So. Here it is. Thanksgiving. Then, Black Friday, then Cyber Monday, then….
Somehow all of our holidays (in the US at least) have been co-opted by consumerism. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, we even MAKE UP extra holidays so we have an excuse to buy more (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day…). Bah humbug.
Thanksgiving is and always has been my favorite holiday because we always went to my grandparent’s in Kentucky and spent A LOT of time with family, doing nothing, basically. I’m idealizing now, of course, because there were years when I wasn’t so excited about it, if I’m honest, but now, with my grandparents gone, and family all spread out, I appreciate it even more.
Growing up, Christmas was cool, I won’t lie, but since I converted to Judaism, and have become increasingly secular (Atheist), the ONLY holiday that matters to me at all anymore is Thanksgiving, because it’s always been about family. And my wedding anniversary, because you know, that’s actually an ACCOMPLISHMENT 😉
So, it’s frustrating to me that all holidays are associated with gifts and STUFF and shopping nowadays. Which you may consider ironic coming from a shopping blogger, but the one thing I’ve always tried to do here is encourage conscious consumption – not just buying for the sake of buying (although, I have certainly done my share of that). And even though I try to be a resource for relevant codes/sales, I definitely don’t believe in buying only because it’s on sale (so cheap!!) or there’s a code. I hope that’s come through, especially now in my Minimal Closet series.
Anyway, the fact is, that Black Friday/Cyber Monday aren’t THE MOST AMAZING SALES ALL YEAR anymore, we have sales all the time now, and you’d be hard-pressed to identify really significant price differences between one sale to another, online anyway.
That said, there ARE some really good sales and coupon codes that happen around this time of the year (Net-a-Porter, James Perse, etc.) and are absolutely worth shopping and waiting for (again…James Perse. Ahem). If you like to shop now, and have the budget to do so, it’s a great time to stock up on your winter wardrobe (in season!!) and catch the end of the fall sales with even bigger discounts.
So…if there are things you NEED, or want, or have been waiting for, or gifts to buy, then shop your heart out. Just be conscious about it. Don’t panic, and don’t stress. Keep a list of things you’re looking for, and what you’re willing to pay for them. As well as brands you know you’ll be fine with purchasing final sale if you have to (James Perse, for example), and gifts you’re looking for that maybe you can get now at a discount. Take advantage of free shipping also. And of course, use Grechen’s Codes as your resource for all the best sales & codes, starting right now.
It’s worth re-iterating some of the points I made recently in my The Minimal Closet : Surviving Sales article:
Tips for Sale Shopping:
- Figure out what you are willing to pay full price for and what you are not. I will always pay full-price for good basics, because those are the things I wear all the time; they are the foundation of my wardrobe. I buy those first, and get them “out of the way” so then I focus on getting other things with a code, or on sale
- Keep lists and stalk sites for markdowns or codes
- If you’re good at shopping out of season, then take advantage of the Nordstrom anniversary sale. If you’re NOT (like me), then avoid it completely. It will be too tempting…
- Black Friday: I’m not sure I’ve ever bought anything during black Friday/cyber Monday sales, I think I’ve been pretty shopped out by then with the F&F codes. It’s a fact that now, these sales aren’t much better than sales/codes retailers have throughout the year (unless you’re crazy enough to go to Wal-Mart on Black Friday), so it’s not necessary to wait all year for them – you can generally find just as good, or better deals throughout the year
- Consider buying with codes rather than on sale – the friends & family codes usually come in spring and fall and are valid on new items, in-season items, so you’re not buying out of season (which I can’t do). I use F&F codes to stock up for the new season on basics and items that won’t make it to sale.
- Do not let yourself be swayed by price or discount amount – none of that matters in the end, the only thing that matters is that you love the item and that you will wear it happily (as long as it’s within your budget of course). Do not add something else to get free shipping, do not buy more because the site is offering 30% off $1,000 and only 25% off $500…
Now, how do you survive these holiday sales? What’s your strategy? What do you buy, and not buy during this time? Or do you shop them at all??
Not really sale-related, but a shopping tip I reminded myself in a dressing room yesterday: I always try to shop wearing flattering clothes that I like and make me feel comfortable (even if they are old, or especially if they are old and need replacement). Once in the dressing room, I always compare what I am trying on with what I am just wearing to see what makes the cut : is it at least as good or better that what I am wearing ? Whatever the price, if the answer is “meh”, it stays where it is. Saves me a lot of money!
Grechen Reiter says
that is a BRILLIANT point!! i had never thought about that before, but it’s such a great idea.
and funny…i was just over at into-mind and read a comment saying just this thing – is that you?? http://into-mind.com/2014/11/17/how-to-buy-less-and-stop-overspending-free-printable/
Today I had the afternoon off, so I went to one of the stores where I planned to shop on Black Friday. I wanted to scope out the merchandise and plan what I might want to buy during the sale.
And I didn’t find anything that I might want to buy. It seems that, without all the excitement and discounts, the merchandise alone didn’t look very interesting! I kept thinking of other things I’d be willing to pay full price for, compared to this stuff that would soon be on sale.
So I’ve crossed that store off my Black Friday list.
This episode has inspired to me visit some other stores that I was planning to go to on Black Friday. I want to see if the merchandise looks as great outside the context of a big sales event.
Grechen Reiter says
another brilliant idea!!! i love this. just goes to show how influenced we REALLY are by prices and discounts.
thanks so much for sharing this tip!!
I don’t shop Black Friday. I don’t need anything – not anything that would be on sale on Black Friday, plus I have to work – and we don’t do gifts with most of our family, so it’s not a big deal for us (well, homemade gifts only). For which I’m thankful. I do shop for bargains more than you do, and I definitely shop out of season – but that’s mainly because my “season” is fairly broad. I don’t need super heavy duty cold weather clothing – any time I need to wear them, I have old stuff in my closet. I wear mostly mid-weight and I’ll buy that when it’s on sale. It’s possible on Small Business Saturday we might go to a local (ish) co-op and buy homebrewing supplies 🙂 I agree with the concept that buying something on sale isn’t a good “deal” if you wouldn’t buy it at full price. At the same time – I can’t tell you the last time I bought something at MSRP. I just end up not buying vs buying something not-quite-as-good that is cheap…..
My solution this year is to completely avoid it (except, well, maybe James Perse ;-)). I’m turning off my shopping emails and, unless I have a specific item in mind as a gift, I am planning to avoid physical stores after Black Friday. And if I do, only bring cash and no debit or credit cards.
I finally found a pair of black booties that I like (of course, they are the very first pair I pinned at the beginning of the season….but got them for $140 instead of $350, and a worthy sale purchase). I returned what I had thought would be my ultimate black boots (the Cozen lace-ups by rag + bone) and (sadly) admitted that the ones I have suit me better. I found my holy grail gray pants and am not trying any others on. I indulged myself on purchasing a couple of necklaces to get it out of my system.
So–good luck to everyone!
Grechen Reiter says
i have a special “james perse” budget and some credit at Shopbop (to get the goldsign virtual jeans) that i’ll probably use during the sales/code, but that’s it.
haha…glad you found your booties & pants, and i’m laughing because i indulge myself also, when i don’t want to buy clothes, but want to spend money (if I can) for me, it’s usually nail polish, or something else at sephora…
No – funny !