Avoid The Siren Call Of The Christmas Shopping Deals

I‘m not a big Black Friday shopper.  I tried.  I got up early one Black Friday and stood in the cold with hundreds of other people, and by the time I got in the store, the deal I wanted was already sold out.  The people were pushing and shoving, and the entire atmosphere was tense.

I decided that day to never shop on Black Friday again.

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Of course, now stores are starting their Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving afternoon, which I once again refuse to partake in.

I’d like to enjoy my holiday, thank you very much, without lining a corporation’s pocket.

But there is always the internet. . .

and it’s sometimes hard to resist the siren call.

The Call Of The Deal

the call of the dealBeginning the week of Thanksgiving, retailers will begin rolling out some hard to beat deals.  Even if you have a fair handle on your inner gimme, you may struggle with some of the sales.

For instance, a few days before Thanksgiving, Kohl’s launched their Black Friday deals online.  I confess, I succumbed to the temptation.  I bought a slow cooker, a hand mixer, and a griddle.

Considering that we have food intolerances and spend an hour or two at least in the kitchen every day making all of our food from scratch, these purchases make sense.  Our hand mixer died about 9 months ago, and I’m simply too cheap to buy another one at full price.

I spent $50 out of pocket to buy these three small appliances.  The shipping was free.  I’ll get $15 back in Kohl’s cash, and I can send in two $12 rebates, for an additional $24 off the purchase price.  After the rebates and Kohl’s cash, I’ll be paying $11 for these three appliances.

That, for me, is the slippery slope.

Rationalizing The Black Friday And Holiday Sales

Of course, Black Friday is only one day of the year, but the sales don’t stop there.  After Black Friday is over, there is Cyber Monday.  And then there are all of the great sales in the weeks before Christmas that only seem to intensify as Christmas draws closer and retailers try to snag the shoppers who procrastinate.  Don’t forget the after Christmas sales.

It’s a 6 week shop fest from now until the end of the year.

In the midst of this, I find myself perusing the many deal blogs and thinking , “But after all the rebates and discounts, I’m only paying. . .”.

I needed the mixer.  The slow cooker and griddle will help reduce the amount of time I spend in the kitchen.  (Cooking pancakes on the griddle will be much faster than using our current method of a round skillet on the stove.)

But other items that I see and am tempted to buy are things I don’t need.  For instance, I saw a Kitchen Aid mixer that is $142 after rebates and discounts.  If you know about those types of mixers, they usually run $300 to $450.  Buying one at $142 is a steal.  I’ve wanted one forever, but we can’t afford it right now, even if it’s “only” $142.

See, even if it’s a steal, if you don’t need the item, you’re still wasting money.

The Holiday Shopping Frenzy

There is a frenzied, frantic feel around Black Friday and the holiday shopping throughout the month of December.  You may start to feel that you need to hurry and purchase something before the deal goes away.  I know I feel that way sometimes.

But the thing is, if you weren’t planning on buying a tablet, for instance, but you snag one because the price is low, you’re still spending money you may not have or shouldn’t use for this purchase, regardless of the low price.

Black Friday and the upcoming holiday sales can be a great time to purchase items that you were already planning on buying, like the hand mixer I bought.  You can buy the item at a steeply discounted price.

But if you had no intention of buying the item and only did so because the price was low and you felt pressure to succumb to a great deal, you haven’t done yourself or your wallet any deals.

Have you bought holiday sales purchases that you regretted?

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Last Edited: 10th February 2014

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  1. says

    Great story. Advertisers know you better than you know yourself; they know they can lure you. I had debt for two reasons: 1) I didn’t make enough money, and 2) I had a spending problem. (It was’t the big stuff that got me into trouble, but all the small stuff combined. Ever heard of death by paper cuts?) Anyway, I had to fix both problems (increase income and spend less) to start to get financially healthy. I just published an article that may offer some balance to this topic. Let’s focus on something else–like the real meaning of Christmas! http://getcontrolofyourlife.org/2013/12/02/what-is-advent/

  2. says

    Good post Melissa! My wife and I work in advertising and many of the companies do know us much better than we’d like to think they do. They know most will either not do the math, give in to the deal, not realize they can get a better price elsewhere, etc. If you already had the need then you’re likely going to do well, but if you didn’t then regardless of the “discount” you’re getting you will still be out of pocket money you weren’t planning on spending.

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