According to MSN Money, "The world's largest retailer (Wal-Mart) is pulling forward by nearly a month seven big deals on items like TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for the day after Thanksgiving and so-called Cyber Monday."
It goes on to say, ""It's been a tough year for the average American family," Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Wal-Mart.com, told The Associated Press. "It's our job to be able to help our customers.""
While this could be a good thing for cash-strapped consumers this holiday season, it's not going to affect what or how I spend. While such lures are a temptation, over the years, I've learned better than to be hooked by such deals, and I have saved a lot of money in the process.
Sticking to the plan
Letting those big sales and national statistics sway me in my shopping plan could lead to greater expenses this holiday season if I let it. That "follow the herd" mentality might put a greater dent in my wallet.
MSN Money notes that, "The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, expects an increase of 3.9 percent in sales for the November-December period. That's higher than last year's 3.5 percent, but the forecast didn't account for the prolonged shutdown. Online sales are expected to be up 13 percent to 15 percent, according to the group."
But just because they're saying it, doesn't make it true in my case. I've got my list, got my shopping plan, and I'm adhering to it based on my budget, not what trade groups are telling me is "expected".
It sounds like there are going to be some good deals out there this year. The MSN Money article I mentioned previously noted one of Wal-Mart's sales promotions is "a 42- inch JVC LED TV for $299, a savings of 36 percent…" which sounded pretty good to me at first. Then I thought about it. While such an item would be nice, do we really need it?
My in-laws have flat screen TVs and it just doesn't seem like they last that long. Meanwhile, we're still using the older box television versions, which seem to do quite well. Our latest such buy cost us $10 at a garage sale (we sold our prior 10-year-old version at our own garage sale the last time we moved for $10). This television works just fine, so why spend $300 for something we really don't need and that could potentially not last as long?
Meanwhile, the article points out another promotion, "…a 10-inch XELIO tablet for $49, a 51 percent discount." Sounds like a great deal, but we don't allow our son to play video games throughout the week during the school year, and he gets obsessed with silly games on my mother-in-law's tablet when we visit, so do I really want to bring such an item into the house even at such a discount?
Rationalizing such purchases before making them helps us keep our holiday budget intact.
Shopping online keeps me out of harm's way
When I'm out in the stores doing my shopping, while I have a pretty strong willpower, even I'm tempted at times by impulse buys. However, when I shop at online sites, I'm more likely to stick to my game plan. I look up the item(s) I'm interested in, add them to my cart, and checkout without having to wander all over the store, stumbling into things that I shouldn't buy, but might be buying anyway.
And in these ways, I'm hoping to avoid overspending this holiday season. While I might be missing out on some "deals", will it really matter if I don't need them in the first place?
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.
- Banking & Budgeting