I’m staying in the house as much as possible today. The crowds are always out in superhuman force the day after Thanksgiving, grabbing all the deep “discounts” on items that most normal people won’t ever need.
Of course, it takes me back about 10 years when I used to get caught up, too . . .
In 2002, when I was still in college, me and my boyfriend got up at 4:00am to hit up the nearest Walmart on Black Friday to buy Christmas gifts for our friends and families. We thought we were so smart and so thrifty to be shopping early. But there was so much dumb stuff on sale at Walmart for $5-20 that we ended up buying things we never even thought of. Things like: a pancake flipper, a boombox and a popcorn popper that all looked fun in the package but that the people we gave them to never used, not even once! After that, I realized how silly and wasteful it was to (literally) buy into the holiday shopping frenzy, just to be able to say we bought someone a gift.
After all, what we remember most about the holidays is the time we spend with the people we love, not the stuff they bought us.
Now that I’m practicing living with less, I’m predictably anti-Black Friday and all other over-the-top holiday consumerism. The retailers and marketers would love to have us believe that we NEED the next iGadget or the newest line of clothing and what better time to get it than 50, 60, 75 percent off? Yet, after the temporary high of playing with our new toy or wearing that new outfit, we usually revert back to our previous level of contentment. Why? Because having more stuff does not make us happier. Experiences do. Accomplishing our goals does.
But enough of my soapbox! That’s not why I wrote this post. I just wanted to share a few rules you might consider for yourself as you shop (or fight the urge to shop) not only today but during the rest of the holiday season.
Two Rules for Black Friday (and All Other Holiday Purchases):
- Buy it only if you really need it. (Items that replace something worn or broken that you use/wear often. Things you’ve been saving up for and that the holiday discount will finally allow you to afford. Tools that will help further any of the goals you have for your business, career or your ideal life in general.)
- Buy it for someone else, but only if they really need it. (Ask yourself if your sister really needs another random $100 gift card from you to show you care. It might be worth more to use the money for a special girls night out, just the two of you. That’s a memory you will likely keep with you for the rest of your life.)
You can honor yourself by spending your money in a way that feeds your goals and dreams, rather than takes away from them. This is what I think of every time I even think about taking out my credit card to buy a new item of clothing. This is why for me, Black Friday (or any other shopping extravaganza) just doesn’t make sense in the context of the goals I have for my life in general.
I’ve finally realized that I don’t need it all. I just need enough.
What about you? Does Black Friday help you meet your goals? How do you navigate the holiday shopping season?