For the last five or six days, we’ve all been inundated with advertising and news stories surrounding the holiday shopping season. In the United States, the shopping season gets into full swing on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, to be followed up by “Cyber Monday” the Monday after. We are a TV-fied household (despite the fact that I watch very little of it, it is on for the hubby and kids whenever they are home), and I heard ad after ad after ad for “door buster bargains” to be followed up by news reports of “sales are up” or “sales are down” and all the crazy things that happened to shoppers (tramplings, cars being towed, presents being stolen from trunks).
Why on earth would anyone go through this, or take such risks? And in this economy, spend money like that?
I was blessed to have four days off work for the holiday. When I came home from work Wednesday night I parked my car in the garage and went nowhere until I had to go to work on Monday morning. I not only saved gas, but I saved a ton of money by not going to any retail stores of any kinds. “But there’s online,” you might say. I didn’t spend any money that way either. I didn’t even browse/window shop online.
The truth is, I often find better bargains by taking my time and not driving myself crazy shopping at crunch times. I have purchased items throughout the last few months, mostly online, so that not everything hits me all at once in one weekend. I also know there will be other sales, and there are unlikely places to find deals, if you look. I am also an extreme tightwad, and if it costs more than $20, I’m going to have to have a real good reason to buy it. I get that from my German upbringing and my financially conservative dad. And I’m thankful for it these days, when things are tight for everyone.
It’s easy to get pulled into the marketing, but as an educated consumer, I can hope that I am able to see through the hype to keep a reasonable head about me come this time of year. The best way to save money is to not shop. You can’t spend money if you aren’t in the store (or in the online sales space). When it is time to shop, especially for tech items, I have my few favorite places:
Office Max’s discount tables (usually in the front of the store – I’ve gotten laptops for as much as 50% off)
Woot.com – be sure to check out their closeouts as well as their front page deal of the day
I hope you find great bargains and deals this year, and save some green. I know I will.