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Elf on the Shelf (for Money)

Many families do one of the “traditions” every Christmas play Elf on the Shelf with their children. The “game” consists of buying a book, which has an Elf included with it. The parents put the Elf on the Shelf in different places, and the children must find him (her?).

Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf

This Elf on the Shelf returns to the North Pole every night and reports to Santa if the kids have been naughty or nice (think of it as Santa’s version of the NSA). This is a pretty darn creepy-looking elf, and I am not sure what it is teaching our kids, but if you read the Wikipedia entry for the game, you might get a hint.

Suppose we had a Financial Elf on the Shelf that helped us control our Festive Christmas Spending. Better still, how about this idea, knowing how our friend Gail Vaz-Oxlade hates over-spending? How about a Financial Gail on the Shelf?

If every time you came back from shopping, a small Gail Vaz-Oxlade was waiting for you, that said, “What did you buy this time? Could you afford that?”, and every night she went back and reported to “Santa” on whether you were good financially or not? (if you were naughty, Santa cut up your credit cards).

Better still, the Gail on the Shelf can also go into your wallet and replace your credit cards with cards that say, “You Cannot Afford this!” and a picture of Gail wagging her finger?

An Excellent Photo for the Replacement Credit Cards

I could make a pretty penny selling this (of course, I’d have to give Gail royalties as well). Have I missed the point on this odd new Christmas “tradition”?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. The poor woman would be bored in my wallet… The last time I used my credit card was for an online purchase for a Payroll Compliance Legislation college course I started in Sept. As I am not in Ontario, (where the Payroll Association is,) I have to do it online. I get to do the same this month for the next course that starts in January. Wrote my exam yesterday and confirmed that I have passed the course. YAY!!!
    I have been putting money aside for the costs of this course since Sept. knowing it was coming, just like I put money aside for my annual car and house insurance and other things. So when the bill arrives, there is no panic about where to get the money to pay for it. So, poor Gail, I would have to find her a nice picture of some hunky guy to be in my wallet with her for her to not get lonely! Maybe she could teach him about credit card use!

      1. Not a show off. Got burned in the 2008 “no job, no money, no hope to pay the bills, forced into bankruptcy” mill. Now I am into the “I will not buy it unless I have the money to pay for it ahead of time.” plan.

        Went from Fat, dumb, and happy, flying thru life with blinders on, to disabled, out of the job that was paying the bills, out of school just in time for the recession to hit the industry that I had just trained for. I knew people in the industry who were getting weekly layoff notices, who would get enough work to last a week or two at the last minute to keep the company afloat. Not like they were hiring a noobie.

        I got hurt financially, and am still trying to recover. I at 52 have about 14k in retirement and no job, but starting at the bottom again.

        1. No worries BCM, at this point if I can help someone NOT do the dumb things I did, I consider it a victory!! I have a $1000 limit on my only credit card, which annoyingly was $1.45 short of being able to buy a ticket to fly from the Wet coast to Ontario for my last trip home. My card has been maxed about 4 times, which made Capital One happy, but annoyed them when it was paid off either the next day or when the bill came in. AKA no interest paid. I am no longer a very good customer, (one who maxes card out and pays for years), and no longer intend to be. It has a nasty annual fee of about 65 bucks, but it was the only way to get a credit card to be able to rent a truck for a move. I can also pay for my game subscriptions to a bunch of drunken Icelandic amazing game coders. Paypal takes 10 days to get me access to money transferred to them (way too long).

          But it all comes down to one thing. Don’t buy what you cannot immediately pay for and if I can teach that to someone, then I have succeeded! Besides! I am a showoff! Amirite? (grin)

    1. Creepy as it would be, maybe having a Financial Elf on the Shelf/Financial Gail on the Shelf would help some people out. Would certainly make me think even harder about every finance decision we make if I knew some little Gail-elf was sitting and watching me!

    2. I’ve never heard of this elf on the shelf idea – cute for small kids but the idea of a Financial Gail on the Shelf would definitely keep me on the straight and narrow.

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