U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 23 mins

5 Reasons to Skip Black Friday Sales

Kimberly Palmer

This year's Black Friday deals are impressive: The coupon site Brad's Deals reports that at Best Buy, you can get a 42-inch LCD television for $200, a Blu-ray player for $40, and a Lenovo laptop for $180. But do those discounts really justify standing in line, in the cold, for hours on Thanksgiving evening, when you could be home watching a movie instead? (This year, many stores plan to open at midnight or earlier on Thanksgiving instead of in the early morning hours on Friday.)

[In Pictures: 10 Ways to Start Earning Extra Money Now]

Telling shoppers to avoid sales might sound hypocritical coming from someone who has reported on the best deals and discounts out there. But there are some very good reasons why you should turn and walk the other way rather than let yourself be sucked into holiday sale mania. Here are five of them:

Many discounts will continue long after Black Friday is over. While certain so-called "doorbusters" are available for a limited time only (and in limited quantities), many deals will continue throughout the holiday season. (And, in fact, some, such as free shipping at online stores, are often available throughout the year.)

The best deals are only available to a few people. Those doorbusters aren't available in endless supply, which is why people line up so early in the hopes of being among the lucky few to snag one. While stores vary in how many doorbusters they keep in stock, Best Buy's ad specifies that stores will sell a minimum of 10 Lenovos for $180, for example. Circulars featuring Black Friday ads often contain information on the number of doorbusters, which helps shoppers gauge how competitive the day will be.

When you do score a discount, it often just leads to more spending. If you've ever impulsively bought a muffin to go with your coffee, or surprised yourself by buying a whole new outfit when you meant to get only a shirt, then you will understand why research shows that shopping leads to more shopping.

Shopping can be broken into two phases, researchers say. In the first stage, people question whether they want to make a purchase. When they decide that the pros outweigh the cons, the "buying phase" takes over. "Once that happens, a roller coaster of shopping can begin," says Uzma Khan, assistant professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and one of the study's authors. The researchers call the phenomenon "shopping momentum."

That means shopping sales can have the unintended consequence of leading to even more purchases, including ones that aren't on sale. Plus, many of the items that aren't doorbusters aren't even good deals, which is one reason shoppers should bring their smartphones and use them to compare prices on products before making purchases. (Certain apps, such as Pricegrabber's, make it easy to scan barcodes and see if a better deal is available elsewhere.)

[In Pictures: 10 Ways to Save on Food Costs]

Sales that get you to buy something you wouldn't have purchased otherwise are not good deals. It's just like the old joke: A woman brags to her husband about how much money she saved on a pair of shoes, and then he points out that she didn't save any money, she spent it, because she really doesn't need the shoes. The bottom line: Only take advantage of discounts when they're on items you would be purchasing anyway, even without the deal.

Frenzied buying almost never leads to smart shopping. One-day sales, midnight madness, and other sales techniques that spur quick decision-making tend to be disorienting and lead to over spending, says Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist and author of coauthor of Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail. "They're training [consumers] to purchase even though they may not be ready," she says. "If people are buying for fear or anxiety that it won't be available, then they're less likely to make good purchasing decisions."

Here are some alternative ways to spend your Black Friday: Giving back or volunteering, eating turkey leftovers, and getting an early start on Christmas movies. Most of the discounts will still be there when you're ready to hit the stores.

Twitter: @alphaconsumer



More From US News & World Report

  • Facebook under fire as US officials back removal of Zuckerberg as chairman
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Facebook under fire as US officials back removal of Zuckerberg as chairman

    Mark Zuckerberg came under fresh pressure after four US officials called for a boardroom shakeup at Facebook. Three state treasurers and a top official from New York have joined a shareholders’ motion to install an independent chairman at Facebook, claiming the move would improve governance and accountability. In June, Boston-based Trillium Asset Management, which holds $11m in Facebook shares, launched an effort to split the role of chairman and chief executive at Facebook following scandals over the hacking of personal data from millions of users and claims of hate speech and election-rigging.

  • Ken Langone: 'Who the hell in their right frame of mind would be buying bonds now?'
    Business
    Yahoo Finance

    Ken Langone: 'Who the hell in their right frame of mind would be buying bonds now?'

    Billionaire investor and philanthropist Ken Langone, the founder of The Home Depot (HD) and chairman of Invemed Associates, argued that there’s some “big time” structural problems in the market right now. Because if we are on a trajectory of raising rates that means, and if it keeps going that way and I don’t know how high it will go, and it keeps going that way then all the sudden the guy who bought those bonds is going to be looking at a fairly decent loss,” Langone said.

  • A former GE exec who trained new managers found that almost all of them were making the same mistake
    Business
    Business Insider

    A former GE exec who trained new managers found that almost all of them were making the same mistake

    Beth Comstock is the former vice chair of General Electric. Comstock would hand out "permission slips" authorizing employees to take risks — but she also said it's important for people to stop hiding behind their excuses. Beth Comstock doesn't tolerate excuses.

  • Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Finance
    Zacks

    Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Investors will be hoping for strength from BABA as it approaches its next earnings release, which is expected to be November 2, 2018. On that day, BABA is projected to report earnings of $1.16 per share, which would represent a year-over-year decline of 10.08%. Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for BABA.

  • Business
    Benzinga

    A Preview Of Bank Of New York Mellon's Q3 Earnings

    Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK) releases its next round of earnings this Thursday. Get the latest predictions in Benzinga's essential guide to the company's Q3 earnings report. Earnings and Revenue Bank of New York Mellon EPS is expected to be around

  • Employee Accused of Urinating on Production Line at Food Processing Facility
    Business
    WTKR - Norfolk

    Employee Accused of Urinating on Production Line at Food Processing Facility

    Smithfield Foods, Inc. said in a statement Tuesday that it disposed of more than 50,000 pounds of product after reports of an employee urinating at his station at the company’s processing facility in Virginia.

  • The First Episode of The Conners' Ratings Drops From Roseanne's Premiere Success
    News
    Time

    The First Episode of The Conners' Ratings Drops From Roseanne's Premiere Success

    Although the debut of ABC’s The Conners managed to outperform the Roseanne finale, its ratings were nowhere near those of the revival’s premiere. Tuesday night’s episode of The Conners—a spinoff starring the Roseanne cast minus Roseanne Barr—pulled in 10.5 million viewers with 2.3 rating among adults 18-49, beating out This Is Us for the demographic’s top spot of the night. Titled “Keep on Trucking,” the premiere of The Conners confirmed previous reports that Roseanne’s absense would be explained by having her character die from an opioid overdose.

  • Steven Mnuchin, Who Sat on Sears' Board for Years, Could Impact the Pensions of Thousands of Workers
    Business
    Fortune

    Steven Mnuchin, Who Sat on Sears' Board for Years, Could Impact the Pensions of Thousands of Workers

    Long before he was Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin was a student at Yale University. One of those was Eddie Lampert. Lampert, of course, is the recently departed CEO of Sears Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday.

  • Business
    CNBC

    Walmart saves $200 million by changing its light bulbs and $20 million with a new floor wax

    Walmart says switching to LED lights in its parking lots cut its annual energy costs by $200 million. A change in the floor wax it uses cut costs by $20 million a year because the floors need to be buffed less often. It's exactly what Walmart WMT is doing.

  • Intel restructures manufacturing organization
    Finance
    American City Business Journals

    Intel restructures manufacturing organization

    Chip giant Intel is restructuring its technology and manufacturing business group as it chases more connected device markets and grapples with delays on its next chip generation. In a memo to employees, reviewed by the Business Journal, Group President and Chief Engineering Officer Murthy Renduchintala described splitting the technology and manufacturing business into three groups. The three new groups are technology development, manufacturing and operations and global supply chain.

  • Better Buy: The Home Depot, Inc. vs. Lowe's
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Better Buy: The Home Depot, Inc. vs. Lowe's

    Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) have helped countless homeowners increase the value of their homes. They've also made many investors rich. With their shares having soared 879% and 484%, respectively, over the past decade, Home Depot and Lowe

  • 3 Stocks for Warren Buffett Fans
    Business
    Motley Fool

    3 Stocks for Warren Buffett Fans

    Warren Buffett has no shortage of acolytes, and it's easy to see why. The Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) chief and founder has made thousands of early investors in his conglomerate rich as the parent of businesses like GEICO car insurance and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has posted average annual returns of 20% over the last 50 years, crushing the market. Buffett has never gotten too big for his britches, however.

  • Prince Harry Has Spoken Publicly About the Royal Baby for the First Time
    News
    Time

    Prince Harry Has Spoken Publicly About the Royal Baby for the First Time

    After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle touched down in Sydney, Australia, to kick off their royal tour, Harry spoke publicly about Markle’s pregnancy for the first time. “We’re both absolutely delighted to be here, and really impressed to see you serving beer and tea at an afternoon in true Aussie style,” Harry said, drawing warm laughs with his remarks at a reception at the Admiralty House in Sydney Monday. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, says he and Duchess Meghan "genuinely couldn't think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby, be it a boy or a girl," on the first day of the couple's 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

  • Housing Stocks Tumble Midday; Home Depot Dents Dow
    Finance
    Investing.com

    Housing Stocks Tumble Midday; Home Depot Dents Dow

    Investing.com - Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and other housing-leveraged stocks fell in midday trading following disappointing data on home construction. Home Depot fell about 4.2% at 12:08 PM ET (16:08 GMT) and was a drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

  • Disney vs Netflix: Here's which stock would have made you richer if you invested $1,000 10 years ago
    Business
    CNBC

    Disney vs Netflix: Here's which stock would have made you richer if you invested $1,000 10 years ago

    On October 16, 1923, Walt and Roy Disney founded The Walt Disney Company and, nearly a century later, the company is one of the largest and most successful media conglomerates in the world. The answer is Netflix. According to CNBC calculations, a $1,000 investment in Netflix in October 2008 would be worth more than $97,560 as of after the earning bell on Monday, or more than 96 times as much, including price appreciation and dividends reinvested.

