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Weekend Reading: The Black Friday Edition

Ahh, Black Friday. The day for personal finance experts to get up on their soap-boxes and preach about the evils of consumerism and spending. It’s also the time for news media to reach out to said experts and get their ‘tips and tricks’ to combat the evil forces of The Black Friday, as if we’ll storm through your inbox and delete every email from WestJet, lululemon, Shoppers Drug Mart, Aritzia, Sport Chek, Apple, and Bed Bath & Beyond (an excerpt from my wife’s inbox Friday).

I refuse to take part in the media’s ridiculous obsession with Black Friday. No, I will not do a segment about how to shop Black Friday without overspending, or where to find the best deals on Black Friday, or how to avoid Black Friday altogether (really?).

Like Des from Half Banked, I’m not a Black Friday hater. If you want to drive to Buffalo, camp overnight outside of Wal-Mart, hit the mall, or stay home and shop online, by all means, knock yourself out. Here are my tips for shopping on *Black Friday:

*Substitute Black Friday for any day of the week

  • We anchor to price in order to determine a product’s value. But anchoring can be deceiving. The classic example is Amazon showing you an inflated retail price, crossing it out, and showing a sale price: Black Friday Amazon pricingBut a website that claims to track the price history of products sold on Amazon says those items never sell for the regular retail price, suggesting the average sale price is closer to the ‘Deal Price’ it typically offers all the time. Tricky!
  • If you planned to spend $$$ on a Christmas present, television, sweater for your nephew, etc. and you see it on sale for $$, go ahead and buy it.
  • If you didn’t plan to spend $$$ on anything, but you find something interesting on sale for $, be aware that you didn’t save $$, you spent $. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But you didn’t save money. You spent it.
  • Err, make a list or something.

That’s it. Black Friday, in Canada anyway, is just another day. Let’s get off our soap-boxes and give people permission to shop, or not.

Also read: The first Black Friday, by William Bradford

This Week’s Recap:

On Monday I reviewed Dollars and Sense, the excellent new book by Dan Ariely.

On Wednesday Marie wrote about how to leverage technology into good financial habits.

And on Friday I shared three ways for investors to get international diversification.

Over on the Toronto Star I explained why parents should make RESPs a priority.

We had 91 entries looking to win a free copy of Dollars and Sense. Congratulations to ‘Carmen’ who commented on November 20th at 7:56 a.m. You’re the lucky winner!

Weekend Reading:

The CEO of CPP’s Investment Board says the pension plan is safe for generations.

Investors want to know why watchdogs didn’t raise a red flag on a deal that sent a penny stock soaring 1,000% and then collapsed.

Shameful. B.C. Securities Commission has collected only 2% of the $510 million in fines it has issued against people whose fraudulent schemes have cost investors millions.

CBC Go Public shares another doozie: Bell insider reveals high-pressure sales tactics required on every single call.

How long until Loblaw employees start aggressively approaching shoppers with its new premium loyalty program, priced at $9.99/month?

The Auditor-General says Canada Revenue Agency’s call centres blocked more than half the calls they received and gave taxpayers the wrong answers to their questions nearly one third of the time.

Dan Ariely shares a cool experiment on getting people to agree. Watch the TED Talk below:

Here’s why emotions interfere with investing decisions more than we thought.

A great example of nudge theory at work: In Oregon, you can now save for retirement. Unless you object.

Another great read from Morgan Housel: Seven billion people on this planet share a flaw – they’re out of touch with almost everyone else.

An annuity can make sense to combat longevity risk, but most people struggle with shelling out big bucks to an insurance company today in exchange for small, regular payouts for life. Michael James looks at the annuity puzzle.

Rob Carrick is excited to see that e-Transfers are ousting paper cheques (finally).

Big Cajun Man Alan Whitton cautions readers not to let their finances slip for an extended period of time.

Finally, here are 10 ‘unexpected’ bargains at Costco.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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5 Comments

  1. Alan Whitton (Big Cajun Man) on November 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Thanks for the inclusion this week. Even if you are sick, get someone else to take care of your finances if you have to. Don’t let it go, or you will end up paying dearly.

  2. KC on November 26, 2017 at 7:53 am

    I pretty much did all my Christmas shopping yesterday because of Black Friday. I kept track of all prices that were on my list and compared it to the deals and they were legit. I saved myself at least $100 on my Christmas shopping. 🙂

    • Echo on November 26, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Hi KC, see – that’s what I’m talking about! Good for you!

  3. Solitary Diner on November 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Hmmm…the ESPlanner told me I should be spending $140,000 per year as a single person. And investing only $40,000. I don’t think it applies to everyone’s situation! Either that, or I should start booking more first-class plane tickets.

  4. Jean C. on November 26, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Oh darn!!!
    Did I miss Black Friday?

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