Three Things About Money That I Learned from Hallmark Movies

The leaves have fallen, the air is crisp, and the flavors have shifted from pumpkin spice to peppermint mocha. Yes, it’s winter and time for the television programming lineup to be filled with movies that have improbable plot twists and lots of foreign princes. Yet aside from the epically decorated houses, the fake snow, and the cheesy love stories, you can actually learn some money lessons from these holiday flicks.

  1. Always have an emergency fund. It seems like the heroes and heroines in these movies always get into lots of trouble because they don’t have a rainy-day fund in a separate account kept in a financial institution. A big-city architect trapped in a small town due to car trouble, a book store owner out of work because of a corporate takeover, a single parent who can’t afford the plane ticket home for the holidays. All of these folks could save themselves a lot of heartache by automatically setting aside a few dollars from each paycheck.
  2. Experiences are better than things. Baking cookies for Santa, ice skating on a frozen pond, playing board games. These, not a pile of toys and electronic gadgets, are what memories are made of. Psychologists have shown that we are happier living in the moment and anticipating experiences rather than consuming things. So keep this in mind when thinking about gift-giving, and perhaps offer to rake someone’s leaves or wash their car rather than give them a fruit cake.
  3. The best things in life are free. These movies are full of stories where love triumphs over a fat bank account. For example, the rich heiress who thinks everyone is after her for her money ends up finding true love with a poor lawyer at a masked ball. Or the duchess who switches places with a lookalike baker and finds that money isn’t everything.

 From a personal finance point of view, you can find a lot of FREE stuff out there. You can check out books, movies, and games from your local library, get a free pass to the National Parks, or even use a calming meditation app (courtesy of Blue Star Families) and not have to spend a dime.

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