Black Friday is notorious for two things: doorbuster deals and massive lines. As stores start to open their doors on Thanksgiving night, it is important to ask yourself if your time is better spent waiting in line to get a deal, or spending your time relaxing with family.

Wikipedia defines an opportunity costs as follows.

In microeconomic theory, the opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative forgone where, given limited resources, a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives. Assuming the best choice is made, it is the “cost” incurred by not enjoying the benefit that would have been had by taking the second best available choice.


What Is Your Time Worth To You?

Standing in line all night has become a ritual for many people seeking the best Black Friday deals. Heavily discounted “doorbuster” deals usually have a very limited supply. How early you need to get to the store depends on what you’re shopping for. We calculated the average savings* for fifty popular items from Black Friday 2013, and then compared them to the median hourly wage for Americans.

We calculated the opportunity cost for a variety of items based on a standard assumption of 8 hours in line and a median hourly wage of $19.50/hour. Find out below which items have a better or worse value compared to the median U.S. hourly income.

Black Friday Opportunity Costs

The Things You Should Wait In Line For Are

  1. Samsung 65″ HDTV
  2. Nikon D7000 Camera Lens
  3. Samsung French Door Refrigerator
  4. Nordic Trac C700 Treadmill
  5. Samsung 55″ HDTV
  6. Samsung 60″ HDTV
  7. Craftsman Lawn Tractor
  8. Vizio 60″ LED HDTV
  9. Stiga Table Tennis Game
  10. HP Pavillion 14″ Touchsmart Laptop

The Things You Should NOT Wait In Line For Are

  1. Flashlights
  2. Socks
  3. Leggings
  4. Power Drills
  5. Vitamix Blenders
  6. Nautica Pants
  7. Vortex Bows
  8. Costume Hoodies
  9. Call Of Duty Ghost
  10. Headphones

Source For Income Statistic:

*Average savings = Total savings / 8 hours waiting in line.