I wasn’t going to write about Black Friday or Cyber Monday you guys, I really wasn’t.
There is so much good, solid advice out there on how to handle it responsibly, all of which mostly boils down to a few key points.
- If you can’t afford to pay for it in full (like, right away, not after a few months) you can’t afford it.
- If you weren’t going to buy it anyways, it’s not a good deal.
- Spending money is never the same as saving money.
And this is all true, valid, wonderful personal finance advice, and I’m not here to disagree with any of it! Please don’t try to work around those, you and your credit card will be so happy in January that you didn’t.
But I do have two pieces of additional advice to share, from the perspective of someone who is planning to spend money this Black Friday Cyber Monday (vote me off the personal finance island, that’s fine, maybe Bridget can teach me how to be a beauty vlogger instead).
Your dollars are votes, and they matter.
Yes, our cultural perception of Black Friday includes a lot of door-crashing deals, heavy discounts, and mega-corporations all angling to get you to spend money (and if you want to take it that far, ruining what the holidays are supposed to be about, which is time with family and the colonization of this land).
This isn’t a community where we talk a lot about the importance of Black Friday Cyber Monday to the businesses that participate, but more so than ever, it’s not just Walmart getting involved. Small and medium sized businesses are getting more involved, and this weekend, plus the holidays in general, are a crucial time for them and their businesses.
For some of them, it can make or break their year.
If supporting small businesses, or businesses that align with your values, is important to you, and you can afford to do it, spending money with them this Black Friday (or this holiday season) is something you can feel really good about. (For more info about how to support small businesses, this post by a friend of mine is an amazing place to start.)
You’re still you.
Now it’s time for a much lighter note about a purchase I almost made, that I’m (reluctantly) glad I didn’t make.
Yes, hair extensions.
Yes, this is coming from the person who still cuts her own hair.
See, within the past month, I worked with a Professional Hair Person, and she put hair extensions in my hair. I’m not joking that the hair of my dreams? Yeah, it’s achievable, if I want to invest in and learn how to use hair extensions.
I was a beautiful princess slash Beyonce for a day.
But I am also the person who is happy to blow-dry her hair with a $30 hair dryer from the drug store, uses the sale hair care products, and can think of maybe five occasions annually that I would even bother to get the extensions set up and in my hair.
So maybe, just maybe, it’s not the best use of $200, you know? I’m still not the kind of person who would get $200 worth of value out of them.
And this is in absolutely no way a judgement call on buying hair extensions! If anything, it’s a positive judgement call, because my Ideal Self is the kind of person who values aesthetics and puts effort into her appearance at that level (and has the confidence to rock hair extensions).
I’m just being realistic in my assessment of my Actual Self when I say I’m not going to get $200 worth out of them, and actually buying them isn’t going to change that.
So as you’re evaluating any of your Black Friday Cyber Monday buys, just ask yourself if you think the purchase is going to change you.
Because it’s (sadly) not.
So what am I going to buy?
If I’m not here to dish about what’s actually getting my money, what am I doing with my life, you know? (I know you guys are here for the money gossip, don’t pretend.)
So here are the actual things I’m either planning to buy, have bought, or very likely might buy this Black Friday Cyber Monday.
- A Google Home Mini, which is hugely on sale and is a thank-you present to The Fiance for always being so supportive of me taking off at the last minute to work on projects (he knows, don’t worry).
- An annual Convertkit membership, because they have an amazing customer offer until Cyber Monday and it’s going to save me three months of subscription fees that I was going to pay anyways.
- I might buy more of my favourite-ever Reitmans t-shirts, because they’re very rarely on sale, so if a good deal hits my inbox, it might happen.
- Possibly another pair of these socks, which I got a few weeks ago, and have worn an almost-gross amount since. (I am always cold, OK?)
Will I buy more things? Possibly. Will I go over budget to do it? Nope.
And will I keep a special eye on my inbox for emails from small businesses I know and love and want to support? You know it.
Sorry not sorry, personal finance—I’m not a Black Friday hater.
Image credit: Burst