budget-conscious while paying off credit card debt, focused on savings and investing for 2022. I decided the best way for me to organize all this and make decisions was to make a spreadsheet. You could do this with a notebook or however you want.

I love spreadsheets. I love all the mathematical equations you can make and it was pretty simple. I made it in Google Docs or they call it Google Sheets. I listed out all the things I wanted to buy and what the price was. Here’s another good little tip for you. I looked in to see if there were extra rewards. Some brands, a great example is Head & Heal, which was a previous sponsor on the show. They make my favorite CBD. I’ve been wanting to buy some more CBD for my dog, Evie. If you’re watching on YouTube, you may have seen her moving around in the background. She’s a little fun reason to watch the YouTube channel.

I went on there. They had a great Black Friday sale and also have a wonderful reward system. When you purchase things, they give you points for sharing things and following them on social media. They have this amazing system and you can earn money towards future purchases. If it’s a brand like Head & Heal that you know you’re going to buy from regularly, not only could you save on a sale day during the holidays or using a code from Simply Codes, you also can get extra credit. There’s another layer on this, which may sound obvious to some of you but it’s something that I have not been in the practice of, which is credit card points and rewards.

Since I’ve been working on paying off my credit card debt, I have been avoiding using my credit cards but something about being in the mindset of saving money, it occurred to me that I could use my credit card to get some rewards and also pay off my credit card that month not to acquire more interests so instead of buying with my debit card like I typically do, why not put it on the credit card and then pay it off?

I purchased a new Shure microphone. This is something I’ve wanted for so long. It is the standard of high-end podcasting. Since we crossed 300 episodes of the show and we’re about to hit the second anniversary of the show, I wanted to celebrate it and level up. I’m very invested in podcasting. I’ve been looking at this mic for a while. There are two that I was interested in for any of you curious about this. There’s one that’s called the SM7B, the gold standard. That’s what a lot of podcasters use and it’s about $400. To me, I was like, “That’s a lot of money.”

I’m very grateful to Simply Codes for being a sponsor. We have been building up the monetization side of the show. It’s not the primary focus of this show. It’s on the back burner and thus, we’re not always generating a ton of income here but because of the sponsor and the big milestones that we’ve been hitting with the show, it felt like a good time to get a new mic. Plus, it was on sale. It was a general holiday sale. Technically, it might still be on sale, so if you’re interested, you could go check it out too.

The microphone I ended up purchasing is the MV7. If you ever want to hear me talk about the exact reasons why I’m happy to geek out on it, so let me know. Send me a message, a DM or an email. That’s all listed on the Wellevatr website if you want to get in touch. I love hearing from you. I’d be happy to make an episode or send you a private message about some of these purchasing decisions but here’s the cool thing. I saw they were running a sale. I also looked into the specific credit card points or rewards system on one of my cards. It turned out that they had 5% cashback on a specific retailer, so instead of buying from Amazon, I went to that retailer, which was Adorama.

It’s the site I’d never heard of or purchased from before, but they ended up being amazing and a much better choice than Amazon because they had the same price. They had cashback on my credit card and had their own rewards system. If you bought something based on my referral, we would both get points, so both people win. You can add up your points to make future purchases. I stacked a Black Friday deal on top of a credit card deal and a specific retailer deal altogether. If you haven’t thought of this before, how awesome is that?

If you have thought about it, bravo to you because this is something that seems obvious but didn’t occur to me. It’s a great way to make things work for yourself financially and also get extra perks for something. I love all of those little systems. You can do this with gifts too. I’m finished talking about purchasing decisions. Before I get into gifts, what else did I buy?

This is part of the other thing that I wanted to discuss here. I was reflecting a lot as I was making these purchases on how they would make me feel. I talked about the joy element and want versus need but deeper levels of satisfaction. Sometimes, we make purchases in hopes that they will make us feel something deeply. It’s this retail therapy.

You’re having a bad day or going through a rough time. You’re hoping that making a purchase is going to change something for you but most of us realize it doesn’t change it. Sometimes, even when we realize it, we keep doing it over and over again because we get a high from it. I certainly felt a high when I purchased this mic. I was like, “This is a significant financial investment.”

This one, in particular, runs around $250 versus the $400 mic I mentioned but still, for me, $250 is something I consider that I don’t just spend. I reflect on it to make sure it’s how I want to spend my money. Once I made that decision and stacked all these deals on, I did feel this feeling of elation. I was proud of myself for making all the financial decisions that I made with all the combos of the deals and rewards but I also couldn’t wait for this mic to arrive.

