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Black Friday has come and gone. Cyber Monday is a thing of the past. Let’s face it; You’re screwed. Your lazy butt missed out on all the “best sales of the year.” Crap.
But did you really miss out?
The Hysteria Of Black Friday Sales
Let’s examine everyone’s favorite shopping hell, Black Friday. I’ve referred to it in the past as the saddest day of the year, and I still hold that view. Everyone skips Thanksgiving dinner and time with their family to hang out with a group of crazed shoppers who are foaming at the mouth to get a deal on a crappy laptop. Then they get all cray-cray and start fighting over towels and tazing each other. Keep it classy.
And these people are not actually making smart choices with their money. Instead of fighting like mad to gain better job skills and get promoted, they put all of their effort into saving tens of dollars on crap they don’t need. The Huffington Post put together a list that summed up the reasons so many people lose their freaking minds one day a year. Here are a few of the reasons with my thoughts on each:
1. What’s another $10 after the first $500? This kills me. But it’s true. When people make a big ticket purchase, there is some emotional difficulty in letting go of that money. When $500 has already been spent on a TV, the $10 DVD’s seem like a no-brainer, and there is almost no pain in releasing that small amount of money after the large purchase. This is how a $500 TV turns into a $1,500 home theater system very quickly.
2. Black Friday requires math skills many consumers don’t have. Let’s be honest. Most who are going Black Friday shopping don’t have a real budget. And knowing whether a deal is actually good or not is difficult if you don’t track your spending and know what the normal price of items are. And for those who join the madness that is Black Friday, a sleepless night and crazy, fighting, screaming customers won’t help when trying to figure out a percentage discount to see if you are saving any real money.
3. The Halo Effect — Amazing By Association. Just because you buy something on Black Friday, doesn’t mean it was a deal. Or even on sale. People put on blinders and grab whatever they can fit into their arms, assuming everything is THE BEST DEAL EVER IN THE HISTORY OF HISTORY. Nope.
4. There’s no guilt when everybody’s doing it. A classic case of “keeping up with the Jonses.” Well, not quite textbook, but close enough. If a ton of people get together and are spending as if keeping cash in their wallet any longer will give them a case of Ebola, then it must be a decent thing to do. And if you don’t, you feel guilty for not getting all the amazing deals that everyone else does. So you go ahead and discharge all the cash from your wallet and rack up a ton of debt to make sure you are saving money…..wait…
Cyber Monday Must Be For Sophisticated Shoppers Then, Right?
Yeah, well, sorta. Cyber Monday came about because online retailers realized that they needed to create some holiday hype for their product as well. And they didn’t want to compete on the same day all the crazies are released into the public, so they decided to do it on the day that most people would be online. On Monday. While people are working. Which is honestly a brilliant move.
But again, Cyber Monday is nothing more than a bunch of hype around subpar electronics to get people to add stuff to their cart, and then add more and more once the big ticket item is already in there. Same tactics, different medium. But again, the deals aren’t even worth it unless you were already planning on making the purchase. And even then, might not be worth it. Let’s take an example from our own shopping.
We need a new PC laptop soon. Ours is 5 years old, the screen is dying, the hinges are broken, and the fan sounds like a 210 Cessna trying to take off. So I figured Cyber Monday would be the best day to make the purchase. I searched around a bit (on sites like Newegg.com, Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com, etc.) and I could not find a deal better than what I can find daily on the Lenovo Outlet site. And the Cyber Monday laptops I found had a crappy AMD processor, no HDD space, and had terrible reviews. So we’re going to just wait until we really need to make the purchase and get something with great specs for a great deal on the outlet site.
So I Didn’t Miss Out?
No, not really. The only way to make it work is if you ignore the doorbuster frenzy, research what you want to buy and make sure you are getting the best deal you have seen. Oh, and follow my guide to buying electronics. So the only thing you missed out on was the incredible people watching, which actually may have been worth an afternoon trip to watch the worst of the human race gather all in one location. Video evidence below:
The point is, if you don’t have a plan, you will be wasting your money. You’ll be falling into the trap of “saving money” and end of blowing the budget.
Assuming you have a budget.
If you don’t, I highly recommend checking out my budgeting basics so that you can start to shop smartly and save wisely for the things that are truly important to you. And I guarantee you won’t find those things after skipping Thanksgiving to wait in line with a pile of stinky strangers. Jus’ sayin.
Comments: Let’s be honest, how many of you skipped Thanksgiving to wait in line for a TV? Or how many ventured out just to people watch? I didn’t get any “deals” and we weren’t even in a place with cell reception or WiFi for all of Thanksgiving weekend. I promise you we don’t have #FOMO for the sales that went on.