I dot know what I find more disturbing about Black Friday, the crowds that have actually trampled people to death or the fact that our culture celebrates materialism during the Christmas season? But I guess that’s neither here nor there for this article, in which I will be analyzing whether or not Black Friday is even worth it.
Here are 3 things you should consider:
1. Time vs. Savings?
At some stores, people camp outside starting days before in order to snag the â€œhottestâ€ deals. This is something I’ve never quite understood. I suppose if I were unemployed or retired, it might make sense in some situations. But is it really worth camping out for 12-24 hours to buy some TV for $599 + tax from Wal-Mart, when you can probably go online and find one for a little more (or wait a few months) without the hassle?
The point I’m trying to make is that time truly does equal money. If you are missing hours you could be earning a wage, you need to take that into account and determine if the savings will actually be worth it.
2. Is The Deal Just An Illusion?
As I’m writing this, it’s just a couple days before Black Friday. Guess where I was today? At the local mall. Much to my surprise, there were major markdowns at the department stores which were far more impressive than what I saw on Black Friday in 2008 (and that was during the financial meltdown, when there was supposedly very deep discounting).
For example today at Bloomingdales (which is normally way out of my price range) there were racks everywhere that had 40% off the already reduced prices. Most of those items had already been reduced once or twice. I got a name brand jacket that was originally $99 for only $24. I was speaking with the associate and she told me off the record that their deals on Black Friday aren’t even close to being their best.
In a nutshell, you may come across a few items on Black Friday that are truly a deal, but most of what you see is nothing but perceived markdowns. Don’t believe me? Then just run the numbers yourself and compare the prices to the millions of other sales throughout the year. Retailers know shoppers stampede through the doors on Friday morning with the mentality to buy, buy, buy so in actuality, the store doesn’t have to give a deep discount because they know you’re mind is already made up, you’re there to spend money!
More Gadgets, Gizmos and Sweaters?
Even if something is a deal, do you really need it? So what if that cashmere sweater is only $60, you will probably only wear it a couple times per year. The same applies to buying gadgets. When I was a teen I was obsessed with technology. Every year for Christmas I would ask for various gizmos (think Sharper Image) and you know what?
Looking back, I would hardly get any use out of the stuff, plus it would be outdated a year or two later anyway! Luckily I grew out of that wasteful gadget addiction by the time I became an adult, but even now I find myself buying things once in a while that just don’t get enough use. For example, I bought a food dehydrator last year and have only used it twice. Sure, I only paid $22 for it, but that’s still money that could have been better spent!
Don’t Get Caught Up In The Excitement
It’s important to not get caught up in our culture’s unhealthy addiction to consumerism. There’s nothing wrong with saving money on a purchase, but it only makes sense if it’s something you actually need.
Most important of all, ask yourself this question when you’re buying something; Do I really need this? Or could this money be better spent helping someone else? $60 could be spent on a cashmere sweater you will hardly wear, or it could be spent through World Vision to buy 10 ducks for a poor family overseas, which will produce hundreds of eggs to help feed them year-round. Which would you rather have?
This post was written by guest blogger Michael D. from CreditCardForum.com, a site that he created to give consumers a platform to write credit card reviews (both good and the bad) via an uncensored message board. Although Michael does enjoy his cash back credit cards, he strongly cautions people to stay away from credit cards if they’re going to tempt you to carry a balance.