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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Be a contrarian during Halloween sales

How to be a contrarian

A contrarian is one of those fancy-sounding words which basically means, do the opposite of whatever everybody else is doing. When they are buying, you hold on. When they aren't buying, you buy. 

And that's because, the real deals aren't always the ones that are being hyped up. When stores are spending money on sales advertisements, you might guess (and correctly, too) that the sales are a real money maker for them. 

Here are some ideas for Halloween (some of them are contrarian)

This one was inspired by a video on USA Today. It was a real eye opener.

So what if Halloween hasn't arrived yet? It's time to start thinking about what to buy, and what to avoid buying. (Actually, it's only a temporary avoidance ... there's a time to buy certain things, and a time to avoid.)

Jeans: Buy. Because the back-to-school season is just over, jeans will be going cheap.

Toys: Wait until December, for the Christmas sales. Gadgets included here.

Outdoor stuff: Buy. Summer just over, and retailers don't like the idea of keeping stock until next year.

Electronic stuff: Wait for Black Friday.

Halloween candy: Buy. It's a season special.

Cleaning supplies: Wait until early spring or late November.

Columbus Day Weekend sales: Buy. There are sales in the days leading up to the weekend as well.

It seems that having a contrarian mindset can help you to save some money during sales season. I think that it also helps to avoid mindless trends, when crowds go crazy over things that would make you cringe later on. You can probably think of a few, but I'm thinking of skinny pants ... I always wondered why guys would want to wear pants that look like they were tailored for women. I have no doubt that it's just another trend, like bellbottoms, that in time will make some people cringe.

It's always better to buy timeless fashions. Timeless statements. Understated, with quiet allure. And rest assured that your purchases will probably look good on you, with you, for you, in about twenty years down the road. Some things might not be wearable, like that pair of jeans ... but everything else should be just fine.

Being a contrarian in life.

I think there's a benefit to being a contrarian in like. Warren Buffett's antics in the stock market certainly comes to mind. When everybody else is selling, you buy. When everybody else is buying, you wait and you sell. He has made a lot of money in unexpected ways. But he wasn't the only one. There were others, like Li Ka-Shing, the billionaire from Hong Kong. He bought land cheaply after a riot in 1967, and he made money when the situation stabilized. And maybe Jack Ma, the humble teacher who started AliBaba. He started an Internet company when nobody understood what he was doing. 

When we look at contrarians, we need to understand that they succeed because of either one of two things. 

The first, is access to insight. That's the case of Li Ka-Shing, with his shrewd investments. He realized that there are certain truths that will bear momentary disturbances. And so he invested in real estate, despite the suggestion that it was a bad investment. He realised that situations like that did not last forever, and rents would go back to normal. And then they would rise. And that was when he made his fortune.

Someone who wanted to emulate this could consider snapping up real estate in Britain thanks to the herd of British citizens who feel badly about Brexit (the British exit from EU) and want to migrate. If you missed the boat, don't worry: There's still USA, if Donald Trump makes it to the Presidency. Lots of people will sell their houses and migrate to Canada.

The second thing is, hope and grit. That's the case of Jack Ma. He was hopeful that things would work out. And he had a lot of grit. But that's not to say that he didn't have his moment of wisdom and insight. He obviously saw something when he went to the USA. It took a little bit of thinking on his part to realize that the Internet was something that would take off in China, even though China had heavy censorship. Over time, his analysis proved correct. It had always been correct from the start. But it was sheer bravery for him to start something like that in a country that did not see the the benefits of the Internet. 

Over time, others have followed his wisdom. They've started Internet companies in China, and made tonnes of money. In many cases, it was just a question of replicating what is proving to be popular in the USA. Social networking? Yes. News portal? Yes. E-mail? Yes. Web hosting? Yes. Cloud? Yes. All that and more. And they make a lot of money in the process.

I'm gong to try to be a contrarian. It might save me a lot of money. With some luck I might also make a lot of money.

Thanks for reading.

Read some other pieces from me: