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: We ventured to the local GAP store at 6am on Black Friday with our friend Susan. They were offering 50% off from 6am to10 am, and we jumped at the chance to be there bright (or actually, dark) and early when the doors opened. At 50% off everything in the store, we figured it was worth it! As it turns out, we got more than just some great bargains at the GAP… the woman standing next to us at the checkout counter offered a valuable reminder about why sales—even when intended to save money—can lead to us spend more instead!
We Should Have Known Something Was Up
The woman next to us was piling up her purchases on the counter—and we mean piling. She had so much stuff we 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 we also want to mention that at 6am this woman was in full make-up, hair done and in a cute outfit We should have known something was a bit off, right? But anyway, after the cashier rung up all—and we do mean all—of her purchases, she announced, “Your total is $300. It would have been $600, but with the sale you just saved $300!” We 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 we were feeling annoyed—and so were 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 we realized what was going on. She had gotten so caught up in the excitement of ‘saving’ 50% 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 we 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!
Tell us in the comments: Have you ever overspent because of a sale?