Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday vs. is it really worth it?

‘Tis the season of shopping and spending. The Black Friday and Cyber Monday countdown is reaching its end, which means we’ll finally be able to shop for those suede boots and that videogame or flat screen TV we’ve long awaited. ComScore, an analytics company from the U.S., predicts a total spending of $70.1-billion USD buying gifts online during this season, a 14 per cent increase from last year. And let’s not even try to predict how many people will camp outside H&M to get the best coupons.

‘Tis also the season we forget about the economic depression that looms outside the mall and beyond Amazon. The season when consumerism reaches its acme and when we senselessly spend on things we can’t really afford. I mean, we’re students. We’ve all bought things we can’t afford like that economics textbook I bought the first week of school or the laptop I bought during the summer. But the real issue during this season is we buy things we don’t actually need. We use the excuse “it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal” and “this has never been this cheap” or “if I don’t buy it now, someone will be here within five minutes and will take it forever from me and how will I sleep at night” to justify our spending.

The worst part is, the really good deals are just a few.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m big on shopping. But after a few years of wasting my money on many stupid things and hating myself for it, I’ve realized there’s a fine line between shopping intelligently for stuff you’ve wanted for a long time and simply surrendering to the brain-washing marketing of retail giants.

The advertising business in the United States wastes $12 billion every year to get you. Psychologists are hired to create ads capable of convincing people they need what’s being offered. And what better time to buy these things than during Black Friday? And if you hate dealing with lines at stores, then you have Cyber Monday where you can shop from the comfort of your home.

The documentary The Story of Stuff explains how, after six months, 99 per cent of what we buy is discarded; only 1 per cent remains. This means the money you used to pay for the 99 per cent of things you bought is also wasted. Hopefully these statistics will encourage you to walk by the huge SALE signs that hang from the windows of every store at the mall and downtown without going crazy. Remember, this is the money you’ve worked hard to get. Think as hard while spending it.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are usually a great opportunity for stores to get rid of all their last season clothes or old things they could never actually sell. Keep this in mind as well.

Usually people ask themselves, is Black Friday better than Cyber Monday? Of these two dates, when should I spend all my money? Instead of asking themselves: is it really worth it at all?

To make things easier for you, I made a list of the stores you should watch out for. Stores that actually have good deals you might enjoy shopping at without hating yourself for it a day later.

Best deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Amazon’s Lightning Deals will go on during the whole week. Keep an eye out for electronics. Best Buy’s deals on electronics can get you the speakers or TV you’ve always wanted. American Eagle’s clothes (especially their jeans, not their old, already-on-sale stuff) get good discounts. Aldo is another of my favorites to visit during Black Friday. Keep an eye out for their purses, wallets, scarves and beanies. If you’re willing to make the line and wait, H&M has coupons up to $200 that are a great deal.

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