Ah, November. That time of year when (in most places) the air takes on a pre-snow chill, the last of the leaves start to crinkle and fall from the trees and, most importantly, the Shopper Monsters in us begin to poke their heads out and sniff the air.
It started on the very first day of the month. All through October you saw Christmas-y things peeking out from store corners — a roll of wrapping paper here, a sprig of holly there — but you didn’t really think about it. Maybe you didn’t want to think about it. You were still deciding on what candy to hand out to trick-or-theaters, after all.
Then, without warning, November hit, and with it, the holiday season. As you browsed department stores looking for day-after-Halloween candy deals, you couldn’t help but notice it looked as if the North Pole exploded all over. Your Shopper Monster growled and wagged its tail eagerly. You gently tugged at its leash and got into the checkout line, where you saw that they were already selling Christmas-themed candy, at three times the price of the discounted bag you were getting ready to purchase. The days have passed, growing shorter all the while, along with the patience of your Shopper Monster.
Soon it will be here. The most magical day of the year for your Shopper Monster: Black Friday. Just as it did in years’ past, by now the Shopper Monster will have wriggled its way out and started hauling you around, while all you can do is flail behind helplessly, holding onto the leash for dear life, pretending you have some semblance of power over the beast.
Other people’s Shopper Monsters are even worse; more than once they’ve been driven to go straight to bed after Thanksgiving dinner so they can wake up at an ungodly hour and spend the day fully energized, racing from store to store, finding the best deals on this mp3 player and that blender. Others have powered through the day aided by espresso shot after espresso shot. Still others waited for midnight to hit, refreshing their Internet browsers over and over so they can get first dibs on the online deals.
And what for? All in the name of discount home furniture and new kitchen appliances. The truth is that Black Friday can save you a lot of money, but being a smart consumer all year round can do the same thing. Black Friday is just one day out of the year stores have big sales — most will have at least one other big blowout at some point in the year, and will always have a few things on sale throughout the year.
Checking online frequently is the easiest way to check for discounts on home furniture, kitchen appliances and everything else you don’t want to pay full price for. You might be able to save a lot of money on Black Friday — your sanity is a whole other story. Keep your eyes and ears open for deals 365 days a year, and you’ll be able to keep that Shopper Monster happy all year.