Don’t let Black Friday leave you Broke

By Vanessa Papas

Let’s face it: black is the new black!  Grab your handy-dandy credit cards, crumpled up cash wads, and piggy banks because it’s almost time for the most exciting and stressful shopping experience of the year.
Black Friday takes place on the day after Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is always the fourth Thursday of November. It is regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States and many retailers open very early and offer promotional sales. Some of our favourite celebs, including Jessica Alba, Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift,  Kim Karadashian and Iggy Azalea, all swear by the shopping power of Black Friday, and
in recent years many South African retailers have joined their American counterparts in offering big savings on a wide range of products on Black Friday. In South Africa Black Friday is coming up on November 23 and 26 and promises to be a total win for you and your pocket. It’s a time when retailers will bombard you with deals, sales, specials and limited-time-only offers that will try to dazzle you into buying items – some of which you might very well need; and others you won’t. In fact, if you’re not selective you may still wake up on the Tuesday after all the dust has settled with a wicked case of buyer’s remorse, as you lament your empty bank account!

“Black Friday, and its newer but no less devious sibling, Cyber Monday, are designed to make you feel like you’re saving money,” says Gretchen Pletschke, head of Learning at Indie – a life insurer that’s revolutionising the industry with a six-minute, online buying process. “They present you with items that on any other day wouldn’t have received a second look, wrapped up in must-have packaging. They fuel your panic with time pressures and hype, which lead to bad purchasing decisions. And then, just to kick you when you’re down, almost everything you buy can be classed as a bad asset (something that decreases in value over time or costs money to upkeep). Naturally as you keep compulsively clicking ‘Add to Cart’ you know you shouldn’t; you know your money should be going into good assets that increase in value or make you wealthier; you know that saving your money is ultimately the best choice you can make; and yet you do it anyway. It’s kind of thrilling, and fun. You’ve worked hard for your money, and you deserve something nice! While I’m not saying don’t spend money, I am saying just make sure you don’t allow yourself to overspend on things you don’t need.”

Gretchen provides the following tips to get the most out of Black Friday:
Figure Out What You Want
Browse around your favourite stores, and create a wishlist. This is even easier to do if you’re shopping online. Decide which items you can’t live without, and bank the rest for another time.
Set A Budget
If you’ve been saving for this since last November, then by all means spend your dough without guilt. You’ve planned, and you should definitely enjoy it. But even if you haven’t planned, setting a budget can ensure that you don’t blow your grocery money on things you really don’t need.

Don’t Get Sucked Into The Mob Mentality
No blinking lights or sirens or ‘buy now or miss out!’ slogans can get to you, for you are zen. You are chill. You are calm, and strong, and you know what you want. If you don’t end up with something you coveted, take a breath and look for second best. If that doesn’t work, go for a walk. Ten minutes away from the screaming hordes will do wonders for your peace of mind.
Don’t Believe The Hype
There’s a sneaky urban legend going around that some stores push their prices up during the year so that their ‘price slashes’ seem more dramatic on Black Friday. Whether that’s true or not, regard the savings with a cynical eye. Are the sales prices really that low? Is 20 percent off really a good enough reason to punch that blonde lady for taking the last one? If not, don’t bother.
Give It Back If You’ve Changed Your Mind The beauty of most online stores and many retail stores is that they make returning items pretty easy.
It’s one of the most effective ways of battling buyer’s remorse. Worried you overspent and not too pleased with what you’ve bought? Return it, get your money back, do a little happy dance.

Keep An Eye Out For The Really Good Stuff
Besides getting some great products, there are opportunities to get savings on some of the less fun grudge purchases. Some financial services providers run reward and cashback promotions for signing up on Black Friday weekend. It’s your chance to use the hype to your advantage, and pay for something that will earn you money in the long run.

Who Is Promising What?
Some of our favourite online stores promise huge discounts. Takealot’s Blue Dot Sale will start at 00h01 on Black Friday and will continue over that weekend and Cyber Monday, concluding with Takealot Tuesday. Customers can expect discounts on everything from cellphones and laptops to TVs, kitchen appliances, beauty ranges, toys, baby products, gaming, liquor and much more. Raru are offering discounts ranging between 30 to 80 percent off from the normal price points. Superbalist.com will have a five-day mega sale from Friday, November 23 to Tuesday 27 and will include major discounts on leading brands across a wide variety of categories from women and menswear to kids, teens, maternity, sports, plus size, and home.

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