Give cash for Christmas

If you spend $25 to buy me a DVD, but I would've only spent $15 of my own money on that DVD, that gift has wasted $10 in value. Joel Waldfogel has a new book about this called Scroogenomics.  He's got a nice summary of his basic arguments in a recent Slate article.  His key point:

Given the $65 billion in U.S. holiday spending per year, that means we
get $13 billion less in satisfaction than we would receive if we spent
that money the usual way—carefully, on ourselves. Americans celebrate
the holidays with an orgy of value destruction. Worldwide, the waste is
almost twice as large.

Maybe I should give more cash, but I'd like to think that I do such a good job with gifts that I am actually creating value by finding people things they enjoy for less money than they would have been willing to pay for it.  Steve Greene: value creator– that works for me.

Stat of the day

From Newsweek:

 Working mothers spend 60 percent more time each day on child care and
household tasks than employed fathers, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. And when a father faces unemployment, he is likely to spend
just one minute more per day—just one minute!—on child care.
[emphasis mine] (He will,
however, carve out 83 more minutes to watch TV.) Unemployed mothers, on
the other hand, spend nearly twice as much time as working moms taking
care of their kids, all while they too look for work.

Wow, that's sad and pathetic.  I think I'll be using that statistic a lot in the future.  Kim will vouch for me doing my part while happily employed.  Right, Kim?

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