Do you Black Friday?

I have never been one to wake up at 4am for anything, especially Black Friday. It’s too early, too crowded and unless you are looking for the 10 laptops that Best Buy is selling for $3 each, the deals aren’t that great.

My husband, the techie, seems to think that Black Friday as a day is almost dead. I’ve been getting emails for the past two weeks about Pre-Black Friday, Not-Black-Friday Friday, and Super Not-Black-Friday-Black-Friday-on-a-Thursday Sales. It’s pretty insane. All these retailers trying to get your cash before the Black Friday sales begin. With the internet, most of the sales have already been leaked so other retailers can try to do better beforehand.

I also learned a few months ago that retailers have to order their holiday merchandise in April. In April of this year, the economy looked like it was growing at a good clip and economists had a rosy outlook for the rest of the year. Retailers, therefore, ordered a lot of inventory. The economy has cooled a bit and many retailers are now worried they are going to be stuck with excess inventory this holiday season. I think this is why we are seeing so many early sales. Retailers understand that the days of huge credit card Christmases are over for many people and there are very limited dollars out there this season. Those retailers are going to be scrambling for your business.

So what is my plan? I’ve put my budget together and I’m going to start my list. I will be checking Amazon’s deals on Thanksgiving via my smart phone since they generally have some interesting deals. I will then check the retail sales figures the Monday after Thanksgiving. If the numbers are worse than expected, the sales are going to get much better in the coming weeks. If the numbers are good, but not great, the sales will continue after Black Friday is over. If the numbers are somehow great, I’ll be doing most of my shopping online. I have signed up for emails from all the retailers I plan to shop with and I’ll be checking my and accounts for bonus cash back offers.

I will be sleeping in on Black Friday and enjoying my day off. Where will you be? How do you do your holiday shopping? What’s your plan to be the best deals?

How do you spend?

I think part of the reason that I don’t spend much money is because I don’t put myself in situations where I can spend money. I only go to stores when I have something specific I need. I’m not one of those people who will just walk the mall because I know I will find something I need want. Whenever I go shopping, I make a list of the stores I’m going to go to and what I’m going to purchase there. I try to bundle a bunch of shopping needs into one trip and I try to calculate how much I think I’m going to spend. Doing this usually makes me look at my list again to make sure I really need everything I’m going to buy. When I think I’m going to spend $300 on an outing, it makes me reexamine my trip.

In order to not spend, I try not put myself in situations where I will spend. My weakness is kitchen stuff. I love to cook and I have lots of gadgets and things I would love to buy. I try to keep myself out of situations where I can buy these things. I avoid going into William Sonoma or the kitchen department at Target. If I go into a store with my list, I know exactly what departments I need to go into and only go into those departments. When I go to the grocery store, I skip isles I don’t need to go down. It saves me time and money.

What I’ve learned this month

  • I’ve learned that sometimes you just need a break from the blog and even if you don’t write for almost a month, people will still come to the blog. You guys amaze me and I love you all for it.
  • I’ve learned that you can rebuild relationships.
  • I’ve learned that spending a little extra on really good food saves me in the long run because I don’t crave crappy fast food as much.
  • I’ve learned that I will never knit Christmas gifts as fast as I think I can.
  • I’ve learned that even my evil black cat can sense when I’m sad and will come comfort me.
  • I’ve learned that you don’t need to decorate for Christmas to have a festive holiday.
  • I’ve learned that I hate Christmas shopping for my husband and from now on we’ll just go shopping together, even if it’s not a surprise.
  • I’ve learned I can make a damn good turkey dinner and that oven roasting bags are AWESOME!
  • I’ve learned that I can pull off a successful holiday meal with a bit of planning and a husband who cleans (Thank you Jeff).
  • I’ve learned that all you need to get your friends out of the house is bacon, cheese and chocolate (I’ll explain soon).
  • I’ve learned that I can’t always do it all and sometimes I need to accept that.
  • I’ve learned that it’s not about how much you spend on a Christmas gift but how much thought and effort you put into it that counts.
  • I’ve learned that I still hate shopping, except at Stew Leonards.
  • I’ve learned that a hot cup of coffee and some good kinmates make the season bright.
  • I’ve learned that turning 30 is not nearly as bad as turning 29.

While it may not be evident on the blog, it has been a very productive December for me. I’ll catch you all up soon. What did you learn during the holidays?

I’m sorry

I’ve been under the weather for about a week now, which is why I haven’t updated at all this week. I’ve also been extremely busy with work and school, which is a terrible combination when you are sick. The great thing about being sick is that you really don’t spend any money.

WARNING: Getting sick is not a good way to start being frugal!

