Nov 27 2010

How to Regret Your Black Friday Shopping Spree

By now, most of you shoppers who were out and about yesterday morning should have recovered the lost sleep after coming home with bags of new stuff and a higher credit card balance. Contrary to popular beliefs, Black Friday was never a day dedicated to helping consumers save money – it is a custom promoted by retailers to encourage spending.

For some of the sleep-deprived shoppers, their post-Thanksgiving shopping spree may not have been the most financially sound decision for their particular situation. Blame the tradition, the profit-hungry retailers, and consumerism.

“Why Did I Buy This?”

It may have been a blast to weather the long hours in cold temperatures for the sake of grabbing an HDTV at a 50% discount… until you come home – after the dopamine and adrenaline in your system has dissipated. Because Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, it is also the day that many consumers suffer their biggest case of buyer’s remorse.

It is entirely human to be tempted by a super sale and then to regret spending a ton of money when you shouldn’t have. Feeling bad about it will serve to build your ability to refrain from repeating it in the future.

To Mope and Sulk

  1. Lay out the bags and stare at the new stuff you bought. Take a good look at the everything you just brought home. Don’t be fooled by the smile on your face as you scour the lovely new toys you just got. Remember: the higher you climb, the greater you’ll fall.
  2. Log onto your credit card account and stare at your balance. A mere glance wouldn’t be suffice. Give your credit card balance about five minutes of attention. Let it really sink into your mind. If done correctly, there should be hints of worry and fear resonating in your chest.
  3. Check your Mint.com account and stare at your net worth. Again, look at your whole financial position. Do you have abundant savings and formidable retirement accounts? It’s time to shed some light on your priorities when it comes to your money. This is the “big picture” and is worth a few minutes of your eyes’ time.
  4. Go back and return what you bought. Yes, it may be humiliating to go back to the store to return an item that you waited 8 hours to buy. But, you provide one minute of humor to someone else and get (what possibly could be) a lifetime’s worth of financial comfort.

I definitely don’t sound like an advocate of Black Friday. The great deals should help shoppers who actually need something instead of simply picking up whatever offers the most discounts. These people are buying to be a part of this annual ritual of consumer madness.

(Photo credit: lrargerich)

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2 Comments on this post

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  1. Financial Samurai said:

    I regret not going to Best Buy in the morning and picking up a Samsung 42″ LED TV for $500 off! They are all sold out when I got there at 8pm! lol

    November 27th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
  2. Brad Castro said:

    Enjoyed your take on Black Friday.

    I’m a terrible consumer – I completely missed out on Black Friday, although I did venture out to a couple of big box retailers looking for a specific $19.99 item.

    I found it on my second visit, but was too disconcerted by the crowds to actually purchase it.

    Another online Christmas for me – Thank God.

    November 28th, 2010 at 2:06 am

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