Some Black Friday deals aren’t as good as they seem
I love saving money. I love getting a good deal. So it seems like Black Friday might be just my kind of holiday, right? No, the truth is I don’t want any part of it. I have participated once or twice and I thought the whole thing was awful.
Giving up sleep to get up early or stay up late on a day off from work in the bitter cold of late November? No thanks. That’s just the beginning of the unpleasantness. I find big crowds to be stressful and I felt really claustrophobic being stuck in the middle of a Walmart packed so full of people I couldn’t move.
I also find it frustrating to spend all that time fighting through those crowds only to find out that the item I wanted to buy has already been snatched up by people who were in line long before I was. But, it’s not just the act of shopping I don’t like. I think it is easy to get tricked into thinking your saving money on the great Black Friday deals when you’re not really saving money at all.
When a deal isn’t really a deal
I have a friend who enjoys saving money almost as much as I do. He is a really bright guy, and he is one of the people I like to talk to whenever I need advice on a particular transaction I don’t know a lot about. He once told me about how he had discovered slickdeals.net about the time he graduated college and started earning real money for the first time in his life.
So my friend found all these great deals on slickdeals.net and he started buying stuff. All the things he bought had huge discounts so he figured he was being pretty financially savvy. A few months later he noticed that his savings account wasn’t growing as quickly as he thought it should have been and couldn’t understand why. Thats when my friend realized he wasn’t saving money with all the stuff he had bought at a huge discount; he was spending it. A deal is only a good deal if it saves you money.
Are you buying something at a huge discount you would have needed/wanted anyway? Well then you are saving money. Are you buying something at a huge discount you wouldn’t have otherwise purchased? Then you aren’t saving yourself any money at all, you’re doing the exact opposite of saving. Is this something you may not have needed, but wanted enough you would have eventually bought it? Great, you got a good deal. Otherwise, you may not be saving money. You might just be spending it.
A few of my favorite deals
That being said, there are a few black Friday deals I am actually interested in this year. Here are the ones that get me excited:
Capital One 360 checking account bonus- The online bank Capitalone360.com tends to have a black Friday deal every year with an extra bonus for opening checking or savings account. The website hasn’t spilled the beans just yet on what the bonus will be this year, but I have seen online rumors of an extra $50 bonus after you make 3 online payments or person to person transfers within 45 days of opening the account. Check back here Friday and I will have full details of this year’s bonus.
10% Target gift cards- Target will be selling Target gift cards for 10% off with a limit of $300 in gift cards per customer. That means you can buy $300 worth of gift cards for only $270 and save yourself $30. You can use the cards beginning the day after black Friday. They don’t have any fees and they don’t expire.
Normally the 5% discount from your Target redcard doesn’t apply when you buy Target gift cards, so I am not expecting it to apply on Friday, either. The cards are only for sale 6am to noon on Black Friday, so you will actually have to go out on black Friday to get this deal. I’ll go at about 11 when the crowds of crazies have all gone home. If you are a regular Target shopper, you should definitely take advantage of this one. For more on how discounted gift cards work, see this article.
Amazon Black Friday deals- If you absolutely must go deal hunting I suggest you do it online to save yourself from all the stress. Those wanting to score door buster deals the easy way will want to check out Amazon which has Black Friday deals going on all week long. Those wanting a new TV will absolutely want to check this out with deals including a 32″ LED TV for $79 (wow!) and a 40″ LED TV for $119 (also wow!).
Goodwill- For those that truly love a good deal, Goodwill thrift shops in some parts of the country are having a Black Friday sale. The prices are ridiculously low every day of the year, but in my part of the country, items with red and green tags will be 50% off. If you really want to save money when you shop, that’s how to do it. When you shop at Goodwill you are also supporting a good cause.
Enjoy your holiday!
So while I might run out quickly to check out some of these deals, I will spend most of my day relaxing, watching a little football, and maybe writing an article or two instead of fighting the crowds. What about you? How will you spend Black Friday?
Online Shopping Guide- A checklist of steps to take to make sure you get the best deal possible when shopping online.
Disclosure: Link to CapitalOne360 is a referral link. Link to Amazon is an affiliate link.
Photo courtesy of John Henderson