  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Q3 Earnings Preview: Here's What to Look Out For
    Business
    Zacks

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Q3 Earnings Preview: Here's What to Look Out For

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is expected to deliver a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher revenues when it reports results for the quarter ended September 2018. This widely-known consensus outlook gives a good sense of the company's earnings picture, but how the actual results compare to these estimates is a powerful factor that could impact its near-term stock price. The earnings report, which is expected to be released on October 24, 2018, might help the stock move higher if these key numbers are better than expectations.

  • Tilray CEO says there could be a $100 billion pot stock c...
    Business
    CNBC Videos

    Tilray CEO says there could be a $100 billion pot stock c...

    FM trader Tim Seymour takes on the Tilray CEO, Brendan Kennedy. A breakdown of the marijuana madness, with CNBC's Dirdre Bosa and Melissa Lee, and the Fast Money traders, Pete Najarian, Dan Nathan and Guy Adami.

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Credit Suisse Downgrades Home Depot, Lowe's On Reduced Upside Projections

    Home improvement retailers remain Credit Suisse's best sector from a structural perspective, and the sell-side firm's expectations for earnings growth remain unchanged. Credit Suisse's Seth Sigman downgraded Home Depot Inc (NYSE: HD) from Outperform to Neutral with a price target lowered from $222 to $204. Home Depot remains a best-in-class within the entire retail group and is backed by a "superb" management team, Sigman said in the downgrade note.

  • Why American Airlines Group Stock Jumped 6% -- Then Gave Most of It Back
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why American Airlines Group Stock Jumped 6% -- Then Gave Most of It Back

    Shares of American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) popped 6.4% in early trading Wednesday before retracting to close the day up less than 1% -- just 0.9%, to be precise. An upgrade assigned to the stock by Deutsche Bank appears to be the primary reason for the move. A Deutsche Bank analyst upgraded American Airlines stock from "hold" to "buy" on Wednesday, as we're told by our friends at StreetInsider.com.

  • Business
    TheStreet.com

    Jim Cramer: How These Five Tech Powerhouses Keep Coming Back

    if FAANG doesn't come back. Netflix added 1,09 million domestic subs which exceeded the 673,000 consensus, and internationally the company added a staggering 5.87 million subs versus the 4.46 million the analysts were hoping for. Netflix now has 130 million paid customers and it predicts another 9 million people will join in the fourth quarter.

  • AT&T (T) Q3 Earnings Preview: How Are Events Shaping Up?
    Business
    Zacks

    AT&T (T) Q3 Earnings Preview: How Are Events Shaping Up?

    The market expects AT&T (T) to deliver a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher revenues when it reports results for the quarter ended September 2018. This widely-known consensus outlook is important in assessing the company's earnings picture, but a powerful factor that might influence its near-term stock price is how the actual results compare to these estimates. The stock might move higher if these key numbers top expectations in the upcoming earnings report, which is expected to be released on October 24.

  • Nvidia (NVDA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Business
    Zacks

    Nvidia (NVDA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Heading into today, shares of the maker of graphics chips for gaming and artificial intelligence had lost 9.29% over the past month, lagging the Computer and Technology sector's loss of 4.86% and the S&P 500's loss of 3.08% in that time. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue is projecting net sales of $3.25 billion, up 23.44% from the year-ago period. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company's business outlook.

  • Where Will NVIDIA Be in 5 Years?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Where Will NVIDIA Be in 5 Years?

    At one time, NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) floated under the radar in the technology sector. Its graphics processing units (GPUs) were then niche tech products that appealed mainly to graphic artists and hardcore PC gamers, but that all changed over the last

  • Kinder Morgan (KMI) Tops Q3 Earnings Estimates
    Business
    Zacks

    Kinder Morgan (KMI) Tops Q3 Earnings Estimates

    Kinder Morgan (KMI) came out with quarterly earnings of $0.21 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.20 per share. This quarterly report represents an earnings surprise of 5%. Kinder Morgan, which belongs to the Zacks Oil and Gas - Production and Pipelines industry, posted revenues of $3.52 billion for the quarter ended September 2018, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.11%.

  • Kinder Morgan Canada's profit surges on TransMountain sale
    Business
    Reuters

    Kinder Morgan Canada's profit surges on TransMountain sale

    The company said on Wednesday it expects to return about C$1.2 billion ($921.5 million) or C$11.40 per restricted voting share from the sale to its shareholders. Its parent, U.S.-based Kinder Morgan Inc, closed the sale of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline to the Canadian government for C$4.5 billion in August. Kinder Morgan Canada said net income rose to C$1.35 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, from C$42.4 million, a year earlier.