Being thankful can save money and achieve goals, so why wait until Thanksgiving Day to adopt a proactive attitude?

At Thanksgiving, we stop whining about what we don’t have and stop obsessing about what others have to consciously acknowledge things we’re thankful for. The shift to appreciation from envy turns this popular holiday into a feel-good celebration of what has been accomplished.

Those who honestly assess their genuine lifestyle needs and what they have actually accomplished, specifically regarding real estate, usually discover they are better off than they thought. Often they discover that the push to spend more money and acquire more stuff is driven, not by real need, but by the marketing deluge that hits us almost 24-7 on every screen and device we give our attention to. For instance, how did you discover you had to have granite counters, stainless-steel appliances, and +12-foot ceilings? Was it through experience or because of marketing? Have you stopped to consider the expensive down-side of these and other “must haves”? As well as paying more for these features, you’re taking on high-maintenance trimmings that may eventually become as dated as avocado appliances and popcorn ceilings.

Just as we often do when considering ourselves, we obsess on apparent flaws and shortcomings in our property. “The grass is always greener” thinking has us comparing what may or may not make sense financially for our home to what’s standard in over-the-top celebrity homes and price-is-no-object, made-for-TV renovations.

Start being thankful now, especially if you are in the process of buying or selling real estate, and you may discover how to save money and achieve financial goals that are yours, not those marketing campaigns have convinced you to adopt.

  • Media emphasis on “underwater mortgages”- where the outstanding mortgage balance is at or above the property value – can make owners personally devalue the real estate that would otherwise give them pleasure and comfort. Mortgages represent the cost of borrowing money not the cost of real estate since those who don’t need financing escape this cost. In hindsight, you might not want to buy what you did or at least the way that you did, but don’t let how you bought your home taint your appreciation of this roof over your head and place of belonging for you and your family. Make attacking that mortgage a separate issue.
  • You’ll save money on a few levels at once by buying real estate within a realistic budget, which includes making do with some less-than-perfect aspects of the property, instead of diving into “go for broke” renovations. For instance, many of the “must-change” reactions buyers have to their new home disappear once they live in the space a while. This live-with-it-for-now experience reveals to these new homeowners how to achieve more with less.
  • Black Friday is just the beginning of the “make shoppers shop” season. Listen to the siren call of shopping malls and online click-here sales and you’ve got some expensive weeks ahead. Take stock of how much debt you built up last year between Thanksgiving and early January and you’ll begin to see how much money you could apply to mortgage debt or put toward the down payment on a new home if you just rein in spending. Be thankful for debt you have avoided and you’ll get creative about how to enjoy the holidays and achieve real estate goals in the process. You may also discover more space and storage in your home if you decide to stop buying new things until you de-clutter. Maybe your condo or house is not too small, you just need a lesson in letting go and spending wisely.
  • Learn to separate what you genuinely need from what you think you want. When confronted with a buying decision stop and consider, “Do I really need it?”Take charge by being thankful for what you have. This makes it easy to take a close look at what you think you still need to spend on. If you don’t take an active role in how effectively your money is spent and on what, you’re letting marketers decide what you buy and how much you pay for everything, including real estate.

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