America has many holidays and many traditions. For the most part everyone falls in line and does what everyone else does. This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving and it is custom that people come together and eat wonderful food around a dinner table. They give thanks and watch sports throughout the day. Thanksgiving is a time of relaxation and reflection on the year up to this point.
But there is a tradition that comes right after Thanksgiving, sometimes it collides with it. It is a tradition that is full of panic and frenzy. Full of inconsideration, impatience, and anger. Black Friday is this week also and it is a time where we go from being thankful at 5pm to standing in line at 6pm on Thanksgiving night basically saying we don't have enough and we need more.
Participating in Black Friday is fine. Yes, you read that correctly. Participating is fine. It is fine if you are not in debt. If you don't have a student loan in the thousands of dollars by all means stand in line for that flat screen tv. If you are not in credit card debt then that new laptop is going to look great on your desk. If you have saved thousands of dollars for your child who is a high school senior to go to college next year then yes that $300 you were planning to spend is more than fine.
If you are in debt what if you chose to be different this year? What if you ignored tradition and avoided Black Friday? How about instead of cutting your Thanksgiving dinner short so that you can be in line you actually enjoyed your family. Instead of waking up at 4am to catch a doorbuster you slept in late and caught up on some much needed sleep. I used to do it all when it came to Black Friday and I knew all the tricks! There was never a Black Friday where I did not get everything on my list!
I always won until the day I lost. When I lost my job a month before Black Friday I realized that I had to be different if I wanted to win the right way. That year and two years after I did not participate in Black Friday. I was $50,000 in debt and it made no sense for me to spend money that could be used to pay off that debt. No discount could justify my money going to some store. I am debt free today and have been for a while, but those two years of being different broke me from the Black Friday routine.
I don't attend Black Friday anymore mainly because I arrived at a place where I realized that I have enough. That place where I understand that putting my money in the right place (my business) gives me a larger return on investment. That ROI brings more into my household than a 40% off TV. Truth be told you can find better deals throughout the year and by taking that approach you are actually able to pace yourself and your money.
Being different is not easy in the short term, but it is worth it financially in the long term. Cheers to being different!
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