5 Things You Shouldn't Buy This Black Friday

by Adam Baker on 25 November 2009 11 comments
Photo: Andrewarchy

Every year, hundreds of thousands of shoppers swarm the local malls, shops, and online retailers. This phenomenom is of course known as...Black Friday!

With all the websites, magazine ads, and televisions commercials telling you what you should buy, I thought it may be helpful to provide you with a list of what you shouldn't buy this Black Friday.

1. Anything you don't have money for.

This is the first way to tell if you shouldn't buy it. If you need to put it on a credit card, it's a shouldn't...not a should.

This of course, would rule out any shopping whatsoever for a portion of debt-ridden and cash-tight Americans this season. But do we really think that's a bad thing?

If you can't pay cash, stay home. Don't watch television (unless you TIvo'd it to remove the ads), don't surf online retailers, and don't sort the junk mail. Take the day off from consumerism!

2. Anything you don't have the space to store.

Assuming you do have the money and have budgeted for some shopping, you may be able to find some good deals. But don't go overboard!

You know the feeling when you get home with a car packed full of mostly impulse purchases and start the unloading process. It quickly starts to consume your home.

The bedroom floor is covered with random shapes and colors of branded bags. Nobody is allowed to help sort it, because they might see their own presents. All the sudden your home has been devoured by clutter!

This, of course, is obvious for perishable goods, too. A deal is great, but only if you'll actually use those 24 cans of peanut butter.

3. Anything you won't use after the first few days.

So...you have the money...you have the space...it's all good now, right? Wrong. Novelty gifts rule the day on Black Friday.

Look, there's a reason why this screwdriver set is marked down to $7.25 from $49.99. It's because it sucks and nobody wants it. It's cheap, will only get used once and then thrown in a random drawer somewhere (see #2).

For each purchase, make sure you ask yourself, "Is this really a quality purchase that will be used more than just during the first week?"

4. Anything advertised as a "Must-have this Holiday Season"

You want to know how you spell inflated value? M-u-s-t-h-a-v-e. Watch out for sales language and hype this holiday season.

Very rarely are the trending items worth all the hype that goes into them. It's a way to create artificial demand and helps drive up not only the price of those items, but the price of similar purchases, as well.

Look for older model, high-quality options that have been pushed to the back. Usually you can find something just as dependable at a fraction of the price. (This works for car purchases, too).

5. Anything NOT on your list ahead of time.

In addition to thriving on novelty items and hype, Black Friday also feasts on our impulse purchases!

The best way to combat this beast is to create a list ahead of time. Don't go into the fight with Black Friday blindly. Plan out your purchases in order to cut down on the amount of "extras" you come home with.

Even if you can't plan out a specific purchase, at least clarify your needs. For example, Aunt Sallie may deserve a $20 gift, but even committing that down to a list will keep you from buying the "I can use this for somebody" gifts or accidentally buying Aunt Sallie a $50 gift! Yikes!

What else should we NOT be buying this Black Friday?

For me the key is to have the money and space, while avoiding any hyped, low-quality, or impulse purchases! But what have I left out?

Let me know what types of items you'll be avoiding!

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David

In light of the extremely fast rate of technological advancement in computing, my wife and I decided not to buy a new laptop (which we need) until one of our current laptops becomes unusable. We figure that by the time this happens (even if it is only six months away), we'll be able to buy a better laptop for less money.

Guest's picture

6. Anything you won't be able to hide from the kids between now and Christmas morning ;-)

(We got around that problem by storing our kids gifts at other peoples houses until Christmas Eve Eve)

Guest's picture
Heron

The Canadian version of Black Friday is Boxing Day - Dec 26. Here is my solution: I stay home. The stores are crowded and unpleasant, what's left is mostly junk, I don't much like shopping at the best of time, and I am prone to impulse purchases. Works for me.

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Richard

Using credit cards is the only way I shop. Then again, we pay off our balances each month. Nevertheless, I would never give up the benefits associated with using my credit card: price protection, extended warranty, Visa/AmEx/MC-specific discounts, etc.

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croatian1

I don't understand why someone would kill themselves over say a coffee maker for $10!! A couple years ago Walmart had $5 coffee makers, toasters etc. People complained when these items broke after being used a few times. Seriously an unknown brand coffee maker for $5, and people think it is going to last a long time??? I could never give an item like this as a present. If I cannot afford to get a name brand, quality item for someone, then I make homemade items or a gift basket filled with their favorite treats! You are right Black Friday is about getting rid of the stores low quality goods. And that $49 tool that is on sale for $7; they are still making a profit off of it. The sales already have been very good, so I am just about done shopping. I always set a budget per person on my list and as a rule do not go over, or if I do it might be by $20-50 total of the whole amount budgeted. Paying cash also helps stay in line. If you only have so much with you, you are forced to stay the course!So, come Friday I will be hunkered down in my sweats with my hubby, enjoying quality time together!!

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Guest

Richard (#4) - note the way Adam worded it...if you *need* to use the card, don't buy it. He didn't say 'don't use the card'; if you have the cash for it, but put it on the cards for rewards purposes, go for whatever works.

Just make sure you don't touch that cash before the bill comes in, obviously.

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Guest

Yes - I DO feel pressure to shop Black Friday. It's like a "evil force" stores are putting on society. Besides the store ads, there's the TV commercials, online ads, Black Friday web sites (if you've subscribe to them - I did). Then! it's the major news channels networks working on you too! Black Friday - everywhere - like you can't "think" without Black Friday brain-washing.

Resist people resist!! Afterall - if you didn't get "it" would you Really, really, (life would'nt be worthwhile) STILL BE ALIVE after Black Friday sales are over?

Guest's picture

Anything with ridiculous maintenance costs. That means nothing that needs to be dry cleaned, sucks up batteries, or is a pain in the rear to clean.

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Guest

As a long-time retail employee who hates Black Friday (lol)
I can tell you, NO they do not always make a profit on the Black Friday deals. Some of the big-ticket doorbusters (those cheap big screen TVs, for example) are sold BELOW cost on Black Friday, to draw those crowds in to one store over another. Once they are in, they will buy plenty there to make up the difference.

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whitewolf

anything that you think is to good to be true.

http://whitewolfinvestigations.org/

Guest's picture

I think the important part of #3 is when Adam says some of the stuff that is impossibly cheap is junk. Read up on the items before you buy. You'll see that most of the TVs and computers etc are really, really low-end quality. Sure, you saved a lot, but you got a shoddy item that will probably not last as long as a higher quality one. The savings are awash.

I love a bargain, but hate crappy merchandise.