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There are very few things on planet Earth that can compete with the bombardment of enticing ads and deals that inundate email and social media. When regularly exposed to carefully crafted ads designed to prey on human psychology, it’s easy to make a regrettable impulse buy. It’s hard not to when marketers frame the ads as the company doing the consumer a favor by lowering the price.
We’re in the middle of an ongoing historical pandemic. However, even the coronavirus will not derail the explosion of 2020 Black Friday ads by popular retailers, such as Target, Home Depot, Walmart, and Best Buy. Perhaps due to a desire to avoid crowded stores and maximize profits, several companies plan to have month-long Black Friday sales in November. For consumers, November will represent one month of intensive testing of impulse buying restraint. Unfortunately, studies have shown that the average American spends $5,400 per year impulsively.
From personal experience and other sources, here are five fast and easy rules to answer the quintessential question of Black Friday and Cyber Monday: to buy or not to buy?
1. Review your finances before shopping.
Ask yourself how much you have spent throughout the year and budget out an appropriate amount to spend on essentials and non-essentials.
2. Contemplate the necessity of the item.
Is it necessary? Do you need that designer watch or handbag? No. Do you need those thick wool socks for winter to replace old thin socks? Probably.
3. Follow the dollar per wear or uses.
If you spend $100 on a pair of shoes, you should at least wear them 100 times. The exception to this rule might be items like vacation packages, assuming people still want to travel in the middle of a pandemic.
4. Don’t buy late at night or early in the morning.
Some retailers specifically target buyers in the very late or early hours to goad them into impulse buys. Do your wallet and yourself a favor and buy when you’re feeling awake and refreshed.
5. Limit exposure to ads.
Confine promotional emails to a single email account that you don’t check frequently. If you can help it, don’t opt into free advertising by following favorite retailers on social media, especially since the average consumer already sees 6,000 to 10,000 ads per day.
Increase your Black Friday satisfaction and start your Giving Tuesday early through buying from companies with built-in charitable and community missions, sustainable practices, and ethical labor practices. Check out these articles for lists of companies with charitable missions.
With these five rules in mind, happy shopping!