It’s that time of the year where we buy stuff we don’t need because a day of the year named “Black Friday” causes us to feel like we’re missing out on a discount that doesn’t exist.
I participated in Black Friday last year. I bought shorts, t-shirts, bags, shoes, and a whole bunch of stuff that I can’t even remember. Many of the items have never been used and are sitting there for a rainy day that has come and gone and will no doubt arrive again.
The emails piled in this year on Black Friday. Businesses in Australia that normally don’t participate are jumping on the bandwagon with a dodgy wheel — and so are many more that are based in the USA and send me emails I didn’t sign up to.
Black Friday is just another avenue to your back pocket where businesses hope to find your wallet and their profits for this year.
Discounting is bizarre
You’re not really getting a discount on Black Friday. Just like the Boxing Day sales weren’t giving you any discount either and have become a past fad.
Businesses are dumping stock they can’t sell, reducing already high margins, and encouraging you to buy more items from their store so that overall, they make more money from you even if they lose a little profit margin on each item.
Black Friday is not a special day invented by Santa Claus to make your day and gift you presents that you deserve; it’s just business as usual with a different name and an illusionary change in price tag.
“But I don’t need anything”
My girlfriend asked me if I was going to buy anything. This was my answer.
I genuinely don’t need anything, so whether it is Black Friday or Hey Hey It’s Saturday, I decided to opt-out.
When everybody is telling you to shop, you’ve got to ask yourself the tough question: “Do you really need anything, or are you just buying stuff to avoid FOMO and be cool?”
Give away stuff
If you don’t need to buy more stuff, maybe give some of your existing stuff that’s collecting dust away to people that need it more than you
I knoooowwww….instead of having Black Friday, let’s have “Give It All Away Sunday!” It’s the day where we take all our excess stuff and give it to people who have nothing and can hardly afford to eat.
Instead of a day that celebrates greed, let’s have a day that celebrates humanity and our capacity to be generous.
Solution: don’t participate and invest the savings
How do you save loads of money on Black Friday and come out a winner with a bloody big smile on your face? Don’t participate.
Decide that you are fine and take a day off from email and social media which bombards you with all the fake specials.
The final step after you have saved loads of money, by opting out, is to invest what you saved. I invested my Black Friday savings into an index fund because I fell in love with a man with a money mustache (it wasn’t sexual, it was his writing plus his advice).
Saving is one part of life and investing is the second part.
If you really want to smash it out of the park on Black Friday, after you have given a bunch of stuff away to people that need it more than you, try investing in yourself.
Use the money you would have wasted on Black Friday to invest in yourself. Learn a new skill, or practice curiosity, or use your money on an experience that involves the person you love/family.
This time every year, I reflect on Black Friday and what it means. If you haven’t already, perhaps you might consider doing the same.
I’m confident that when you think about this day of consumer madness and put it in the context of the rest of your life and the people you share that life with, you might realize that all this stuff really doesn’t matter.
The stuff you buy on Black Friday are not purchases at all. You’re renting all of that stuff until one day, like magic, you’re no longer alive. Then that stuff will be passed on to your family.
When you’re gone, will your family appreciate the stuff you bought on Black Friday, or will they cherish something else?
Will your family keep your Black Friday purchases or will they discard them and focus on your memory and the sort of person you were?
There is more to life than owning stuff.
Use Black Friday to be kind to someone that desperately needs it and spend your time learning how to show up as a slightly better, more imperfect person each day.