I don’t remember if I’ve ever bought anything on Black Friday. Except in 2014, when I’ve bought my own apartment and we were going to move in in December. Back then we ordered the necessary home appliances (fridge, washing machine, stove) on Black Friday. I don’t know how much money we saved on those, as I didn’t track the prices for months prior the big day, we just ordered them because we would have bought them anyway a week or two later. But except for that one year I didn’t buy anything… Want to know how I did it?
Long story short: I didn’t need anything. 🙂
Because I’m on the good path towards becoming a minimalist, and because I’m already quite frugal when it comes to wasting money on stuff I don’t need at all, I am able to make a difference between my needs and my wants. Even though I still find myself wanting things – like a new phone with more RAM, a tablet, so I can browse the Internet without carrying my laptop around – I can always think it through and realize that I don’t even need that thing, I wouldn’t use it as frequently as I imagined and more importantly, I have alternatives. For example, I have a phone with a pretty big screen, I can use it for short readings or I can simply turn on my laptop and continue surfing there. For reading books, there’s my e-book reader. As for a new phone… yeah, would be nice, but I wouldn’t use it for more than I use the current one and then I would have to sell my current one for maybe half the money I gave on it a year ago or simply pass it on to a friend/family member. Luckily in these moments the frugal me kicks in and kills that feeling of wanting stuff. I guess it’s OK to want stuff, considering all the advertisements selling happiness packed together with the products. Moreover, I’m a
geek developer, so I find it natural to be interested in new gadgets.
Another reason I refuse to shop on Black Friday is that prices are artificially increased during the weeks prior to the big day and then a huge discount is applied and the discounted prices are almost the same as a month before. Quite a lot of my friends and colleagues track the price of items on different stores and they all did observe this phenomenon. So when I need something I simply go and buy it, I’m not waiting for the huge artificial discounts. Some would say that even if the price we pay for the products is not as low as we think it is, Black Friday is an excellent opportunity to start buying Christmas presents. From my experience as December comes, stores offer quite a lot of discounts, so I’ve never felt that I’ve lost on opportunity by not buying anything on Black Friday.
All in all, there are two simple questions I ask myself before buying stuff, not only on Black Friday, but in general:
- How much would I use the thing I’m about to purchase?
- If it is a replacement for something, then what will I do with the old one?
These two questions always help me separate my needs from my wants. Even if I pass the first question, because I’m like super excited about the thingy, I usually change my mind at point two, especially if I think about how much money I would lose on something by selling it for half price or simply throwing it out…