Eyes on the Prize

Black Friday deals are traps designed to separate you from your money.  That’s what I’m repeating to myself today, anyway.

Today is the day when the official Christmas shopping frenzy begins. It’s 10 am here, and half my office is empty as a result.  If it’s anything like past years, people will trickle in throughout the morning with tales of getting up at 3 am to stand in line, all in the hopes of getting a cheap tv/laptop/popular kid’s toy.

I completely understand going to great lengths to save money.  I once used a piece of bubble wrap as a camera case for two years.  I research flight prices a year in advance to make sure I’m getting a good price.  When cream is on sale and butter isn’t, I’ll make my own butter.  However, I’ll never understand what would make anyone give up sleep for something they don’t need.

The online sales are a much bigger threat.  From the comfort of my desk, chair, or wherever I happen to be standing with my phone, I can see all the marked up-and-then-down prices on new electronics, kitchen supplies,  clothes, and everything else I can think of.

This is really the day to remember that sales are nothing more than marketing gimmicks.  If you don’t actually need something, and if you weren’t going to buy it regardless of the price, you aren’t saving a penny.  You’re spending money that, given time and proper investing, would have tripled or quadrupled over the course of your life (assuming no one 70 or older is reading this).

Do I actually need a half-price tablet?  It would come in handy, to be sure.  We like to take them with us instead of laptops when we travel, and our current 3 year old tablet is getting slow. Would my life change in any way if I had it? Not in any meaningful way.  Would I be buying one at full price? Hell, no.  Was I planning and budgeting for a new tablet?  No, I wasn’t even thinking about it till I saw the ad.

No new toys for me today.  I’m just going to keep looking at the spreadsheet where I track all my finances and financial plans instead.  Seeing those totals and reminding myself that the end result will mean true financial security that no one can take away gives me a much better endorphin rush than the momentary thrill (followed by buyers remorse when I get my credit card statement) that unnecessary purchases will provide.

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