What’s the Price of Your “Deal”?

I always shop online black friday, I have for years, I save my big ticket electronic items or other common sale types and wait until midnight Thanksgiving when I hop online and buy my carefully researched and price matched selections. Those 15 minutes have saved me hundreds most years.

Not this year.

My husband’s laptop has been terminally ill with a dying harddrive for months so I knew I would be looking for one but I also had a half dozen other items I was pricing to purchase, should they be good deals.

So I did what I always do, sometime in October I started looking at prices, brands, selection, etc. I placed over a dozen items in my Amazon cart and clicked “save for later”. I do this so I can easily compare the prices day by day. I repeated the process with my walmart and target carts and checked a few office store sites as well.

Then I noticed a trend.

In years past the prices either stayed the same or crept down in the weeks surrounding black friday but this year in the month before almost every item in my cart went up. They increased sometimes by as much as $50.

I compared the pre-increase prices to the “black friday deal price” and in almost every instance the “deal” was the same or only 5-10% less than the “list” price had been in October.

I of course didn’t buy any of it, I won’t be tricked by advertising but judging by the swarms of people shopping and flooding websites alot of people were.

I know some people who go black friday shopping just because they think its fun (seriously?) but most do it for the “deals” and with the exception of a handful of “doorbusters” at each store the deals were…not deals. They were illusions created by jacking the prices up in anticipation of the “sale” then slashing them so you can hang shiny signs 30% Off!, 40% Off!, Buy Me Now!

The prices are always increased in anticipation of these sales but this is the first year that I noticed so many items where the “deal” was still equal to the original sticker price, usually the tactic is used to make it seem you are getting a bigger deal than you are but this year it was often used to make it seem like you were getting a deal at all.

I know this will fall on deaf ears but in case you really do strive to live the frugal life like me I implore you to make any purchase decision an informed one, check prices and not just the day or week you want it, check it for a few weeks, be weary of advertising and the faux “demand” created by pushy, buy me now, “deals won’t last” sales.

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Convenience is a Con

Convenient! Cheap! Easy! Free! Music to a mother’s ears. These words entice us, they beckon to us as our child has a meltdown, the dishwasher overflows or we realize we forgot the item we drove to the store for in the first place. They are our friends, caring for us in the haggard moments we try not to let others see. Hello boxed meal, you have saved dinner! Nice to see you again pinterest, I am so excited to work together! Oh sale price, you look great! But in a world with so few princes and so many frogs how many times do these magic words lure you in and leave you emptier than you came?

I have to come to accept that convenience is almost always a con. It comes with a hidden cost.

Buying a prepackaged, prepared or otherwise “easy” meal means you will probably pay more and/or lose nutritional value.

Waiting until the last minute to buy a gift means you will probably pay more for it and put less thought than you should have.

Looking for “inspiration” on the internet may mean you squash your own creativity or waste time.

Finding that sale item may mean you get lower quality that doesn’t go the distance.

Are there times things can be a little easier or cheaper without a bid hidden price? Sure, but those princes are few and the frogs are many. Beware the “easy way out”.

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“It Couldn’t Happen to Me.”

“I’m a good parent.”

“I always check.”

“I’d never forget.”

“I wouldn’t…”

These things are easy to say. We don’t want to envision a scenario where we could be responsible for our child’s death so we try to reason with reality.

But the reality is you could, you might, and it only takes one time. You could forget your child in a car. It could happen to you. I know there are cases when horrible scum of humans have intentionally left children but normally it is just an accident. A terrible, life wrecking, soul destroying accident.

I am terrified of something like that, it makes me check my car constantly.

But that is not enough.

I have started using the left shoe method (read about it here) and I have to say that it is so simple but so important.

I know it is intended mainly for dads or moms who are out of routine and want to make sure nothing could happen but it should be intended for every parent with a young child in the car.  I want devices that will help prevent these tragic deaths just like everyone else but this is important now and there is a solution available now.

Every time you get in the car with your baby place your left shoe in the back with them. It will help ensure you never have to experience the pain and loss and guilt that so many good parents in our country have.

When I arrived at the mall to meet a girlfriend for shopping I had not planned to take my daughter but she was fussing and I didn’t want poor dad to have a rough evening so in the car she went. I put my shoe back there knowing that the feeling of playing my own music (no 3 year old in the backseat!) and heading somewhere to shop for myself for fun was so out of routine that it would put me out of “mommy” mode and it alleviated the fear I could get there and walk off in a rush forgetting the sleeping angel in my seat.

If we all stop pretending it could never happen to us and instead take steps to prevent it maybe it never would have to happen again.

This year alone there have already been 16 deaths in the U.S., 7 would have certainly been prevented using this method.

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