Black Friday: Be Deliberate About Your Spending

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A few years back, the 4th Friday of November was a pretty ordinary day for you and me. We went to work, fetched the kids from school, and maybe went out that evening because it was pay day. Fast forward to 2018, and the 4th Friday of November has us in a frenzy as we plan to wait up until midnight for exclusive online sales – testing our internet speeds and patience – or queue in front of stores for hours to get a good deal on toilet paper!

So how exactly did we get wrapped up in this American craze of Black Friday?

Started in 1952, Black Friday, as we know it today, followed Thanksgiving and marked the start of the Christmas shopping season. We suspect that it’s also to give some relief to the bank account after binging on Thanksgiving celebrations.

As South Africans, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as the Americans do, so why should we get drawn into Black Friday hype? Side note: if you missed out on Black Friday, there’s also Cyber Monday – the Monday after Thanksgiving – where you can test out your online shopping spending limits.

Here’s the thing: While you really can get some fantastic deals over these 2 days, the design around Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing is so cleverly done (some companies start sending out promos from late September!) that we are made to believe that we simply have to buy what’s on sale.

The pressure to buy heartfelt gifts to show your friends and family how much you love them is real, often at the risk of slipping into debt.

Reality Check: 3 tips to stay sane and not get suckered into overspending

  1. Think about what you really do need to buy and make a list.   If it’s not on sale, don’t settle for an alternative. Let’s be honest, that treadmill will just end up gathering dust.
  2. Research.  Take a look at what specials your go-to stores are offering, and compare those deals with other stores.
  3. Stay strong! Stick to your list and don’t stray.  Just because something is 50% off or bundled as a ‘buy 3 for 2’, doesn’t mean you need it. It’s going to take up unnecessary space in your house or become an awkward re-gift situation.

Remember, if you see something on sale that was R1 000 and is now R750, you haven’t saved R250 – you’ve spent R750.