Lifehacker’s article on Black Friday is right. It’s just not worth the time to get up at a ridiculous hour on a holiday weekday to get in line to try to save a few dollars on something you don’t need, only to find that it’s out of stock. You should have been one of the first five people in line who were camped out since the night before if you wanted to get that deal. Even if you do get there early enough, how many hours of your life have you wasted waiting? Plus, “special sales” will be running all month. Friday is just the hype.
From my experience, you can easily buy a really cheap tv or computer, but that’s what you will get, a really cheap tv or computer. If you need large electronics, you are better off doing some research, checking reviews and pricing and buying a quality item that will last longer and have all the features you want and may need in the future.
Here’s another trick. Many stores will offer special discounts that last only a few hours. Major retailers have spent many years and millions of dollars in research on human nature and shopping trends to figure out how to get you to buy more. If you can save and extra 25% from 5am to 9am, you will spend more than 25% extra on things you didn’t know you needed. You are tired, or wired on coffee and stressed out and will get caught up in the frenzy these stores create. Uncle Fred doesn’t really need the rainbow gloves and hat, even if it’s 50% off.
Do your holiday shopping the right way. Make a list of the people for whom you want to get gifts. Now, make a budget. Think carefully about each person and decide what to buy. Shop online and use discounts where you can. I use Ebates for savings and search engines for research. Then, when I find the item at the best price, I search for coupon codes. Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to buy at the physical store, or you just want that Christmas shopping tradition. Stay away from the big box stores and malls and look at Thrift shops, Antique stores and local boutiques. You can find high quality items and some really good deals. Another bonus, you’ll be supporting charity and small businesses. If someone on your list is brand conscious, or for last minute gifts, try Marshalls or TJ Max. Not sure what to get? Check here for some easy ideas.
You’ll be less stressed and your gift recipients will notice the extra attention.