I hope your October budgets went well. We did really well on our food budget and didn’t spend much on other things. I started my Christmas shopping and I had a wedding to go to this month. Thank God for the gift account. Having that money put aside saved me from breaking my budget this month. I haven’t make November’s budget yet, but I haven’t spent any money either. I’ll try to get to that tomorrow and will report soon.

Jeff’s session: The mall

My Saturday began like many others.  I woke up, waited for a few hours then made first contact with the wife.  Instantly my early warning detectors went off.  She seemed to be moving through the house with an odd purpose.  If I didn’t know better, I would have thought she stashed her coupons and it took her time to go to these safe spots and gather the horde together for the weekly invasion of the grocery store.  I am not a fan of grocery shopping.  I hate the lost of speed as coupons and prices are looked at.  However, I am a fan of the money she saves us and I truly believe that if I go I can make it as fun as possible.  It will help both of us save money.  However, as I learned this week you must do your best to look under the surface of these trips.

Kristin looked a little guilty as she asked if I would go shopping with her.  However, I was instantly distracted when she mention we where going to Victoria Secret.  She kept talking, but I have to admit I was thinking more about the possibility of “helping” her in the dressing room than listening to every little thing she said.  Did I say she was looking very good that morning?

I was a little confused as we stopped at Wendy’s to grab a quick lunch because as she said, “It would be dangerous to go to the store on an empty stomach.”  I should have been worried at this point.  But, I was stuck more on the thought, “yummy hamburger”.

We finished up and drove up the hill to the big scary mean place called the mall.  I actually think I saw a very lovely old lady eating a kitty and slapping a child as we parked.

Just as we went into Victoria Secret, the trip turned from fantasy vacation into shopping trip. I guess there is a store policy at our mall that states dirty old men are not allowed into the dressing rooms.  They even had a picture of me placed up next to the door as the “prime” example.

I felt betrayed.  How could such a travesty happen in modern America?  We walked up to several small labeled bins.  I thought at least it would be quick.  We approached a flock of harpies hovering over the bins tossing random samples of underwear in every type and size.  I heard that lovely old lady cackling behind me.  I turned to see she was pointing at me and laughing.  I turned back and my wife had started mining the bins.  Since, I was worried about black lung I tried to get her to stop.  She flashed me the cute eyes and started to fling underwear at me. Apparently, I was the designated mine cart for the underwear of excellent deal.

Finally after the vein had been depleted we made our way out into the mall.  Then the oddest thing happened she turned the wrong way.  I was like, “Honey, the car is the other way.”  In a shocked voice she said, but I told you that I need to get some summer clothes.  She stopped and looked me gently in the eyes and said, “Honey by the time school ended, I was almost out of summer clothes. You wouldn’t want that to happen would you.”  My eyes look up as I innocently considered the possibilities of my wife with no summer clothing. My wife must have misinterpreted my innocent smile and she felt the need to say, “Jeffery!” I don’t know why she feels the need to say this so often.   We moved on. As I walked, some lovely looking old lady shouldered me and as I turned punched me squarely in the jaw. She pointed at me laughing as we entered one of my wife’s favorite clothing stores.

I bumped into my wife as she stopped right inside the door.  I looked around and to our horror the entire store looked like the reject patterns from Woodstock.  She quickly moved through the store and left.  We went through every store in the mall.  There seems to be no such thing as normal summer clothes for women.  One store was so painful I turned into a pillar of salt for just looking at the annoying patterns.  She just kept mentioning how she hates clothes shopping.  As the number of stores we entered approached the size of the national debt I believed her.  I swear we went into about 2 trillion stores in our mall before we left with a bag of untested panties.  And we saw less then a handful of styles.  Clubbing cloths which I thought were great but my wife didn’t want to wear.  Seeing the shear volume of hippie cloths makes me worry that the drug problems are starting to approach the per capita levels of the late sixties. We saw clothes my Nana would not of worn because they where for old people and clothes that might be appealing to a 10 to 12 year old girls . . . the clothes appeared to be in stores for men or stores with marketing for 17 to 21 year old girls. . . riiiiiight.

I worked past my normal hated of cloths shopping to a state of sorrow for my wife.  I think she might even hate cloths shopping more then I do.  However, unlike me, she will not settle on the closest clothing that will not make me vomit and then buy ten.  She just seems to keep look for something she actual does not hate.  I felt very sorry for her as we pulled out and into the strip mall next door. ………………NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

See you next time Clothing Cowboy!

Note from Kristin: I do hate clothes shopping. I have a terrible time finding things that fit in prints that are not blinding. I don’t know why stores feel the need to showcase clothing in bright vomit prints and horizontal stripes for overweight people. At least I got 11 pairs of underwear for $25. I’ve got a stockpile for a year now 🙂

How I survived a computer disaster