I have been getting so many requests for guest posts, and this has been an exciting thing because it gives me an opportunity to share the amazing viewpoints/tips/resources by some of the most talented personal finance writers out there. And, it also makes me feel weirdly powerful.
Case in point, Stacy. She sent me the idea to write about the black hole that Black Friday + Cyber Monday is, and why this duo should be avoided, if they can. Knowing that this blog is all about challenging the norms and pushing the boundaries, the idea was a hit and we collaborated on it.
Hopefully, this post will give you a little nudge to turn your back towards mindless shopping just because others are doing it.
And, as you know that’s never a good reason to do anything. So, let’s get cracking.
BLACK FRIDAY, YOU ARE SOOOO 1998
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not just about shopping and great deals. They are also about bad deals, identity-thefts and heightened consumerism (which kills the environment softly). Sorry to burst your bubble right at the onset, but that is the truth.
On one hand, you have these retailers who will be eyeing your wallet, while on the other hand, you will have hackers on standby for your identity. So before you decide to join the shopping bandwagon, take some time out and know how to avoid basic Black Friday and Cyber Monday hypnosis. And, also learn why the shopping bonanza can actually cost you big time!
1. Look before you leap
The long-held idea that Black Friday is the best day for getting attractive discounts on products is a myth. There are many other days when you can get unprecedented sale
offers. Retailers are smart. Sometimes they inflate the price of a product and then give a heavy
discount just so you can walk away with a smug of snagging a deal. So not kosher!
Suppose the original price of a product is $200. The retailer inflates the price of the
product and offers it at $800, and then gives a flat $200 discount. This means the retailer is making a profit of $600.
Another thing you perhaps didn’t know is that some retailers list at least one product for the identical price. This means they list identical price for the product in 2016 and 2017. This implies you’re paying the same price for a year-old electrical good.
Don’t be an eager shopper. You can let your horses wait on the sidelines. If your shopping is not really/absolutely/urgently needed, relax, it’s not hunger games and you will not be eliminated.
You get the point.
2. Watch out for the fake deals
If you absolutely must have to shop, then be sure to watch out for the fake deals and the online coupons. There are many malicious websites disguised as legit retail sites that give fake deals to lure customers. You’ll be asked to give your credit card number and other private information. Stay away!
Did you know that now your phone can also be bombarded with fake deals. For instance, beware of the text messages that ask you to fill out the form for a free holiday package delivery. Also, ignore any text message that warns you about a fraudulent activity and asks you to call an unknown number for security reasons. All they want to do is get your personal information.
3. Don’t sign up for new credit cards
You might be tempted, but don’t do it!! Credit card companies give plenty of sign-up bonuses like big discounts on purchases in these shopping days to lure customers. Your credit score may drop if you apply for too many credit cards as there will be multiple credit inquiries on your credit report. This may hurt your credit score. Plus if you purchase too many items with your credit cards, then there is a probability of exhausting your full credit limit. This will again hurt your credit score further.
Icky Black Friday and Cyber Monday – A Personal Story
Last year, my friend Calvin had a bad holiday season. Hackers got his credit card information from an online shopping portal where he shopped for the first time. Calvin got the shock of the year when he saw several unauthorized charges on his credit card bill. He called the credit card company and informed them about it. He also filed a report with the Federal Trade Commission and the local police department. Calvin’s prompt action worked in his favor. The credit card company didn’t hold him responsible for those charges. He also placed an alert on his credit report to caution prospective lenders.
Calvin was lucky! He got back his financial life, and personal (his girl friend didn’t leave him).
Unfortunately, not many people are that lucky or that quick to realize that something is off about their spending, and end up in a legal battle that is long and cumbersome.
I think I have made it very clear how strongly I feel about the dangers of being hacked! Yikes!
What are the alternatives?
1. Online shopping is becoming the norm; sample sale websites are hitting the sweet spot so your everyday shopping prices are just as good. Check out: Gilt.com, TheRealReal.com, RueLaLa.com for everyday scores!
2. When everyone is door busting, you take time to nature walk or do yoga or catch a movie in a totally empty theater or museum. Skip the crowd sourced madness and enjoy the day off!
3. Use the money that you would have spent on that 200th jacket to instead buy a stock. Trust me, that would take you very very far in your financial life
4. And ofcourse, enjoy the day with your family. You’ll get plenty of days to do shopping. Have a delicious meal with your family and enjoy fun adventures with kids.
Conclusion…(drum rolls please).
Gobble on over to a nearby table/theater/museum instead of wattling in a loong line of zombie shoppers. Trust me, you will be thankful for this golden nugget of an idea, and the best part – it’s free…no door-busting required.
And a quick bio on lovely Stacy B. Miller, who is the content editor at Oak View Law Group. Her articles revolve around topics related to debt, credit, laws, money, personal finance, etc. Check her work out!