Shopping for a Real Deal
As the close of Cyber Monday fast approaches, many of us are still in the midst of the shopping frenzy that started last Friday. With every news channel reporting that shoppers spent $45 billion this past Black Friday alone, it is more than clear that the power of a well publicized deal gets Americans to spend some serious cash!
This is seemingly great news for the economy, but what has actually changed for shoppers over this past year? The employment rate isn’t up, nor is the housing market – so why is spending this holiday season on the rise? Do Americans actually have more money to spend, or are they just overspending and racking up debt?
Early Bird Bargains
Case in point: as you may have heard, I ventured to my local GAP store at 6am on Black Friday with my friend Susan. They were offering 50% off from 6-10 am, and I jumped at the chance to be there bright (or actually, dark) and early when the doors opened. At 50% off EVERYTHING in the store, I figured it was worth it! As it turns out, I got more than just some great bargains at the GAP… The woman standing next to me at the check out counter offered me a valuable reminder about why sales – even when intended to save money – can lead to us spend more instead!
The woman next to me was piling up her purchases on the counter – and I mean piling. She had so much stuff I figured she was buying for her whole family and every gift she needed now – and for the foreseeable future. It’s not really relevant but I also want to mention that at 6am this woman was in full make-up, hair done and in a cute outfit – I should have known something was a bit off, right? But anyway – after the cashier rung up all – and I do mean ALL – of her purchases the, she announced, “your total is $300 – it would have been $600, but with the sale you just saved $300!” I expected the customer to be overjoyed at the news that she had just ‘saved’ $300. However, her reaction was anything but…
Too Much Of A Good Thing
“What?! I just spent $300? I wasn’t expecting it to be that much! Are you sure that is correct?’ At this point I am feeling annoyed – and so are the other customers mounting up in the check out line behind her. She could see well enough to put perfect eyeliner on at this early hour but couldn’t figure out what 50 % off was going to be? Seriously, this wasn’t exactly a brain teaser. But then I realized what was going on. She had gotten so caught up in the excitement of ‘saving’ 50 percent off her purchases that she ended up spending way more than she ever expected to in the first place! Not a deal at all….
The Moral of the Story
Now you know that here at Fab & Fru we’re all about scoring a sensational deal! And although I don’t want to be major buzz kill, we do feel the need for this gentle reminder… If you can’t afford to buy something in the first place, just because it’s on sale DOES NOT mean it’s a deal! If you can’t pay your credit card bill at the end of December, then you’re going to be spending way more in interest payments in the long run than the actual money you just saved on all those so-called bargains!
So, this holiday season don’t just shop for deals to pay less on purchases you never planned to make in the first place! Stick to your budget and shop to SAVE. There is no better gift that you could give yourself than the gift of financial security. Shop smart and buy great gifts, but ALWAYS keep your goal of financial freedom in sight!| Print