I got the mic, set it up and tested it out. I still feel excited about this. I know it was a good decision and that makes me feel good. My headphones too, I got these earlier in 2021 and these were super pricey. I remember evaluating like, “Why do I want these specific headphones? I’m going to read some reviews. I’m going to see what people say.”

A lot of people said they were not worth the money but I still wanted them. Months later, I love and highly recommend the Apple AirPods Max if you’re willing to spend the money and are going to use them frequently. I use these almost every single day. I love the way that they look and they bring me joy when I put them on, even though it’s a material object. To me, that indicates that it was a positive decision.

People are tempted by sales and pressured by holidays. Many are obligated to give gifts, but sometimes, other people don’t need a physical thing from you. Click To Tweet

However, I knew this was going to happen. I was prepared for this. There are some things I bought, especially from Amazon and maybe it’s because I have a lot of mixed feelings about purchasing from Amazon. Frankly, I do it for convenience and they have good deals. I had a variety of things that I got. I remember thinking, “When that Amazon package arrives, I feel like all the joy is going to leave me,” which is a depressing feeling but an important one.

Purchasing them felt good. I still felt a little on the fence because I was like, “These feel like practical things. Do I need to buy them?” I got a new charging cable, adapter for my computer and some random things for the home that needed to be replaced or something I’ve been thinking about for a while. They were very practical so they do serve regular purposes.

I’m using most of these things every day, so that felt like a good decision but the joy wasn’t fully there and that got me thinking. I remember anticipating them. That felt good but then the packages arrived and I was like, “Here they are.” I put them into use and I don’t think about them much. That’s such an interesting element of making a purchase and that gets me to feel mindful about my buying decisions.

I’m not someone who buys things on Amazon every week. My sister and other people I know in my life are. They’re constantly buying from Amazon and that’s part of the Amazon system. You can get Amazon Prime and something could be delivered to you as soon as later that day. You get great price points. Amazon Prime, in general, has a lot of good value. You can save money using it, get free shipping, watch their video content and then there was a variety of other features I don’t even remember on there. It’s probably a pretty good value but the downside is that it encourages you to make purchases and maybe even overconsume constantly.

It’s one of those things that since it’s a subscription membership, if you have Amazon Prime, it’s a good opportunity to evaluate it. “Is that important to you?” For me, it’s not because I only purchase from Amazon a few times a year and not having an Amazon Prime membership has helped me buy less. Like unsubscribing from email newsletters, it doesn’t remind me over and over again to buy something. I have to make a very conscious decision to buy something and I also have an awareness that most things that I buy do not bring me this deep sense of satisfaction and joy that I hope that they will. It’s very temporary.

MGU 301 | Holiday Shopping

Holiday Shopping: The downside of Amazon making online purchasing a breeze is that it encourages you to constantly place orders more frequently and maybe even overconsume.

 

There are two other major things that I bought. One was not that exciting. I bought new water filters for my Berkey, which is also quite pricey. They’re normally $150 to replace. Mind you, they can last for a very long time. I love my Berkey water filter but I have been putting off that purchase for as long as possible because $150 feels like a lot to me but they had a great sale too and I bought some water filters. I don’t think I’m going to feel much joy. I might feel a little bit of satisfaction because I’m like, “I checked something off my list that I’ve been avoiding doing. I’ve been procrastinating it. Maybe that’ll feel good.”

Lastly, it’s something that was in between but we’re sharing with you. For those that don’t know this about me, I struggle with anxiety but I also have a sleep disorder. I’ve been sleepwalking for a good portion of my life. The past couple of years has been intense. I’m going to do a sleep study in a few weeks and I will record an episode about this because I’m very curious to see if I can get some more information about my sleepwalking but also address it on a deeper level.

I’ve been trying to address it in so many ways. I’ve used CBD. I use a weighted blanket, which is awesome. I’m obsessed with it. I use all different kinds of pillows. I have this amazing body pillow from Essentia, which is my favorite company for pillows and mattresses. Those things have all been very comforting. I feel safer, which is at the root of my sleepwalking but I still sleepwalk almost every single night, believe it or not. It’s frustrating. One thing I bought, which sadly did not address the issue, at least not yet, is called Hug Sleep. You have to go watch the Shark Tank episode that this is on because it’s a very funny demonstration of it.

