Ah, Black Friday. The day that you wake up early, run around like crazy, and showcase consumerism. It’s the American way! That must be why I’m up at 4 AM writing this, right?
Now I have no objection to getting up early. After all, I’m usually up at 4 AM anyway (like right now). But I have no desire to go out in the cold and wait in hopes of scoring a good deal. Instead, it’s our families tradition to use today to decorate the house for Christmas.
Ever since my oldest son was born 13 years ago, this has been our special post-Thanksgiving tradition. We all get up relatively early in the morning, make coffee and a nice breakfast, put on some Christmas music, and take all the decorations out of the basement. Somehow over the years we’ve accumulated about five boxes of Christmas things – from the tree and ornaments, to the nativity, the little decorative houses, the advent calendar we got at Costco years ago, and various other decorations. Most of them were gifts, passed down from my grandmother, or purchased at tag sales (FYI – tag sales have the best deals on Christmas stuff). We put everything up all up all over the downstairs. Typically it takes all morning, and by lunchtime it’s all set for the rest of the month.
I do almost all of my holiday shopping online nowadays, so I’ll usually log in before anyone else wakes up (like now) to see what sales are going on. I have a list of what I’m thinking of getting for people, so if those go on sale I’ll pick them up. Honestly very few of the deals/sales actually interest me. Most seem to be on really expensive things I wouldn’t get anyone for Christmas gifts.
Why do I not want to go out on Black Friday morning? My top five reasons:
- Crazy people. And trampling. Ugh.
- The “great deals” always seem to be on things I don’t want. I’m not getting anyone a TV or an $800 electronic for the holidays
- I’d rather shop for good deals than wait for hours to lose out on a “great” deal. As Paula Pant from Afford Anything reminds us in her latest article on the power of 10x thinking, “…life is not an endless series of “ands.” You can do anything, but not everything. Every decision is a trade-off against something else.” I’d rather be writing this article than
- Patience is a virtue. Black Friday shopping in the afternoon usually gets you some good deals in empty stores. I may go out in the afternoon to my favorite consignment shop, which is having 25% off and will not be filled with crazy trampling people
- Values. I want to emphasize to my kids that Christmas is about family-not about shopping, gifts, etc.
What do personal finance bloggers and fans do on Black Friday?
I thought that maybe I’m an oddity-perhaps other personal finance bloggers and fans are out right now at 4 AM scoring awesome deals. So I asked both on Twitter and the awesome Rockstar Finance forums (which you need to check out if you haven’t already)-what are others in the personal finance realm doing this Black Friday?
- Spending time outdoors. Kate Dore (@CashvilleSky on Twitter) from Cashville Skyline says that she’s going on a hike – which sounds like a great idea I just may steal sometime this weekend
- Helping animals. Retirement Manifesto (@retiremanifesto on Twitter) from The Retirement Manifesto is planning to volunteer at an animal shelter. If you need a dog, be sure to get in touch with him!
- Working and getting the tree. Chris CD, father of six hanging out on the Rockstar finance forums (@rockstarfinance on Twitter) is planning to work in the morning, then get the tree and some apple cider (yum!), listen to Christmas music, and time permitting-decorate
- Hustling. Holly Johnson (@clubthrifty on Twitter) from Club Thrifty is going to work to make money, instead of spending money on Black Friday. Smart idea! P.S. be sure to check out her post on 5 reasons she’s skipping Black Friday for more
- Relaxing and decorating. Centsibly Rich (@centsiblyrich on Twitter) from Centisbly Rich is going to have a cozy fire, eat leftovers, and decorate for Christmas. Maybe even a few fun board games (if the kids cooperate). Be sure to check out her article on why you may want to avoid Black Friday this year.
- Putting up the tree and heading downtown. Mrs. BITA (@bayalisistheans on Twitter) from Bayalis is the Answer is celebrating the first Christmas at home, and is thinking about putting up the tree. In the evening the family will head down to Christmas in the Park downtown
- Online shopping and movies. Brooklyn Bread from the site Brooklyn Bread will be summoning the strength to deal with the in-laws (as will many of us), online shopping, and hopefully going on a date with Dr. Strange (which sounds awesome!)
- Sleeping in and hanging out. Apathy Ends (@apathyends on Twitter) from Apathy Ends will sleep in until 8:30 then hang out at the in-laws house
- Helping others and decorating. POF (@physicianonFIRE on Twitter) from Physician on FIRE will be donning the red apron and having his boys ring the bell for the Salvation Army at Walgreens, then assemble the 12-foot fake tree and unleash half a dozen totes of Christmas cheer on the house
- Going solar and traveling. Steve (@ThinkSaveRetire on Twitter) from Think, Save, Retire is getting solar installed on his Airstream then starting a 1400 mile trip to Tucson from Oregon
- Legos! The Frugal Fox (@hotelsandmoney on Twitter) from Hotels and Money says that apparently Black Friday has started to become a thing in the UK, so they’ll be shopping online to score some deals on Lego
As you can see, I’m not alone in avoiding the crowds today. Hooray!
What do you like to do on Black Friday? Do you go out to score deals, or stay home and do some online shopping and Christmas decorating in your pajamas? Let me know in the comments.