The Millionaire Next Door

Bologna on Black Friday!

The holiday shopping frenzy begins this week!  Therefore I thought it might be a good time to run a blog from last year entitled Black Friday Blues.  The theme of the blog is that in most cases the retail prices on popular consumer products are not at their lowest the Friday following Thanksgiving.  Certainly there are some items that are offered at steep discounts.  These are the headliners and traffic generators.  They are offered with the hope among retail marketers that customers will continue buying once they enter the store.  Ah, the recreational shoppers.

In a recent article on the topic of holiday bargains in The Wall Street Journal, Dana Mattioli wrote:

After crunching two to six years worth of pricing data for a number of typical holiday gifts,  The Wall Street Journal has turned up the best times to go deal hunting – and they almost never involved standing in the freezing cold all night.

Much of Ms. Mattioli’s article focuses on online retail offerings.  But here too she maintains that most of the best prices for a number of product categories appear at times other than the holiday season. 

Black Friday Blues [Dec.1, 2011]: 

Are you feeling blue, even guilty or left out?  You did not participate in the Black Friday madness.  Perhaps you didn’t even take advantage of all those opportunities available on Cyber Monday. . . .  Alternatively, you indeed might have been lucky and perhaps smart as well to have avoided following the crowd of more than 100,000,000 Americans who were stampeding in and out of stores and cyberspace.  In a recent New York Times article, the research by a University of Washington professor revealed the truth about Black Friday.

It’s not until early December . . . that prices are likely to be lowest for electronics, products that are among the biggest sellers on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

There were five or six tents pitched in front of my local Best Buy for two days, occupied by Black Friday zealots.  If these zealots had read this research,  would they still think that that flat-screen TV was such a bargain?  According to the UW professor:

. . . Black Friday is for retailers to go from the red into the black.  It’s not really for people to get great deals on most popular products.

The article further stated that:

In the case of toys stores actually offer the steepest discounts in the weeks immediately following Thanksgiving. . . .

So where does the millionaire next door fit into all of this?   Two days camping out in line, that’s 48 hours or nearly 5  times the number of hours a millionaire next door allocates per month to planning and managing his investments. The correlation is simple.  The less you shop the less you spend.  Never regret missing out on a so-called “sale.” 

6 thoughts on “Bologna on Black Friday!”

  1. I learned this truth 2 years ago when we were shopping for a train table for our son for Christmas. I watched the price of the table and saw the the table was cheaper two weeks before Black Friday, and cheaper again two weeks after Black Friday, but it was $40 more expensive ON Black Friday.

    My husband and I love your books! I read 3 of them recently, after discovering your blog. Thanks for doing such fabulous research and showing us who the true millionaires are, and how they really live. You’ve inspired our family to live differently. We’ve already made some big changes, like living on much less so that we can save 15-20% of our paycheck, and changing our perspective on what kind of house/neighborhood we’ll be buying, as we’re house shopping right now. We had it all wrong! 🙂

    Thanks again!

  2. I just started reading Stop Acting Rich for the second time. I love this book! BA is our goal. My wife and I just discovered estate auctions. We purchased a 9×12 Karastan area rug for $45 (retails new for $2500), and 6 antique walnut dining room chairs for $40 each (our first set of chairs, and we are in our 40’s). Let the IA’s pay full retail. Thank you, Tom, for your research.

  3. As a bargain shopper and avid follower of many of the principles, I cannot agree more with what the article suggests. While there is a deal or two to be had on Black Friday, most products are quite expensive. The best deals tend to be when others shoppers have no interest in the product. I buy my clothes at the end of a season for the next year and pick classic styles that will work for years. At one major dept store, I saw a $160 cashmere sweater on a Black Friday sale for $90-$100. Yet, I bought the identical cashmere sweater for $24 at the end of last season when they were trying to get them out of the store. When the sheep go one way, I head the other direction.

  4. Pingback: Distracted by Black Friday

  5. Pingback: Distracted by Black Friday | Data Points

  6. 12/5/15. As a PAW, I’ve never caught on to this shopping frenzy….I go to the store, list in hand and buy what I need…perhaps something for my girlfriend after I call and ask her what’s g2g e needs (not wants)…

    I’m 56…

    “The poor buy things, the middle class buy liabilities, & the affluent by things that bring a return.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *