Here we are again.
Touted as the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday also bears the distinction as the beginning of holiday season shopping and is a crucial time of year for the economy.
However, Black Friday still rules the retail world, with 101.7 million people shopping in store in 2016. Last year, online sales on Black Friday totaled $7.9 billion and overall sales totaled $682 billion.
While traditionally Black Friday has been held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, recent years have seen the event expand from Thanksgiving Day through the weekend to Cyber Monday.
Forget about the Thanksgiving meal, let’s go shopiiiiiing!
You’ve all heard the joke.
“Black Friday: Because only in America people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”
All joking aside, Black Friday shopping is a serious event for many people, and the pursuit of deals has begun to rival the Thanksgiving holiday and the time of giving and family that it’s supposed to stand for.
Despite the ridiculous lengths people will go to for a deal, we actually advocate taking advantage of Black Friday deals if they make sense for you and your specific situation.
Yes, we are frugal people, but we also want you to experience the best shopping that you can during these four days without wasting your money. If you do decide to participate in Black Friday, we want to make sure you are in control and you are ahead of the game with your hard-earned money.
With that in mind, we present here some tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of Black Friday shopping.
But first, a little history lesson.
A Brief History of Black Friday
Believe it or not, the term Black Friday originally had nothing to do with shopping, and was used throughout history to note several negative events.
Black Friday was first used in the United States to describe a financial crisis in 1869. On September 24, 1869, a Friday, James Fish and Jay Gould tried to take over the gold market in the New York Gold Exchange.
The first known usage of Black Friday in reference to the day after Thanksgiving was in a journal in 1951. However, it still wasn’t used in reference to shopping, but rather to the tendency for workers to call in sick the day after Thanksgiving in order to have a four-day weekend.
In its modern form, Black Friday was used to refer to shopping the day after Thanksgiving in Philadelphia in the early 1960s. Police in Philadelphia also referred to this day as Black Friday because of the large crowds and traffic. At this time, Black Friday was looked upon as negative, and there were attempts by public relations workers to change the name to something more positive.
The term Black Friday continued to spread throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, retailers still didn’t like the negative connotation of the term, so they began circulating the story that Black Friday was so named because of the profits seen by stores.
While the modern day meaning of Black Friday shopping has become a reference to retailers being “in the black” in terms of their finances, it’s important to remember that the term was originally used to describe crisis events throughout history.
To keep the event a positive one for yourself, make sure to read and follow our tips for getting the most out of your Black Friday shopping.
Have a Plan
Black Friday today means big profits for business, but it may still denote a crisis for you if you allow yourself to indulge in a wild and crazy shopping spree.
This is why it’s critical to have a plan before you leave your home.
Number one, have a list of items you want to buy. This list will primarily be for the holiday season. However, it can also include other items that you need/want and have been waiting for the best deal. Black Friday is often a great time to buy large ticket items, especially for those that you can afford to wait (like an elliptical that Tawnya bought for 1/3 of the retail price a couple years ago). Just make sure you prioritize needs before wants if you have a limited budget.
Second, have a budget and stick to it. No matter the length of your wish list, you’re doing yourself no favors when you turn Black Friday shopping into Red Friday for your wallet. No item is worth going into serious debt for. Determine what you can afford to spend, then prioritize the items you most need from your list. Like gambling, once you hit your spend limit it’s time to close shop for the day. Everyone wants an amazing holiday, but be careful to plan your holiday on a budget you can afford.
Third and most importantly, do your homework. Take your time and do your homework before you start shopping. It’s important to review all the sales out there such as door busters, early bird specials, first 100 customer deals, coupon deals, and online specials to find the best deal for the items you want. Doing some extra homework will also allow you to better plan your shopping day/weekend.
Be Ahead of the Game by Starting Now!
Social media, TV, radio, and all the shops at the mall are already advertising Black Friday deals. In fact, many deals start before Black Friday.
Start your home work early so that you will not be overwhelmed when Black Friday arrives.
Yes, free doughnuts, coffee, and small door prizes are attractive, and you should take advantage of them. However, don’t let that take you away from where you really want to be at a certain time to get the best deal for your buck.
Did you know that you can even buy some items that go on sale on Black Friday in advance?
For example, Macy’s allows you to buy items that will go on sale on Black Friday in advance. The caveat is you can only collect them on the day of the sale. Talk to sales representatives at your favorite stores to see if you can purchase some of your items ahead of time and save yourself some sleep.
Don’t let those bad high school and college habits keep you from getting the most for your money.
Do your homework early.
Always Be in Control
Yes, you can get some great deals on Black Friday.
However, it’s important to remember that regardless of the depth of savings the retailers portray, you are still spending your money to buy these items.
We want to remind you to be in control during the Black Friday shopping frenzy. We know most of you are aware of the retailer’s intentions, but it bears mentioning.
Retailers will do anything to get you to buy their product, so it’s important to understand the sale without becoming a victim of deceiving ads.
Remember that no matter how much you might save off the normal retail cost, YOU ARE STILL SPENDING YOUR MONEY.
Black Friday refers to the huge profits made by retailers, not you. In fact, you can easily turn Black Friday into Red Friday if you’re not careful. Have a plan and a budget, and only buy items you were already planning to buy.
Moral of the Story
Black Friday has historically referred to negative events, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you.
In fact, Black Friday is a great opportunity to buy items you’ve needed or wanted at a fraction of their normal price.
However, Black Friday shopping can easily turn into Red Friday for your wallet if you’re not careful.
Make sure you have a plan going in, including making a list of prioritized items, a budget, and doing your homework ahead of time to ensure the best plan and deals.
It’s also important to begin your planning early so that you have the time needed to do your due diligence and ensure that you are always in control.
Black Friday is a once-a-year opportunity to find amazing deals on thousands of items, but it’s not a good time to impulse shop or indulge in retail therapy.
It’s your choice, Black Friday shopping or Red Friday for your wallet.