Nov 19 2007

Black Friday: A do or a don’t?

Jessica e-mailed the following:

I enjoy reading your blog as I like to save money too! I was wondering about your thoughts on shopping on Black Friday. I know last year I found great deals but it took a little work… So just wondering about your experience or plans with saving money with Black Friday…

I’ve never participated in Black Friday shopping, though that’s not to say that I wouldn’t in the future.

For starters, in Christmases past, I have had a very short shopping list. My family is small (and easy to please, I think!), I have no children, and I had a really tiny gift budget.

So small, that in a lot of cases, I was giving them homemade items, shopping regular clearance racks and at the dollar store. Black Friday deals weren’t good enough on a college student’s budget.

This year, I don’t plan to participate. On Friday, my husband and I will be driving to my parent’s house from his parent’s house, and since we don’t want to drive super-tired, we won’t be getting up early to go shopping.

However, I’ll be watching the deals to see if I can snag anything online, perhaps.

I’m in the market for one high-ticket item, and that’s for myself. Uh…you see, I’ve wanted this particular camera for about a half a year, and I’ve been waiting for the price to drop (and also, until recently, it didn’t fit into the budget).

In the leaked Black Friday ads, this model wasn’t featured. Darn.

In the future, I’ll participate in Black Friday if:

-I have a large shopping budget

-I have a large shopping list (when I have kids old enough to want toys)

-I’ll only go with a specific list to minimize impulse buys that turn out to be bad decisions

-I’ll probably stay up all night before shopping. I find it easier to stay awake than to get up early.

-If I try for Black Friday deals, I’ll only go to one store, or two if they’re close together. The great deals seem to be gobbled up fast!

Some downsides to Black Friday:

-You’re shopping in a zoo. People can become mobs, and mob action can turn dangerous very fast. Or at least, mobs can be rude.

-You could spend more money than you intended, simply because an item is a great bargain.

-You have to be up at an unreasonable hour.

The upsides:

-You could have a lot of fun, if you enjoy the crowds and the atmosphere

-You might get some store freebies that they pass out as incentives

-You could get some great deals on items you were already planning to purchase

-You could get some holiday shopping completed well before Christmas

Here’s what a few bloggers are saying:

Kyle made it all the way to the store last year, but changed his mind at the last second:

“I also wondered what time the people at the front of the line had gotten there, although their pillows and sleeping bags should have given me a clue. I considered getting in line for a few seconds, but instead made the smart choice and headed home hoping the blankets were still warm.” LOL.

Wise Bread wants to share some shopping tips and hear your stories.

Six in the Country is roarin’ and ready to go! “I will be up at 1 a.m., leave the house by 1:30, meet my shopping buddy (my friend Terri) by 2:00, then off to the big city to get our shop on!” Go get ’em, girl!

A Penny Closer has avoided shopping for awhile, and related at just how jarring the experience can be. Eric points out that avoiding this mass consumerism altogether can be a good thing:

“Luckily, we went in with a mission and avoided most of the temptations at the stores. We didn’t buy a single thing. We stuck to our commitment just to price the things we knew we wanted, and to compare the models that we were considering.”

Your turn! What are your thoughts on Black Friday?



4 Responses to “Black Friday: A do or a don’t?”

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Black Friday. You bring up a lot of good points. Because I have a long list and have neices and nephews to buy for as well as my own son, I’m hoping to snag some great toy deals! I’ve started my list and the stores I want to check out. Thanks for all the great saving advice you give!

  2. Thanks for featuring my post!

    I avoid Black Friday like the Black Plague. I went one year with my mother and vowed never to go back. I can’t believe just how insane people can be that day. But then again, I’m not a fan of large crowds. Especially when everyone is running around trying to make sure they get the things they want and wind up adopting that mob mentality.

  3. I’ve never done Black Friday — but I worked in a movie theater in high school on that day. Madness! I’ve always heard that a lot of sales, although perhaps not high-profile ones like Black Friday, occur because they hiked up prices and then lowered them to the regular price, as if it was a new, lower price. I know Target (I hate to say this, because I love that store — but I’m sure other stores do it, too) will have a big “Sale!” sticker on a shelf, and if you peek behind the sale price tag and the old one is underneath, it’s the same price, without a sale sticker. But it’s still a good deal sometimes. It’s good to remember that sometimes a sale is just a marketing ploy to get you to show up. If you show up, you’re more likely to buy something.

  4. I would go to Joann fabrics, but it’s too far to handle the traffic. One tip I’ll give is not to get a cell phone on Black Friday. With my first cell, that wasn’t really an option because my mom had just gone into the hospital for major surgery and I was going home the next day and needed a cell to be in contact just in case. But it was terrible!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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