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A Few Thoughts Before Black Friday
Among all of the “great sale deals” for Black Friday, which has now turned into a whole month of various offers, it can be tempting to place a few orders. And a few orders can easily turn into a huge online shopping-spree and overspending. Some people avoid the sales overall to take a stand against consumerism, which is fine if that’s what you want to do, but in this blog post I want to point out a few things to consider, if you do want to get some things without wrecking your financial plan. So, I’m going through some questions you can ask yourself before placing an order. You can use these for Black Friday, but also any other times you’re shopping.
- Do I need this?
- Why do I want to buy this?
- Is this really a good deal?
1. Do I need this?
So, you see something “BoGo” (Buy One, Get One), “Up to 70% off”, “Holiday Value Set” – whatever it might be – and you immediately click on the offer to look at the products. Anyone can get excited about great offers, who doesn’t love to get a product for less money? But: Is it the right deal for YOU? Do you really need it or are you just hyped because the offer sounds too good to pass? Remember, that it’s only a truly good deal, if it fulfills a need that you actually have. By “need” I don’t necessarily mean, that you need it to survive. We’re mostly talking about things we could do without, but need for things we consider important or just enjoy.
If it’s about skincare, I like to take a look at my current product stash. For example, I go through sunscreens rather quickly and it’s one of the products I always use, so having several sunscreens as backup is reasonable. It’s something that I “need”. But sheetmasks are not essential for my skincare routine, they are an extra step that I enjoy doing occasionally, but I don’t really need it. So, adding an unreasonable amount of sheetmasks is not something I “need” or I should be doing.
2. Why do I want to buy this?
Even if you don’t necessarily need something, it can still be a reasonable purchase, if it adds value to your life in some way. The lines are blurry, especially when it comes to items that would fall under the want-category of your personal financial plan. Ask yourself: “Why do I want to buy this?” – if you can’t find any reasons beyond the seemingly good deal or fear of missing out, chances are, that it doesn’t add any value. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of shopping-fever and get all the deals you can find. Also question why you are scrolling through the web. Are you really looking for something you’re interested in? Or are you feeling sad and want to get something to cheer yourself up? There are many emotional triggers, that can cause unnecessary spending. Once the rush is over, you might find yourself feeling just as miserable as before.
3. Is this really a good deal?
And lastly, check twice if the deal is really as good as it sounds. Do the math – how much are you actually saving? There are a lot of value sets or product vaults, that have one or two popular items and are filled up with rather random products otherwise. If you are only interested in one item, the set might not be a good choice after all, even if you save 50%. Calculate how much you’d had to spend if you just got what you really want. Even if it’s just 25% off, you are likely to save more in total, considering what you actually wanted to get.
This goes hand in hand with the question: Can I wait with my final decision? If you’re not sure, the pressure of the time limit on the deal can impact our decision-making. Don’t let it get to you. There will likely always be another sale and another restock. Of course, exceptions may apply, but if it’s a regular product, that’s 20-30% off, you’ll get another chance in most cases. Throughout the year, there are many different sales. If you’re not sure, you shouldn’t place the order out of pressure. When in doubt, just wait it out. A lot of times, we forget about the products after some time or are interested in new releases.
How To Shop Strategically
I personally like to write down lists throughout the years, I just build my dream shopping baskets and add whatever I like. From time to time, I’ll edit the lists and kick out things, that I don’t like, don’t need etc. When the sales approach, I go through it again and do a final edit. I also think about what deal would be ideal – at what percentage would I really want to buy this? Which products are on the top of my list? What could I do without? Which products should I stock up on? Set a budget and stick to it as best as you can.
This has worked quite well for me this year, as I look forward to the things on my list and I don’t feel overwhelmed with all the new offers. Of course, there are still always surprise releases with new interesting things, but I can compare these to the things on my list and decide which one is worth it for me. I don’t want to shop because it’s “Black Friday” or whatever you want to call it, I want to make a few selected purchases to stock up on skincare products and get a few items I’ve been wanting for some time. I also have a short list for home things and presents, that I’m looking out for, but I’m in no rush.
How do you feel about the sales? What are you looking for? What questions do you ask yourself before placing an order?
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