It’s this thin sleeping bag that you step into and it compresses you as a baby swaddle. The idea is that it’s meant to make you feel safe and secure while you’re sleeping, as a baby does. It’s also an alternative to a weighted blanket or you can use it in addition to it. I used it for the very first time. It’s very comforting. It’s great for anxiety in general. You could wear it and lay around on the couch or wherever if you’d like. I’m going to try it out for a bit but sadly, I still sleepwalked. I did use their Black Friday deal, which is the reason I brought this up. I ended up buying it from Amazon. I don’t remember why. There was some reason I didn’t buy directly from Hug Sleep. Maybe it was a convenience thing and the same price.

Gifts In The Holiday Season

That’s a little backstory around my purchasing decisions on Black Friday but I also want to talk about gifts because we’re in the holiday season. A lot of what I’m describing can be applied to that, too. I struggle with buying gifts. Sometimes, I think it is related to the fact that my love language is not about gifts. If you’re not familiar with The 5 Love Languages, there’s quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch and gifts.

I’m into words of affirmation, quality time and acts of service being my third one. Physical touch is nice. I enjoy that. Who doesn’t? It’s not crucial to me feeling loved. At the very bottom of the list are gifts. I like getting gifts and giving gifts but they’re not a make or break for me versus for some people, getting a gift is the best way for them to feel loved, which may seem superficial but if you read The 5 Love Languages, there’s a whole explanation for why that can feel deeply good to somebody.

During the holidays, I especially like to give gifts to people who feel loved in that way because I want to make people that I care about feel loved but I also like giving gifts. It’s something maybe I’ve been conditioned into, which is something worth reflecting on the way our society encourages us to buy so much for ourselves and other people. I reflect on it anytime there’s a holiday, whether it’s a birthday, Christmas or whatever occasion out there that you celebrate or other people celebrate. I try to find something for someone that’s not just going to have meaning and make them feel good but also improve their life.

This time of year is probably so popular because you can get a great deal on gifts during Black Friday and other holiday-related December sales in general. It’s also cool that you can use a tool like Simply Codes to find deals throughout the year. Frankly, if you track certain companies, you’ll find out that they offer great deals year-round and not just during Black Friday.

There’s so much FOMO built into this time of year. With sales continuing throughout December and January, if you start to take note, you can realize that those sales are not that much greater than the rest of the time of year. You don’t have quite the urgency but the urgency that you may feel is in this time of year, gift-giving is so common and sometimes even expected that you may feel uncomfortable not giving a gift.

There was one particular person in my life that I felt so much pressure to give a gift to that it gave me a lot of anxiety because I wanted to give the right gift. I didn’t want to give a gift that wasn’t going to mean something to this person. It was like I was trying to anticipate their needs and feelings almost in a way, on some level, control how they felt, which is an interesting thing to examine.

Let’s break this down. Some people give gifts that feel easy. It’s like a gift card. That’s an easy gift, especially if it’s a Visa or a Mastercard gift card that you can use anywhere. That is useful but some people don’t like giving or receiving gift cards because they don’t feel very personal and they might feel too easy. I, on the other hand, am never going to turn down a gift card. That might be one of my favorite things to receive.

I got one from my family and it was a very generous gift card. I was like, “This is awesome.” I took myself on a whole shopping spree and got to buy things that I wanted and needed versus them trying to anticipate my needs. Gift cards are awesome. Specific gift cards can be great too. If you know somebody who shops somewhere frequently or has been wanting to go or do something, anticipating that with a gift card allows them to treat themselves to something that they may not normally do or never do because money gets in the way, so I’m all for that.

There are deep-thinking gifts where maybe you’ve heard somebody mention something that they’ve wanted to buy or do because this could be an experience, not just a physical thing. You’re buying it for them and it’s incredibly thoughtful but that reminds me of this TikTok video I saw where it was making fun of this woman’s mom who would write down the smallest thing and get her this item that she mentioned one time in passing but didn’t want and then she felt like she had to enjoy this thing that she didn’t care that much about simply because it was such a kind, thoughtful gesture from her mother that she noticed a little thing said in passing.

In full transparency or disclosure, I’m one of those people. I will write down an item that somebody said in passing for a future gift for their birthday or a holiday. That brings me joy and excitement. I remember doing this when I was growing up with my sister. She started to get annoyed. I would buy things based on our inside jokes. She would be like, “That was a one-time inside joke. Why did you buy this for me as a gift? I’m never going to use this.” That was a little sad to hear from my sister but reasonable. In the future, she specifically asked me, “Please don’t buy me a gift based on an inside joke because it’s not valuable to me.” I appreciated her honesty, so I never did it again. We can very easily get into those scenarios.

