28 November 2014

Black Friday

Save money by spending!
We Americans have quite a short memory span. In addition to our Presidents continuing to pull the wool over our eyes, we sit around stuffing our faces saying how thankful we are to have that opportunity then immediately rush out to throw hard-earned cash at more Stuff. Some of the less (more?) fortunate among us don't even get the opportunity to properly follow that sequence of events because they were needed at work for Thanksgiving or for the sales that are creeping ever earlier into Turkey Day itself.

While many people are going through the ridiculous motions of trying to drive to a shop, others (like me) took to our computers, where our inboxes are brimming with email blasts from our favorite retailers with their offerings for the joyous occasion. As an added bonus, all the shopping can be done while still enjoying the football games and without getting crushed or trampled at a brick & mortar. Online retailers started early this year with promises of deals and online payment processors such as PayPal and Visa have been offering cash back for minimum spends at a select few of them.

Although some people, especially in the personal finance blogosphere, prefer to shun Black Friday, I rather enjoy the opportunity to get something or another that I was budgeting for or usually by at sometimes a substantial discount. However, I never waste my time standing in a line to get trampled to get 50% off a Tickle Me Elmo. In accordance with the way that I conduct a substantial amount of my shopping, I rely on stalwarts like Newegg, B&H, Amazon.com, and others to complete my purchases then wait for the doorbell to ring. Most stuff I buy online is pretty straight-forward anyway (e.g. memory cards), so there's no need to "showroom" items first.

As already mentioned, most online Black Friday deals start on Thursday and some companies run an entire "Black November", promising Black Friday prices all month long. Another popular day is the Monday following Black Friday, now more commonly known as Cyber Monday. This has grown in popularity for deals over the last several years, but the consensus seems to be that better deals as a whole are not being offered on Cyber Monday after all, a move that has managers worried what to do with all the extra productivity.

Finally, don't forget that this Saturday (but actually every single day), your local small business(wo)man is hoping that you stop by to actually patronize their business. Many times, we completely forget about our mom & pop shops. But those are really the lifeblood of the cities. American Express has an outstanding offer for its card holders to help inject some life into your local chamber of commerce: $10 back for a maximum of $30 total for shopping at a small business and spending at least $10 on Saturday. You just have to pre-register, so go do it now!

At the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference. Most of us don't like waiting in lines, but the prospect of snagging a "deal" often sends people out doing crazy things that they would normally avoid. What do you do to avoid getting burnt out (or trampled!) on Black Friday shopping? What amazing deals have you found? Spread the love and share in the comments!

Image: arztsamui on freedigitalphotos.net.

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