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How to Keep Your Cool This Black Friday

It sure is fun to buy a deal isn’t it? Here’s how it typically goes: You find that product that you’ve been looking for and it’s at a marked down price. You snatch it up quickly and put it into your cart. In the checkout line you keep looking at that item and can’t believe that you’re finally buying it! With a swipe of your credit card and a quick signature, you have officially purchased it. It’s yours! And for such a great deal too! That rush of the purchase is like no other. But should we always be making these purchases?

The Biggest Shopping Day of the Year

So I’m sure you have already seen the Black Friday ads. They’re everywhere this year! And it seems like every store is having some unbelievable sales. From TVs to couches and kids toys to DVDs – it seems like everything is on sale, and all the retail stores want to make sure you visit them and spend your money this year.

We as buyers are often in the mindset that we should ‘get while the gettin’ is good’, but is it really that good? Is all the Black Friday hype really valid? I used to think so, but after doing a bit of research I’m not so sure any more.

The Downside of Black Friday

It’s obvious that you might be able to get yourself some deals this Black Friday, but are there any other positives? I really don’t think so, but there sure as heck are a lot of negatives! Here are the downsides that I see from Black Friday shopping:

1) You’re wasting an entire day – Are you one to get all amped up about Black Friday? If so, then I bet you find yourself waiting in line outside of stores, standing there until they open so that you can swoop in and score your deal! You’re getting to these stores by 5am or earlier just to get a chance at saving $50, and then when you’re done at that store you go wait in line at the next one. On Black Friday you spend 95% of your time waiting in line. It’s simply ridiculous! Then, when you are finally done shopping around noon, you go home and sleep for a few hours and before you know it your entire day has passed you by!

2) You have to deal with ungrateful brats – Every year I hear terrible stories about people getting nasty at these Black Friday sales. Some get trampled, others start fist-fighting over the last sale item, and some are just simply rude with their words. Overall, most would admit that their shopping experience is less than fun.

3) You likely won’t get any of those amazing deals – Just like the ad shows below, there is a limited quantity of each amazing deal – typically there are 10 or less at each store. Unless you one of the first 50 people in line, you aren’t going to get anywhere close to one of these front page deals. And, in order to be that far up in line you might have to start camping out right now! Is it worth it? Probably not.

20141124 - black friday ad

4) You’ll spend more money than you wanted to – Almost every holiday season ends with buyers remorse. We get that credit statement in the mail in January and our eyes almost bulge right out of our heads! With the swipe of a credit card, we really have no idea how much we are spending. We think we have everything under control, but we really don’t.

5) You’ll buy things that aren’t even on sale – During the Black Friday sales, it’s easy to think that everything in the store is deeply discounted, but they are most certainly not. There are many items that are still regular price and there are others that have been marked up in the weeks prior and then a sale price is marked on that phony retail price, bringing it back down to the real price. Don’t be fooled by the red tags. Sometimes a sale isn’t really a sale.

How to Spend Less This Season

So how can you make sure to spend less this holiday season? Here are some great tips for you. Follow these and you will be sure to spend the amount you wanted or less!

1) Make a plan and execute – Before you even look at the sale papers, make a general list of what you would like to buy everyone this Christmas and how much you would like to spend on each person. Then, go through the papers and circle what you would like to buy from the sale. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a few sale items, but them without remorse. And, if you can’t, do not buy anything from that store.

2) Use cash – Sure, using a credit card is simple and easy, but if you have a history of overspending during the holidays take cash instead. When you run out of money, your shopping is over. Simple as that.

3) Find deals after Black Friday – We all know that the deals aren’t over just because Black Friday is. There will be plenty of items that are deeply discounted in the weeks following Black Friday. And, there will also be returns from those that bought items and then had buyer’s remorse. By making the retail store aware that you are interested in returns on certain items, you could find yourself some amazing deals without fighting the crowds!

4) Make some gifts – If you simply cannot find the perfect gift for someone by the end of this week, perhaps you could make something for them instead. My girlfriend crochets and was able to make some infinity scarves for her family last year. It didn’t cost much and they absolutely loved them! Think about what you can make for your loved ones. It will probably save you some money and it will be incredibly meaningful for the person you are giving it to.

Are you a little cooled off from the rush of Black Friday now? Don’t get caught up in the hype. There are plenty of other ways to save money during this holiday season.

Are you participating in Black Friday sales this year? Why or why not?

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I’m with you on this one. As a consumer, I think Black Friday is much more of a danger than an opportunity. These businesses are not giving away all their stock just before Christmas for nothing!

    As you say, there are much better ways to save money over the holiday period.

    I, for one, will be avoiding Black Friday like the plague!

    • Ha, glad to hear that somebody is avoiding the Black Friday deals! You will likely be happier because of it.

  2. It blew my mind when I read the fine print a few years ago on the ads. The best stuff on sale were all in stock with less than 5 units. Nice try getting them. The key to being smart is to shop with a list. If you know what you are buying for people, chances are you can get out of Black Friday without getting yourself into a ton of debt. But, the retailers make things emotional on that day for a reason – so you give in and buy things you don’t actually need. In other words, proceed with caution!

    • Yeah. There is pretty much no chance that you’re going to get the item that you actually want. There are too few of them. It’s be to check yourself and keep your cool before getting caught up in the hype!

  3. Dave and I went to a department store this week to try on some dress pants. His current dress pants are pretty worn and need to be replaced but we waited until Black Friday when they’ll be on sale for $15 per pair! Now we’ll just check out the website Friday morning and order them from the comfortf our home since we know what size and style we want. We’ve also done this with new shoes in the past.

    • You guys always seem to have a plan! Dodging the crowds and getting a great deal – nice job!

  4. I’m going to avoid Black Friday altogether and do some shopping on cyber Monday. For me it’s just not worth the hassle fighting the crowds when I can probably get just as good of a deal by shopping online.

    • Yeah, I’ll probably do the same. Either that or find a decent deal before or after. On Black Friday I will sleep in with a smile on my face and a cup of coffee in my hand. 🙂

  5. Making a wishlist first and then setting a spending limit works best for me. Although I stopped shopping on black Friday long back.

    • The spending limit is key, which is why taking cash might be the best option for many.

  6. “Make a plan and execute…”
    Howe many times I’ve tried this and failed when I just go shopping for food: I enjoy cooking so start to have ideas as I’m walking around the food aisles and I always end up buying a bunch more stuff than I intended to. That’s a good enough reason for me to stay away from the Black Friday sales… no will-power!

    • Yeah, I somewhat understand Myles, but I am a little different than you I guess. When it comes to food I have the will-power to avoid buying it, but if it lands in my house I will eat all of it instantly (speaking mainly of sweets and treats of course).

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