The Value of Shopping and Black Friday

With Christmas only one month away and Black Friday today, the Christmas Shopping frenzy is just around the corner.  Lately, more often than not, I hear “I’m going down to the States this weekend to go shopping.  Everything is so much cheaper down there.”    Now, in some cases this is true.  The actual price tag, or cost of the item, is often a bit lower in the States.  This is especially true of American products and labels, and with the dollar being near par.  However I look beyond the price tag and calculate the value.

The thing I value most in my life (other than my amazing man, family, and friends) is my time.   I’m a busy gal.  I work 45 hours per week, work daily on my blog , yoga classes, physio appointments, a house to maintain, a boyfriend I live with, family, friends, and a cat.  So needless to say, my time for shopping, Christmas or otherwise, is limited.  If I was to give up a whole day to go south of the border for the sole purpose of shopping, I would be sacrificing my time somewhere else in my life.

Think about it.  If I wanted to go down for Black Friday shopping I need to:

  • Grab my passport.
  • Exchange some cash (unless I do the credit card thing, but then I’m just asking for trouble).
  • Get up and out of the house at a descent time to get my place in the line up at the border.
  • Wait at the border (and yes, even the Nexus peeps are waiting in border line ups this time of the year).
  • Drive to my destination.
  • Pay for all this gas I’m using to get down there and back.
  • I’m going to need to eat at some point…so $$ for food.
  • Stand in line at 5am to make sure I get the best possible deal. ( I’m not sure what I would get out of bed for at this time of day???  99% off Manolo Blahniks?…ok yes, that I would do.)
  • Fight and push to get what ever it is everyone is fighting and pushing to get.  (Besides, any thoughtful gift worth giving to a loved one, should be bought in anger, right?)
  • Wait in line at the till to  pay for the items I’m”saving money” on.
  • Drive back to the border….wait in line….wait in line…wait in line.
  • Convince the border dude that I only spent $100 shopping on Black Friday.

Here’s me shopping at home:

  • Get up at my leisure.
  • Get in my car and drive to destination.
  • Buy unique gifts from one of my fave local boutiques.
  • Get a coffee.
  • Go home.

And at home shopping wins it!  Now I’m not saying you should never shop in the States.  I’m going down to L.A. in a couple of weeks and plan on spending some dough while I’m there.  I’m just saying, calculate the value of the item you feel you must buy down south.  Factor in gas, trip expenses, and of course, your time.  I know for me, no deal is worth me going through all that hassle.

I also place value in my shopping experience.  I enjoy service, pretty packaging, short line ups, and knowing that I’m supporting my local economy and small businesses.  After all if we don’t support the boutiques we love now, they won’t be around for us to shop in later.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

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