OK, Black Friday was yesterday. I didn’t have a chance to write a blog post until now.
Ramit Sethi is one of my favorite bloggers. He’s the blogger behind I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He wrote a post yesterday about how the typical financial pundit the media digs up for segments will whine and complain about typical Black Friday behavior.
Black Friday: the biggest consumer spending day of the year. And also the day with the most annoying advice in the world.
Seriously, guys, you would not believe how many press releases I’ve gotten about how what a terrible, scary, foreboding day this is going to be for our country. And every “expert” is eager to take advantage of it.
“Americans are spending too much!” these so-called “experts” will cry. “They just need to _____ (keep a budget/stop spending/resist evil marketers).”
They’ve been repeating advice like this for decades, but has anything changed?
No. We spend more and save less than almost ever before.
When your entire philosophy rests on urging Americans to NOT do something they want to do, chances are very good that you’ll fail. It’s like trying to push back a tsunami.
I’ve been reading Ramit’s blog for years now. He puts an interesting perspective on personal finance. Rather than telling you to be frugal in all your ways, he suggests spending what you want in those areas that you value, and cut costs mercilessly in other areas. A friend of his greatly values eating out, and spends about $21,000 a year doing it. But he lives in a smaller apartment and drives a smaller car, as those things don’t mean as much to him.
I don’t quite understand Black Friday. I used to go Black Friday shopping with my wife, but eventually I got fed up with it. I’m not convinced the bargains were that good, and getting up at 0300 to save a few dollars on something that would end up on sale for the same price a few weeks later didn’t make sense to me. I started staying home with the kids.
This year, she did the midnight madness thing. She was out all night shopping. No thank you. It made me feel refreshed to get up at 5 for work.