There’s also the scenario of someone buying you a gift that you don’t want, but they wanted to give to you. It has more meaning to them than to you, which is like the scenario with my sister. That’s my mom. She has given me early Christmas gifts. I don’t know why it’s so early. Maybe she got a special deal on it. She gave me this bag that I would never have bought for myself. It’s not even in my head.

I’m such a simple person when it comes to accessories that I’ll get a new purse or tote bag every once in a while. On another side note, I’m obsessed with this brand called Canopy Verde. Almost all my accessories are from them. They make wonderful eco-friendly vegan products with organic cotton and vegan leather. I adore them. It’s a small female-owned business made in the US. They make a great gift so check them out for yourself and others.

My mom bought me a different brand. I remember opening up and being like, “I never even said I wanted a bag like this.” This was something my mom saw and she was like, “I like it, so I’m going to get it for Whitney.” It turned out that I grew quite attached to that bag and she was right. It’s an awesome bag and I use it all the time. Sometimes, that happens. I have some presents that I got at the beginning of December 2021. She sent me these gift boxes. From the slip that came with the packing slip, I could see what was in them, which ruined the surprise. It’s clothing and I’m like, “I don’t want somebody else to pick me out clothing.”

She has done these many times over my life. Sometimes, she has picked out clothing that I’m like, “I would never have bought this for myself but this is nice and I wear it all the time.” I’m fingers crossed hoping that’s what’s in there but the reason I bring this up is that every year, I wish that instead of her deciding what she’s going to get me as a gift, that she would just ask me like, “What do you want?” That ruins a surprise but the whole point of this episode is that I like to have things that feel a deep want and/or need. Getting random things does not bring me much joy in my life at this point. I encourage you to reflect on this too.

Sometimes, it’s hard. We have all of these pressures and temptations. We’re tempted by sales and pressured by holidays. We feel like we need to give people things but sometimes, they don’t need a physical thing from us and this is why the five love languages are good to know. Some people are not fans of the five love languages as a concept for various reasons behind that but overall, I feel like the five love languages are a helpful way to work on our communication and deepen our relationships with people. Let’s say it’s someone like me. Gifts are nice but if you’re going to ask me what’s going to make me feel good, I would rather have a deep conversation with you.

The more you can understand the concept of love languages and get to the core of what you’re trying to achieve through a purchase, the better you’re going to feel. Click To Tweet

I would rather spend some quality time with you because those are my top two love languages or I would rather have an act of service. Another example of a great gift I received for my birthday was Jason got my car detailed. It was something that I’d wanted to do for so long. This was the first time I had gotten a serious car detail. I have avoided it in all of the years that I’ve had cars because it feels expensive.

Being a price-conscious budget-friendly person, that’s not something that feels like a need for me but now that I’m someone who drives cross country, spends a lot of time in my car and gets my car dirty inside and out, I thought, “It’d be nice for me to have my car look beautiful on the outside and nice and clean on the inside. It’ll smell good and will make me feel good while I’m in it.” I said to him, “For my birthday, if you want to get me a gift, I would love a car detail.” Jason being into cars, was like, “Let’s do it.”

What was cool about that is not only did we go to get my car detailed but we waited for them to do the job and meet them, being the people at the car service place. Jason and I sat down, hung out and caught up. That was one of the only times that we had done that because of COVID. The car detail shop was outside, so we sat outside in a COVID-friendly environment. This is back when COVID was in one of its iffy stages and I was being very cautious. It was a perfect gift because it was an act of service getting my car washed.

MGU 301 | Holiday Shopping

Holiday Shopping: Some people don’t like giving or receiving gift cards because they don’t feel very personal and they might feel too easy.

 

Emotional Nourishment

He didn’t do it himself, so it was like an act of service/gift but I also got the quality time and words of affirmation. It was like my whole cup was filled up if you want to use that metaphor. That, to me, is an ultimate gift. The big point of this episode, if I haven’t articulated it enough yet, is that giving some deep thought to what you’re buying for yourself and others and why and how much it nourishes you and others on an emotional level. How much does it serve your life on maybe a physical level? How long-lasting will that be?

An example is my new microphone, which is part of my work. This is helping me every day. I can look at this microphone and feel grateful for it. It’s going to serve me for years to come. It’s worth the money. That was a great purchase for me. A little story behind these headphones is they were a half gift, half purchase for myself because of the price point. The person who was gifting them to me, I said, “This is a big expense. How about we split it and your half can be my gift?” The person said, “Great.” I got to save half the amount of money on the headphones and they got to give me a gift that I enjoyed. That’s another creative way to do a big thing for someone.

