Is Camping Out For Black Friday A Good Investment

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for this week’s special holiday edition of Monday Money! As you all probably already know, Thursday is thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. Being that I live so far away from family, it’s a nice excuse for a drive to enjoy a family dinner. However, we’re not necessarily going to talk about Thanksgiving today, we’re going to talk about the day after. The day deal junkies know as Black Friday.

I know that quite a few of you are in Canada, and I’m not sure if you have a day like Black Friday there, so I figured I’d explain it. Black Friday is a holiday for deal junkies. Almost every store in the United States offers great deals on this day. This year, I’ve seen ads for 80% off televisions, 70% off game consoles, and more.

Now here’s the kicker, almost every store offers a small percentage off of all purchases. However, the big sales, like those offering 70%, 80%, or even 90% are only for the first 3 to 10 items sold. After that, you get the regular deal. So, knowing that the big deals are only available to few, several people camp outside of stores for a full week or more, hoping to be the first to run in and grab the prized item. But, is this really a good investment? I mean, time is money! Let’s dig into the details and find out.

How Much Money Does It Cost To Camp?

Well, first you have to think about food. You’ll most likely be in a busy part of town with tons of options when it comes to both fast food and sit down restaurants. Therefore, you’ll probably eat 3 meals out per day. Considering, you eat incredibly modestly, that will cost somewhere between $25 and $35 per day. Now, that’s not all when it comes to food, sitting around all day is boring, and you’ll think of food more. Chances are, you’ll want munchies! So, we’ll factor in $10 a day for that. On the modest side of things, we’re at $35 per day for 7 days so far.

In the business world, we have this widely used term, “Opportunity Cost”. That can be broken down pretty simply by saying, “In the time I take to do this, how much money could I make doing that?” The difference is considered a cost. That being said, you’ll be on duty 24 hours a day for 7 days. Even at the Oregon minimum wage of $8.95 per hour(I know, it’s sickening), that works out to be $1,503.06. So, adding that to the cost of food brings us to a total camping cost of $1,538.06.

How Much Money Can You Save By Camping Out for Black Friday?

The first thing to remember is, even if you get in the store first, that doesn’t mean you’ll find the deal you’re looking for before 3 other people do. Therefore, you have a chance of not saving anything! However, if you are lucky enough to get the deal, you can save a bit of money. Let’s look at some deals I remember ads for so far this year.

  • 65” Vizio Flat Screen With Surround Sound 80% Off – The regular cost of the item is around $1,500. So, at 80% off, you would pay $300 with a savings of $1,200!
  • 1 Carat Diamond Ring 55% Off- The regular price for the ring was $3,349.99. So with this deal, you stand to save $1,842.49.

These are the only 2 Black Friday promotions that I’ve seen where you stand a chance of saving more than hundred bucks or so. That being said, I can say, the pickings are slim!

So What’s The Verdict?

If you’re looking for an investment, you’re better off looking at Scottrade! The simple fact is, if you do the math, camping is one of the worst investments you can make. In my area, the only way this would be profitable is if you’re a minimum wage employee who’s looking to buy a diamond ring. Not to mention, that’s only if you’re one of the first few people to actually get to the deal.

Reader Question

Have you ever camped for a Black Friday deal? If not, would you ever do it?

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