With Black Friday just around the corner, you might be wondering if you should take a peak at the advertisements and possibly wade into the crowds to try to score a great deal. Don’t! Seriously, it isn’t worth it. You’re only going to end up spending a lot of time and effort to not get what you want (because it will already be gone), while spending money on things that you never intended on buying (the real reason the stores give out the deals in the first place) — all at the expense of spending time with family and friends. If you are someone who wants to seriously improve your finances, Black Friday is a perfect gauge to determine how serious you really are because there are clear reasons why you should avoid Black Friday like the plague. Here are a few of them:
You Don’t Need It
Let’s be perfectly honest here. There is a very good chance that you want whatever you’re eyeing in the Black Friday advertising circulars, but the fact is that you really don’t need it. The Black Friday sales are simply giving you an excuse to justify that it’s okay to go out and make some purchases. While you may be telling yourself that it’s “too good of a deal to pass up,” the fact is that any deal for something that you really don’t need is no deal at all. Plain and simple, buying Black Friday deals in most cases is nothing more than a waste of money.
You’ve Already Lost The Game
Even if you are able to convince yourself that you’re 100% in need of whatever it is you have your eyes on, the fact is that you’ve already lost the game before it’s even started. There are people who spend days, if not weeks, putting together a Black Friday plan of attack strategy to get the deal that you’re also looking at. Because the mostly highly prized Black Friday deals are usually only available in limited supply, unless you have come up with an excellent game plan of how you’re going to actually get what you want, somebody else will end up with it and not you. Since the deck is already stacked against you getting the deal that you want, it’s really not worth your time to even make the effort to go after it.
Your Time Could Be Better Spent
If you are both 100% sure the product you want is a need and you are willing to put the time and energy into creating a plan to get it, chances are it’s still a terrible idea. It would be one thing if you could walk into the store get what you needed and walk out without any delays, but that simply isn’t how Black Friday works. The fact is that you will probably have to spend a few hours looking through all the advertisements determining what is the best deal, a couple more hours laying out a Black Friday strategy, a few more hours in line before the store opens, fight your way through the crowd in hopes of getting what you want, and then spend even more time waiting in the checkout line to actually buy it. Yes, if all works out perfectly, you may end up saving a few dollars over what you could buy the same product for at a different time, but the time spent saving that money has a pretty high time-value loss. My guess is that for the vast majority of people, the time spent getting that deal is much more valuable if spent in other ways.
Is Shopping What Thanksgiving Is About?
Here’s a serious question that you really need to sit down and think about. The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the few times when you won’t have to work, and you have a chance to spend time with family and friends (or do the things that you really want to do that you usually can’t because of work). The choices that you make determine what you believe Thanksgiving is all about. If you believe that Thanksgiving is a time where you are supposed to go out and spend your time trying to get the best deal on consumer goods, then by all means attack Black Friday with gusto. If, however, you believe that Thanksgiving is about family and friends, then that’s really where you should be. Your actions speak louder than words.
Is looking for a parking spot at a crowded shopping mall the way you want to spend your time on one of the few free days off work you get during the year? Do you really want to spend hours inside the store buying stuff, that you could get in a fraction of the time if you decided to shop at a time when there were fewer people about? Do you really feel like spending an hour or more waiting to checkout because there are so many other people buying stuff on this day as well? If crowds are your thing, then by all means attend the Black Friday store deals. If crowds aren’t your thing, however, realize that most of the deals that can be found in the store can also be found online these days, and can be bought with a simple click of the mouse without ever leaving the warmth of your home.
There is a not very well-kept secret that more and more people are realizing. Many of the Black Friday “deals” aren’t really much of a deal these days. Yes, there are going to be a few limited items that are greatly discounted to drive customers to the store, but most of these will not be brand name products. Instead, they will more likely be cheaper, inferior brands. The deals will also be limited in supply so that not everybody can get them. This isn’t a mistake. This is exactly the way the store plans the event to take place. The stores objective is not to give you a great deal, it’s to get you in the store so that you spend money on other things besides what you originally went there to get. They know that once you are there, you are likely to buy something rather than leave empty-handed and feel the entire day was a waste of time. Black Friday deals are no different from loss leaders at grocery stores. The stores know the probability, that once you step foot inside, you’re going to end up buying more than planned. The deals are there to drive you into the store, but not to actually give you the deal.
It Encourages Over-Spending
This is a difficult concept for some to accept, but the entire concept of Black Friday is not to save you money. The concept is to get you to spend money. The stores try to get you to believe that you’re going to save money because you will spend less than what you might normally spend on a product, but if you end up going to a store on Black Friday, money is not going to be going into your bank account. Your money is going to be going into the store’s cash register. Black Friday is consumerism at its finest, and stores have perfected ways to drive you into them and get you to part from your hard-earned money.
Hectic Shopping Isn’t Quality Shopping
When have you ever known a hectic experience to be a good one? The fact is that many of the major components of Black Friday conspire against you having a quality shopping experience to get exactly the things that you want or need. The staff members in the store are going to be overworked and it’ll be difficult (if not impossible) to ask any questions that you might have. There will be so many people around that you won’t have the time to think and consider which of the many like products would be best for your needs. Taking the time to make an informed decision with all the hustle and bustle around will be difficult. Black Friday simply doesn’t lend itself to be a day when you can do some quality shopping.
It’s The Perfect Time To Do Something Else
When you know everyone is going to be doing something, that’s the time to do something else. If you can’t get off during the week, the best ski day of the year is always when the Super Bowl is taking place because everyone is inside watching it instead of on the slopes. In the same way, Black Friday is the perfect time to do almost anything else but head to a store. With everybody else trying to land great bargains, and crowding the malls and megastores, that leaves doing almost anything else besides shopping crowd free. Take advantage of this and enjoy the lack of crowds doing something that you really enjoy.
You Don’t Have The Money
If you don’t have 100% of the cash on hand to pay for whatever you want, then any Black Friday deal is anything but a deal. If you end up having to put your purchases on credit card, any savings that you may have enjoyed from the Black Friday deal will quickly be eaten up by interest charges accumulated for not paying for it right away. You aren’t saving $100 off the price of a product if you end up paying $200 and interest charges over the time it takes to pay it off. If you don’t have the money saved and put aside specifically for the items that you want to buy, any deal that you think you’re getting isn’t a deal at all.
(Photo courtesy of crd!)