Fri 25 November 2011
J. Clifford Dyer
Today is so-called Black Friday. I'm planning on saving a lot of money
today. In fact, if you're going shopping today, I'm pretty sure I'm going
to save more money than you. Why? Because I'm not buying anything. I
just read a comment on Facebook from a guy who said he had gotten four
HDTVs for under $1000. Well, I'm saving almost $1000 more than him. Why?
Because I have no need for a hi-definition television. Or any other kind
for that matter. I don't need a new computer. I don't need a new home
theater. I don't need to get my niece or nephew that latest toy that's
going to sell out in two minutes when everybody stampedes the store,
trampling the slow and infirm underfoot.
Black Friday is essentially the repudiation of Thanksgiving. Seriously.
All the gratitude we expressed yesterday for time with family and friends,
for good food, and for the opportunity to be together? It all gets thrown
out the window today for a the push and shove and competition of the
shopping crowds all trying to get there soon enough to get the same things.
I am sympathetic to the idea that people need to do their Christmas
shopping done, and that doing it today means spending less per item, but
being lured in to all the best deals doesn't always mean spending less
money overall, especially when the shopping frenzy lures people into buying
more than they would have otherwise, in the name of getting a "good deal."
There was a time when saving money meant earning money and putting it in
your pocket? The way people talk about Black Friday, it seems to mean
putting your money in someone else's pocket.
If you really want to save money, it's not going to happen in a day of
shopping. It's going to happen by setting a budget that is below your
means and sticking to it month after month. Now if sticking to that budget
means that you're doing some of your shopping today, well okay, but be
careful out there.
Personally, I'm skipping Black Friday this year in favor of Thankful
Friday. I'm going to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving going a little longer
by spending time with loved ones, playing games, walking my dog (and my
neighbor's dog, who I'm watching while they're out of town), eating tasty
leftovers, reading a book, and spending some time outside in the lovely
weather, and working on a few projects around the house.
It looks to be a full yet relaxing day.