A gift card could serve that too. If you can’t afford the full price of something, you can give them a gift card that can go towards it. I’ve had that done to me many times throughout my life. These headphones bring me joy every time I look at them and use them. That is the feeling that I’m after. The more that we can know ourselves and others, understand concepts like the five love languages and get to the core of what we’re trying to achieve through a purchase, the better it’s going to feel and add to our lives.

On top of it all, you can use a service like Simply Codes, which was a saving grace for me. They made my life so much easier during Black Friday and will continue to because I’ve been using them throughout 2021. I don’t even know if I got into detail about this, so I’ll share it. I started working with Simply Codes on a feedback project that they did with a handful of people.

They paid me at the time to give them feedback to experiment with their tool and try out new features. It was awesome because I love doing things like that. They compensated for my time and effort. I also got to know the people behind the brand. I was like, “These guys are great.” It came around that they were looking for more promotion for their product and I was like, “I will 100% work with you again because your tool is awesome and you are awesome people.”

When I was talking about Amazon earlier and my feelings about being on the fence about using that platform, it’s mainly because I want to support good people directly and support small businesses, Canopy Verde, for example. I know the woman who makes that product. I met her for the first time in New York City and I’m like, “I know exactly who’s making my things. I know where my money’s going to.” It feels so good to work and buy from someone like that. That’s exactly how I feel about Simply Codes. I want to be transparent whenever I’m working with a sponsor.

With Head & Heal, I met one of the owners, Karli, through Clubhouse. I was like, “This is an awesome person.” She asked, “Can we talk about a sponsorship on your show?” I had a meeting with her. She was an awesome person. If you haven’t checked out her guest episode, it’s fantastic. She breaks down hemp cannabis products in such a detailed way and then I tried her products. They were so awesome. I met her in person coincidentally and I feel bonded to her. She’s not an ongoing sponsor of the show but I will mention her anytime for free because she’s a great person and I buy her products. I support the business. That is important to me. It’s important to you and many of our audience.

I wanted to give a full background story about why we’re working with Simply Codes. If you want to try out their tool, they have an amazing browser extension. It is always active on my computer. It’s neat because when you go to a website, it’ll pop up and show you the code. It has this neat little light-up function when you’re on a website where there’s a deal, you can click it and it shows you all the codes. You can try them out and give them feedback. They’re working on some even cooler features that I will mention in future episodes.

Their latest launch is their iOS version, which is incredibly unique. I don’t know if any other similar company does something like this but you download their app from the iOS app store, which you can access at SimplyCodes.com/wellevatr. When you download it there, it will prompt you on setting it up through safari, which is the main browser on the iPhone, unless you configure it differently. Like on the computer, when you visit a website, you can click and see if there’s a code. If you like to shop on your phone, your iPhone specifically, it’s incredible. You don’t even have to go to your computer to try to find a coupon code.

If you’re anything like me when you don’t use a browser extension like that, finding coupon codes is such a pain in the butt. You know when you do that thing where you’re like, “Shure microphone’s discount code.” You have to weed through all of them, see if they’re still active and working. That’s why Simply Codes is awesome. It does all that work for you. If you see an Instagram ad, for example, you can pull up the ad and then with a Simply Codes extension installed, you’ll be able to see if you can get a good deal on it. That’s cool. I’m very grateful to them.

Plus, they have contributed to our show in such a positive way. I bought this microphone after that sponsorship came through. I’m taking the money, reinvesting it into the show to make it an even better experience for you. If you decide to check out Simply Codes, you are supporting us and showing us that this promotion works. If you ever want to get in touch with them, you can go directly to their website.

They’re amazing people that built that extension and app. You can reach out to me and I can put you directly in touch with them. They’re great people. That’s SimplyCodes.com/wellevatr, which is exactly how you spell the domain name and the Instagram handle. Our email address is [email protected]. It’s all under Wellevatr. That’s how you can get in touch. I want to remind you that I would love to hear from you. It truly makes this experience worth it. I got an email from one of our readers, Rye and he made all these incredible suggestions for upcoming episodes and I’m going to do them. It helps me out because I don’t have to think of a topic for the future.

If you ever have suggestions, send them my way. I’d love to hear them. If you have feedback, send it my way. We did a whole episode on cultural appropriation because somebody reached out to me, giving me feedback on how I inadvertently used cultural appropriation in one of my cookbook recipes. That helped me learn more about cultural appropriation. I created an episode about it. It was amazing all because somebody sent me a direct message. I want to remind you that you matter to me. I’m so grateful that you’re reading. I’ll be back with another episode very soon. Until then, I’m wishing you all the very best with your whole life and overall wellbeing. Bye.

Important Links: