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Why I’m Choosing NOT to Shop Black Friday

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved catching a great deal and saving 50%, 75%, 90% or more on items during Black Friday shopping extravaganza. I would get up at 4 am, willingly, and start my eight hour shopping frenzy.  I would go into battle armed with my reusable bags, detailed shopping lists and credit cards. Every door buster I found still on the shelf was a small victory. Black Friday shopping was fun and exciting. I would get so caught up in the idea of a ‘great deal’ and always end up spending more than I intended.  I saved thousands of dollars over the years, but at what cost?

black friday

This summer is when I discovered the reality and consequences of my Black Friday shopping. It took almost half a year to do a major de-cluttering of my house in order to hold a massive garage sale.  I went through every nook and cranny of my house to get rid of the items we no longer need. Guess what I found?  Those good Black Friday deals barely used or sometimes even new in the box! Some of them were gifts I gave to the kids or my husband that were never even opened. Why did I waste my time and money? Now, all that shopping created me hours of work de-cluttering.  As I wasted away weekend after weekend on this massive de-cluttering project, I reminded myself to never do this again. I chose to take over my life and simplify!  I could have spent that time with my family doing something fun, but I was stuck trying to take back my house that had become cluttered with ‘great deals’.

Then I panicked. What about the kid’s presents? I don’t want to pay full retail, so I may need to go Black Friday shopping.  But, all I had to do was take a look at the overflowing toy box and realize more toys are not what they need. At the end of the day, it’s often a battle for them to clean it all up, because they are overwhelmed with so many toys. When has Christmas become synonymous with lots and lots of presents and toys? My kids are happy just to get one wrapped present and a full stocking! This year, each kid will only get one toy, a new book and a few articles of clothing. I can guarantee, they will not be upset at all. They will be happy to open a few presents, spend time with their grandparents and cousins and eat all the pumpkin pie they want.

I know if I venture out on Black Friday, I will see too many ‘great deals’ that I won’t be able to pass up. But, what good is an item, even if I saved 90%, if I find it buried in my basement years later? I can use that money now, on stuff that really matters. I am choosing to take control of my house, my finances and our future. I am choosing to free myself from clutter, to not spend money we don’t have and to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. Presents don’t make people happy, love makes people happy and you can’t buy love.

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Jessica November 14, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I love it. It’s so true…my children don’t need anything new, yet here I sit, looking at all the sale catalogs of toys and bikes and games and whathaveyou’s.
    Maybe this is the year I really stand up to my husband (who, as an awesome dad, feels Christmas is about opening presents all morning) and say NO MORE. Because you are right…if they don’t play with it all, what is the point?|

  • katy November 15, 2012, 1:29 am

    I’m with you. I’ll be home enjoying time with my family not risking being trampled for a good deal.

  • Rashelle November 17, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Well said Nicole! We do not buy gifts all year, no Birthday etc and haven’t for 6 years. My girls are now 20 and 22. We take a cruise/vacation every January with all the money we saved thru the year.We also always have free airfare with using a Southwest Visa for everything and paying it off as soon as we use it! We are given the gift of family time and memories which are priceless to us! We already have 2016 booked!

    • Nicole November 17, 2014, 1:32 pm

      What a wonderful way to make memories as a family! I love the family cruise instead of buying gifts.

    • Dawn November 16, 2015, 8:25 am

      I love this idea! Sharing time together and creating memories is priceless! You’ll have those memories forever.

  • lynette 68136 November 17, 2014, 1:29 pm

    I love this. I too enjoyed Black Friday shopping with my oldest daughter but found myself spending too much on junk. Now my oldest (28) who has trouble prioritizing financially is living at home home working 3 part time retail mall jobs. My husband also works a mall department store and our youngest works restaurant so as far as having Thanksgiving we will be making other arrangements game ts due to Black thanksgiving work schedules.

    • Nicole November 17, 2014, 1:33 pm

      It is so sad that many families no longer spend Thanksgiving together because they have to work. I guess it should be renamed to Black Thursday. 🙁

      • Beth November 17, 2014, 7:56 pm

        I’ve renamed it Thoughtless Thursday since so many retailers are opening their doors so early and not even allowing their employees to spend dinner with their family on THANKSgiving.

        • Linda Murnan November 22, 2016, 12:17 pm

          I agree! Businesses get so greedy this time of year.

  • jayme @ No Regrets Living November 17, 2014, 1:36 pm

    My boys are still REALLY young (2.5 & 1), but I’ve adopted the “simple is better” mentality too. They get 4 gifts:
    -Something to wear
    -Something to read
    -Something they want
    -Something they need

    Now, I also do little stocking stuffer stuff, but those are small – like cool toothbrushes or little candies.

    And the “something to read” might really consist of 3 books instead of just 1, but in general, that’s my plan. It greatly simplifies my gift giving – and I even use it for their birthdays.

    My boys have both sets of grandparents living and at least 2 other aunt/uncles/cousins buying for them for Christmas, so this also leaves them opportunities to buy them something cool.

    They definitely aren’t wanting for presents!

    • Nicole November 17, 2014, 1:48 pm

      I LOVE this!

    • Dawn November 16, 2015, 8:26 am

      Great idea!

  • sushma girish November 17, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Even me and my husband thought not to go for shops on black friday, even though it is our first black friday in USA but outside is every cold. i took my son 2 times to target this month, he is unable to tolerate cold outside. he is 23 months old. so because of him we r not going outside at all.

    • Nicole November 17, 2014, 1:50 pm

      It is VERY cold right now in Nebraska. I remember years ago standing outside in Black Friday lines at 4 am and being completely miserable. That is another reason I’m glad I choose not to shop Black Friday.

  • Megan Mummert November 17, 2014, 1:44 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! We live in a small apartment and have 6 children (only one of them lives with us, the others live with their mother and stay at our place on the weekend). It doesn’t take much to feel burried and overwhelmed with “stuff.” Our kids, the older three anyway, understand that they will not get a huge Christmas at our house. They get treated throughout the year with shoes, small items here and there and with the occasional nice meal out. With being from a split family they get so many things from everyone else. We are thankful for that, but also eases our minds that our children still get to celebrate the fun of gifts with them, and get to have fun family time with us. Of course I will stuff their stockings completely full because that’s always been my favorite part 🙂

  • Erica McClellan November 17, 2014, 4:43 pm

    Very well written! I don’t have kids yet but have a niece & nephew who I tend to spoil. For Christmas this year I decided to partially make their presents. Instead of
    giving them the hottest toys Im making a dress up closet
    for my niece & a Lego table for my nephew. I am giving
    them items to start them off
    to go along with these items. (Thanks Halloween costume
    clearance) I’ve had so much
    fun so far working with my
    dad to make these. I know
    that they will be 1 of a kind &
    something that is all their own. These will hopefully give them years of memories

    • Nicole November 17, 2014, 9:58 pm

      Handmade gifts are the best! My favorite memory is when I was a pre-teen and couldn’t think of what I wanted so I sarcastically told my aunt I wanted an orange elephant with pink polka dots. Guess what? She found a pattern and made me an orange elephant with pink polka dots. I still have it and cherish it.

  • Danica November 17, 2014, 4:48 pm

    I completely agree with most of what you have said here! But that being said I will be going Black Friday shopping this year! I will be going for a couple of reasons. One it as become a family tradition that I really enjoy. My mom and my aunt have gone every year together for as far back as I can remember and it has been atleast 10 years now that I have been going ( let me just say that’s the first time I’ve said that # out loud and now I’m feeling old). I will also be going because I have 6 kids and although I could not agree more that they do not need any new toys, they do need new pajamas and a couple need new jeans! On our budget that’s not possible unless I catch the awesome sales that go on, on Black Friday and around this time of year. Please understand I am not critiquing your decision not go or trying to convince you to do other wise, I was simply just trying to add a different perspective. Yes there have been years then it has been miserably cold out and yes there have been years that I have gone out and not hardly bought a thing, but some of the memories I have made with my aunt, mom, and cousin are ones I wouldn’t trade for a second!

    • Nicole November 17, 2014, 9:53 pm

      I think if I had company when I shop Black Friday it would be more enjoyable. And, if I didn’t have to stand outside in the cold . 🙂 I love that you are making traditions with your family. That’s important too.

  • Kim November 18, 2014, 8:48 pm

    I’m with you on not wanting to add to the massive amount of toys my kids get a Christmas time (not to mention one kid has a December birthday so that’s a double whammy of new toys into the house).

  • Cynthia Cover November 19, 2014, 3:16 pm

    Really smart Nicole! If I don’t go the store with a list and game plan other items will catch my eye. Your time and your love are all that your kids really want anyway….I mean besides the iPad.

  • Bonnie November 22, 2014, 5:36 pm

    I am a sporadic Black Friday shopper. If I go, I am going after a few large items, or when everyone wants something from the same store. Best Black Friday experience was at Cabelas. I got up at 4:30 – drove out there, when you walked in the store there was someone directing you to where your items were. Of course both mine were in the back of the store. On the way I found 4 other items on my list. I was in and out of the store and back home in bed in less than an hour and a half. I am almost done shopping for this year and I do not need anything big, so I will skip this year.

  • Lisa November 16, 2015, 6:35 am

    I’ve worked retail for 10 years this is the first year I’m not. I can’t say I miss it. I may try it once just too see if I like it but I refuse too get up supper early or stand in a line all night. I totally understand it from retail workers side it’s exhausting.

  • Linda Murnan November 22, 2016, 12:11 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Besides the crowds, parking and mean shoppers there’s no deal that good out there that kids can’t live without. I quit shopping BF years ago. Just not worth it.


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