I know I'm jumping the gun on this Black Friday article, as we still have 211 days to go, but I wanted to hit this topic in the off season. Black Friday is a terrible terrible thing. Since 2006, there have been 7 deaths and 98 reported injuries. Not to mention the millions of man hours wasted while people wait in line. I mean, could you imagine if instead of spending days camped outside of a Walmart, those people volunteered their time? What a utopia that would be. But alas, we are stuck on this planet where consumerism trumps all.
So how do us minimalists approach such a crazy event? Well first, the best thing to do is avoid any physical store at all costs. This should be obvious. Sure, it might be fun to do once or twice; I admit that I waited in line at 6:00am to get a GameBoy Pocket for like $30 back in the day. But as grown-ass adults, we have this thing called restraint. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be tempted by slashed prices everywhere. Here's what we'll do:
Plan Way Ahead
Take one minute out of your day today and think of anything you really really need in your life that you don't already have. I'm not talking about a 40-inch flat screen tv. I mean essential things like a vacuum, plunger, a pillow that doesn't kink your neck every night, a Sonicare toothbrush, and so on. Ideally, this list should be pretty short since I assume most people own what they consider to be their essentials.
Now take this list and make two categories: one for things you need sooner than later, like a vacuum, and one for things that would benefit your life, but you could wait awhile for, like a Sonicare toothbrush. Things in the first category you should buy as you can. And as always, think of every purchase as a lifelong commitment/burden. Everything you buy, you have to pack when you move, maintain when it breaks, clean when it gets dusty, etc. So purchase wisely! As for things in the second category, make note of them and set the list aside. This list doesn't have to be literally written down, but if it helps, by all means.
Over the next many months coming up to Black Friday, keep refreshing this list. You'll be purchasing things as you need them, but holding off on things you might not need right away.
The Black Day/Week Itself
When the holidays are finally approaching, this list becomes a higher priority. Before you look at a single Black Friday deal, make a promise to yourself that you will only search for deals on the items from your list. Sure, 40% off a patio furniture set sounds tempting, but that's 100% of money you weren't going to spend the day before. You might be spending less than normal price on the set, but you are still spending money.
You are not saving money if you are spending money!
Black Friday is one of the most profitable days of the year for manufacturers. Even though prices are "drastically reduced," they're still making bank off all those frantic shoppers. Especially because most shoppers don't just get one item. After you find one deal you like, you'll see a hundred more that are just as tempting. Use that handy tool we talked about earlier! Restraint!
If you enter Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the other days with a game plan like this, you should be able to come out unscathed. Literally and financially.
Article synopsis: Make a list of things you actually need before looking at any Black Friday deals. Think of every purchase as a lifelong burden.