By: Anna DeGoede
Editor In Chief
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but the “holiday” many people eagerly await falls the day after: Black Friday. Or should we call it Black Thursday, Friday, and Monday? After all, many stores begin their sales on Thanksgiving day, rather than waiting until Friday, and others have extended the festivities to include the Monday after, calling it ‘Cyber Monday’. Stores across the nation announce their sales with great fanfare, encouraging consumers to shop to their hearts’ content.
With this great opportunity comes great responsibility. How does one deal with the inundation of these Black Friday shopping advertisements? How do you eliminate the false steals from the real deals? How do you stop yourself from spending hundreds of dollars on unnecessary items?
Here are just a few tips to spending your Black Friday the right way.
→Ask yourself: is it still Thanksgiving? If yes, then you probably shouldn’t go shopping. The entire point of Thanksgiving is to celebrate what you have and appreciate those around you. Sitting at the computer until midnight just to snatch up a deal at the first second doesn’t seem like gratefulness - it seems like greediness. It won’t hurt to wait until the next day. The stuff will still be there when you wake up on Friday morning. Eat that pumpkin pie and enjoy it while you can, before you pull out your credit card.
→Are you shopping alone? Depending on the type of person you are, this can go one of two ways. If you’re someone who can be easily talked into buying stuff, go alone. Then you can browse and contemplate at your own pace without feeling the pressure to hurry up and buy something. If you’re someone who needs to be restrained, then bringing a person along to talk some sense into you might not be a bad idea, either. Impulse purchases are the shopper’s curse.
→How good is the deal, in reality? Advertisements, signs, and employees like to convince consumers that their sales are better than they are. ‘You saved ten dollars’ seems like a nice steal, until you realize that you’re still paying over two hundred dollars for that particular item. ‘Buy three, get one free’ seems fantastic because everyone likes getting stuff for free, but do you really need four bottles of air freshener at one time? What is this store making you do to get the deal? Are you spending more to get the sale than you would if you were just shopping normally? You might be surprised to find out that you would have spent less if you just ignored what the store was trying to convince you to do.
→Is there something that you need? If there is, then congratulations, you’ve discovered the most perfect time of the year to make that purchase. Waiting until the sales come out is a smart move - things can be expensive. Now, you save money while also getting something that will actually benefit you in the future.
It’s true, the allure of Black Friday sales is difficult to resist. It’s okay to give in to the hype and glamor of the holiday and treat yourself to a little something. You don’t have to be the most financially responsible shopper to ever walk into the doors of a store. It is important, however, that you remain aware of your choices. You don’t have to fulfill that ‘buy five for twenty dollars’ deal. You also don’t have to abstain from buying anything. It’s ultimately your decision on how you spend your money. Just try not to lose yourself in the seductive power of Black Friday deals.