How Black Friday Works and Why You're Doing It Wrong
It's nearly that time, again - yep, Black Friday is almost here!
Black Friday is one of, if not the biggest shopping day(s) of the year, and for good reason. You can find discounts on pretty much anything and everything you might need or want.
More importantly, it’s a great opportunity to save a bit of cash whilst you cross some things off your Christmas list.
This is your chance to get all of the things you want at a fraction of the price.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone (or pen/paper for those of us who are still partial) and let's get planning:
- Black Friday shopping can be a lot of fun, but it's important to stay within your budget.
- Do your research before buying anything, to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.
- Avoid impulse purchases at all costs!
- Stick to your list and know when to stop shopping.
What Is Black Friday?
Black Friday was not always a thing - in fact, it only really took off in the 1950s.
What started out as a day for US shoppers to take advantage of the massive discounts stores offered after Thanksgiving, this has now evolved into a global event.
Today, people spend billions during Black Friday sales.
And it’s not just Americans who are taking part - shoppers worldwide are getting in on the action.
Black Friday also no longer signifies one single day; marketers saw what was happening and realised they'd be able to make even more money by stretching out the deals over at least a whole weekend (in some cases, even longer).
This means we have Black Friday deals starting as early as the Monday before Thanksgiving all the way through to Cyber Monday.
Related: Fourteen Things You Didn't Know About Black Friday
Why Should You Get Involved In Black Friday?
Traditions are important to many and so, it makes sense that we would want to dive (head first) into Black Friday shopping - for the US contingent, they have just spent an entire day giving thanks for the people around them and now want to do return the favour (or, which is probably just as likely; Black Friday sales are a way for them to work out any frustrations they may have after said day spent in close quarters with family).
American or not, getting involved in Black Friday is definitely worth your time and money.
There are some amazing deals to be had and if you do it right, you can save a lot of money on things you were going to buy anyway.
Here are three reasons why Black Friday shopping is a good idea:
1. Get Christmas Shopping Done Early
Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to get your Christmas shopping done early.
This means you can avoid the last-minute rush (and the higher prices that come with it) and give yourself a head start on the festive season.
2. Save Money on Gifts
Maybe someone close to you has a birthday coming up and you know just the gift but you wouldn't be able to spring for it unless it was heavily discounted. Black Friday could be your "life-boat" so-to-speak.
3. Take Advantage of Black Friday Deals on Things You Need
We all need things - whether it's a new winter coat or a vacuum cleaner - not only will you be getting what you need, but you'll be doing so at a fraction of the price.
Household items such a toilet paper or cleaning products are also worth keeping an eye out for; buying in bulk usually saves you money and Black Friday could result in a little extra shaved off on things that you buy regularly...
Black Friday has alot of great selling-points (pardon the pun), however, as with anything, there is also a downside that shoppers need to be aware of before they take part.
Why You Might Want To Avoid The Shops
We live in a capitalist society and, as a result, marketing and advertising play a big role in our lives.
This is particularly apparent around the holiday season when advertisers go into overdrive to try and convince us that we need to spend, spend, spend.
It's easy to get caught up in the hype of Black Friday and end up more in the shops on things we don't really need (or worse, can't really afford).
Here are three reasons to avoid Black Friday shopping:
1. You're Likely to Spend More Than You Planned
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and spend money on things we don't necessarily need - this is especially true, if you find yourself in a high-pressure situation like the in-person Black Friday sales.
The psychological effect of seeing other people with armfuls of shopping bags can be enough to make us abandon our carefully prepared budgets and start throwing things into our own carts left, right, and centre.
There is certainly also a competitive element at play here; we see someone else getting a great deal and feel the need to "one-up" them by finding an even better bargain.
2. You Might Not Be Getting the Best Deal
With all the marketing hype surrounding Black Friday, it's easy to believe that everything on sale is an amazing deal. (Wouldn't it be great if that were true)?
In the run-up to the sales (any of them), there are usually stories doing the rounds about how retailers will inflate their prices before "discounting" them so it appears as though you're getting a bigger discount, when the reality is, you're still paying the same...
3. You're More Likely to Buy On Impulse
Need and want have long since been confused when it comes to Black Friday shopping.
Advertisers are masters at convincing us that we need things we would never have even considered buying at any other time of year and, as a result, we can end up filling our carts with all sorts of impulse purchases.
These purchases might not be bad in and of themselves; most of us can justify even a crazy splurge when hard-pressed enough, however, when you factor in the potential credit card debt and stress that can come along with Black Friday spending, it's simply not worth it.
Especially when, deep down, we already know that whatever the item is, it's not really going to change our lives and will most likely just end up collecting dust in a drawer somewhere.
How To Do Black Friday RIGHT
So, above we have laid out the pros and cons of shopping the Black Friday sales and, in doing so, hopefully given you a little food for thought.
Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you have to as well. If the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn and fighting your way through hordes of fellow shoppers fills you with dread, then simply don't do it. (After all, isn't the whole point of the holiday season supposed to be about relaxing and spending time with loved ones?)
If, however, you do want to take part in Black Friday without becoming a victim of its pitfalls, then here are a few tips to help you stay on track:
- Make a list (and check it twice): No, not that list... We're talking about a list of the things you're going to write before you shop of all the things you actually either need or want to buy. This will help you to focus your spending and avoid buying on impulse.
- Do your research: Black Friday is all about getting the best deal possible, so make sure you do your research in advance. Know how much an item is normally sold for and don't be afraid to walk away if the "discount" isn't as good as it seems.
- Stick to your budget: This one's a doozy - just because something is on sale, doesn't mean you have to buy it. Repeat after us: "If it's not in my budget, walk away and don't look back".
- Know when to stop: Once you've bought everything on your list (and nothing more), it's time to put your wallet away and leave... Sincerely, Your Bank Balance. If you hang around for too long, you're bound to start picking up things you don't really need (or want).
Black Friday can be a great opportunity to get some amazing deals on things you need or want, but it's important to do it right.
Follow these tips and you'll be able to shop without becoming overwhelmed or spending more than you intended.
Happy (bargain) hunting!