How you spend your time says a lot about what you value.
Most of the time, when we think about investments, we think about things like stocks and bonds and maybe even real estate. However, there are other items that yield returns — or result in losses. One of these investments is the way you use your time. This time of year, there is a lot written about Black Friday, and how you can get some great deals and “save” some money. But is Black Friday really worth it?
Maybe your time could be better spent doing something else.
What's Your Black Friday ROI?
In the past, I've written about how going out on Black Friday isn't really worth it to me. I can think of a number of things I'd rather do with my time. In fact, the ROI on Black Friday shopping really isn't that great, at least not for me.
The last time I went out on Black Friday, years ago, I spent four hours. I “saved” about $300 on items. However, today I value my time at about $90 an hour. So, that's $360. If you look at it from the perspective that I could have spent that four hours doing something productive to earn money, I actually lost?$60. And that doesn't include the impulse buys I made, the gas that was wasted as I circled parking lots and waited in traffic. I can't imagine the negative ROI that would have resulted if I had actually spent hours waiting in line for a doorbuster.
Before you get excited about rushing out on Black Friday, it can help to consider how much you truly expect to save, and how much the time you spend is going to cost you.
Could You Get Comparable Deals Another Way?
Thanks to the Internet, you can get plenty of great deals without ever leaving your couch. Look online for good savings, and you won't have to spend as much time waiting on line, driving, or fighting over items of limited quantity. If you like the thrill that comes with scoring a great deal, you can still get that online. After all, many web retailers have deals that are only available for a limited time, or for limited quantities. It can be a real rush (at least that's what my husband says) to emerge victorious in an online buying attempt.
Also, you don't need to buy into the Black Friday hype. There will be plenty of sales and deals from now until Christmas. You can go another time, when it's less crowded, and get good deals. You may not get the doorbusters, but unless you're willing to line up in the cold for hours, you aren't likely to get those deals anyway.
What Could You Be Doing Instead?
Finally, consider whether or not you might be better served to spend your time in other pursuits. You can spend time on Black Friday bolstering your home business, or working on a side hustle. That might bring in more money than you could save on deals. Or, if you shop online, you can buy what you want, and still have time to make a little money on the side.
However, it's not just money that constitues a good ROI on Black Friday. What about time you could spend with your family? Instead of spending hours and hours outside of the home, you could be spending quality time, on a day off, with your loved ones. Even if you bring your kids with you on Black Friday, you can't really call that quality time. After all, your kids are probably going to be tired, hungry and miserable as they follow you around. Hardly the equation for family harmony.
Some people really enjoy Black Friday, and find it worth their time. I really don't care for going out on Black Friday. I might spend a few minutes trying to find online bargains, but, for the most part, the day is one that I like to spend with my family. Building family relationships is an emotional investment that I find offers good returns — even better than money.
What do you think of Black Friday?