by Maurie Backman | Updated Aug. 12, 2021 - First published on Oct. 23, 2020
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This writer racked up quite a large bill on Amazon Prime Day, and she has no regrets.
Amazon Prime Day, which ran from Oct. 13 to 14 this year, was a highly anticipated shopping event. Prime members were privy to thousands of deals -- some of them announced during Prime Day, and some advertised well ahead of time.
I've written before about how events like Prime Day can be dangerous -- namely, because they can tempt consumers to go overboard and rack up debt in the process -- so it may surprise you to hear that I spent $1,000 during Prime Day myself. Clearly, that's a lot of money to part with in 48 hours, but here's why I don't regret that spending.
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Though I charged my Prime Day expenses on a credit card (after all, you can't exactly hand Amazon cash through cyberspace), I won't pay interest on that bill. The reason? I saved up an extra $1,000 in advance of Prime Day so I'd have the freedom to spend it if I wanted to.
I stashed away that extra money by picking up a little extra work in early October, and also by cutting back on some things I normally spend money on. The latter actually wasn't that difficult -- normally, I go out to dinner once a week, but during the pandemic, my family is avoiding restaurants. By doing so, we're saving several hundred dollars a month.
Events like Prime Day open the door to impulse spending, a good way to waste money. But the things I bought that day don't fall into that category.
For example, on Prime Day I bought a new vacuum cleaner with a pet hair removal attachment. My family recently adopted a dog, and when we budgeted for that, we knew we'd need a better vacuum cleaner. In other words, a vacuum cleaner is something we've been planning to buy, but we purposefully waited until Prime Day because we knew we'd likely get a good deal.
Some of the other things I bought on Prime Day can also be considered necessities. Our new dog's favorite brand of treats was on sale, so I stocked up a little. I also bought socks and pajamas for my children, some outdoor lighting (which we've been sorely needing to upgrade for a while), and a bath mat that was 30% off. None of these qualify as splurges -- they're all boring items my household needs to function.
Normally I try to space out larger purchases to avoid straining my budget. For example, I'd usually prefer to buy a $400 vacuum one month, and then wait until the following month to invest in household supplies like lighting (it cost several hundred dollars to cover our entire yard). But because the Prime Day deals were really substantial, it made sense to buy everything at once, even if that wasn't as ideal as spacing out purchases from a cash-flow perspective.
For example, the vacuum cleaner we purchased was $200 cheaper than anywhere else we'd seen it, and we saved about $100 on the lighting. Even the socks and pajamas came to about $30 in savings. Since I had the money on hand, I had no qualms about racking up a huge tab to enjoy those discounts.
Prime Day isn't the only major shopping event during the year, so while it may be over, in just a few weeks, we'll all be tempted once again by Black Friday. If you want to make it through that event debt- and regret-free, stick to my system:
I don't plan to do much shopping on Black Friday since I recently did a major stock-up, but I may take the opportunity to purchase some holiday gifts. I'll be going in with a plan, however -- and you should, too.
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