Savings & Investments

Are Black Friday Deals Really Worth It?

While the prospect of saving money on everything from electronics to clothing to kitchen appliances is an enticing one, there are a few factors to consider when determining whether Black Friday deals are really worth it.

The first and most important thing to consider is how you plan on accessing the savings. Taking a trip to the US? Letting your fingers do the shopping online? Or are you taking advantage of the deals offered by local retailers? However you decide to get in on the Black Friday action, make sure you’re actually getting the savings you expect.

Why Did the Canadian Cross the Road?

To get a deal, of course! If you’re just a short drive from the U.S. border and don’t mind standing outside a U.S. BestBuy at 4:00 a.m., your savings could be significant. But have you factored in all the costs associated with your purchase? There’s more to consider than just the checkout price.

To determine if your cross-border trip is really saving you money, you’ll need to calculate a few things:

  • How much am I spending on gas to get there and back?
  • How much will the item cost after the exchange rate is applied?
  • Will I have to pay any customs fees when I come back to Canada?
  • How much is my time worth? If you’ve missed work, this is an easy one. If you haven’t missed work, ask yourself if there’s a cost associated with losing hours of time you could have spent on other things (including sleep, which to some is priceless).

If all these expenses add up to more than you’re saving, you might benefit from shopping online or visiting a Canadian retailer instead.

Avoid the Crowds

For those of us who don’t live close enough to drive to the States, the cost of travel likely won’t outweigh the potential savings. A trip from my home in Newfoundland to Maine would cost hundreds of dollars for the flight, plus bus/taxi/car rental fees, hotel, food and incidentals, not to mention the time cost. Luckily, I can avoid these expenses and still grab a great deal by shopping online. Most U.S. retailers now include Black Friday bargains on their websites, and many Canadian retailers do as well. While the exchange rate and possible customs fees are still a consideration, and shipping fees may be applied as well, it’s still cheaper than buying items in-store for those of us who are just too far away.

Online shopping is also a great option for those who prefer to shop in the comfort of their own homes, regardless of where they are In relation to the border.

Whatever your reasons, shopping online is a sure way to save time as well as money.

Go to Town!

Many U.S.-based retailers have gotten into the Black Friday action on this side of the border, and it’s a growing trend among Canadian retailers as well. You can find great deals at local stores, without having to worry about exchange rates and customs fees.  Here too, doors open early, in-store quantities are limited, and lineups start before dawn. So if you want to experience the Black Friday phenomenon, do it Canadian-style. Grab a Timmie’s on the way. Chat with the person beside you in line about how darn cold it is. And remember your manners – no pushing or shoving, please. After all, we are Canadians!

Celebrate #GivingTuesday

The Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving, is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back. Maybe you found a deal during Black Friday, or maybe not. Either way, helping your community or donating to your favourite charity will leave you feeling great. And, if you do choose to make a donation, hold on to your tax receipt and be sure to claim the deduction on your tax return. Check out our 6 Tips for Maximizing your Tax Credits for Charitable Donations article to learn more.