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.

Want to build wealth and reduce debt? Take the Military Saves Pledge and receive emails and texts with tips, information, and motivation.

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | September 30, 2014

    The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. Sign up or get more info at tsp.gov

Saver Stories View all »

Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Written by Super User | May 24, 2019

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”

Read more...

From Shopaholic to Saver

Written by Jackie Toops | January 13, 2021

Many of us spend too much money on things we don’t need, but we don’t always know why. It’s easy to get a quick fix from retail therapy, but before we know it, our hard-earned money is gone. Oftentimes, when we engage in a “shopaholic” lifestyle or sporadic shopping sprees, we still experience feelings of emptiness, but to make it worse, we now have debt, too.

Khanmany was a shopaholic who turned everything around. She is active duty Navy and shares, “I was spending too much on things I didn't need. I was going shopping for no reason and was trying to fill a void. I was running up every credit card I owned to include Victoria's Secret, Military Star, Navy Federal, TJ Maxx, JCPenney, Macy's, USAA, and was only paying the minimum payments.”

Read more...

Involving Kids in Family Finances

Written by | April 19, 2019

 

One of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. By middle school, kids should have a good understanding of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

Read more...