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Spend Smarter on Black Friday

Madeline Carpenter

The holiday season is upon us which means you can expect to see advertisements for Black Friday promotions to be everywhere.  Sometimes spending can get a little out of hand in general this time of year so Black Friday can be a great opportunity to score deals, get great prices on big-ticket items, and save money on your holiday shopping.

I remember when I was young we would stand in line at 3:00am just to get that awesome deal.  When I was about 12 years old, my family and some family friends stood outside Target and waited in a very long line.  It seemed like everyone had one goal in mind.  They wanted to get that great deal on a flat screen TV that had been discounted for Black Friday only.  There were only a certain number of them and when they were gone that was it.  As soon as the doors opened people ran, pushed carts at people and didn't seem to care that there were children in the cart accident zone. I was not deterred by the flailing bodies and crashing carts.  Long story short, I was able to grab one of the TVs by being small enough to fit under the clothing rack and throw my body on one of the few remaining TVs.  By the time that my family showed up to the designated area, there were no TVs left.  Everyone was a little disappointed until they heard me yelling for help dragging the TV behind me through the clothing racks. Everyone was ecstatic that we got one.  We were happy to be able to retire our elephant TV that seemed to work when it felt like it, needing a few love taps here and there, with a new flat screen TV that we were able to get at a huge discount.  This experience stuck with me because we were able to get a large ticket item that benefited our family.  Now that I am an adult and am spending my own money, I  learned that there are good deals that I can take advantage of during Black Friday. 

For many people, Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The holiday can be a great way to save, but if utilized incorrectly it can make a serious dent in your savings account. Retailers know that shoppers are primed to spend during the holiday season and will do whatever they can to take advantage of that. Well thought out campaigns and discount prices can be enough to seduce even the most frugel of shoppers to splurge on items they don’t really need.  To make the most of Black Friday deals and savings, you should try to avoid being overwhelmed by all of the advertising. Instead, you should see this holiday for what it is: an opportunity to save on essential items and gifts that you were already planning on buying.

The most important way to ensure that you’re taking advantage of Black Friday is to plan ahead. Make sure to work out a specific budget and avoid overspending on unnecessary items that may seem like a great deal because they are heavily discounted but are not really necessary. No matter how good the deal is, it’s not saving you money if it’s something that you didn't want or need until you saw it.

Here are three tips to spend smarter on Black Friday.

Make a list and check it twice.

  • Make a list of people you need to purchase gifts for and then search for the best deals online ahead of time.
  • This is a great opportunity to get those items that you have noticed your family and friends have been eyeballing all year.  
  • Make sure to include yourself on this list.  Is there anything that you have had on your wishlist that you have been putting off getting because of the price.  Now is the time to see if you can find it on a discount.  

Take advantage of deals on essential items. 

  • Use Black Friday to buy essential items at a discount.  Look for discounts on household staples like toilet paper and toothpaste that you use frequently. This can help you save money on everyday expenses throughout the year and lower the number of errands you need to run.
  • Look into deals for larger items that you have been thinking about replacing in the last year such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, and other large household items that you could save a significant amount on due to Black Friday discounts.  

Have a strategy. 

  • Be strategic about your Black Friday purchases. Find deals early by searching online and compare discounts on similar items from different branches or brands. Reserve early if you can and be sure to run your purchase through comparison websites to make sure you’re finding the lowest price.
  • A website/app I like to use is Rakuten that gives you a percentage cash back on online stores and items.  

This kind of planning ahead not only helps you save money but also makes your life a little easier!  It’s definitely not a good idea to go into debt when purchasing holiday gifts. However, when used responsibly, reward credit cards can actually help earn you money while you do your shopping.  In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s holiday shopping is likely to look a little different than in past years. Many retailers are expanding their e-commerce offerings and running more sales online, further collapsing the difference between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. While Black Friday will still feature many of the show-stopper sales, you’ll definitely be able to find attractive deals all weekend (and potentially all month) long.


Black Friday weekend can be a huge financial opportunity, but also a potential pitfall. In order to take full advantage of the sales, you should be sure to plan ahead and scout out potential deals in advance. Black Friday is also a great opportunity to stock up on everyday essentials that you can buy in bulk to rack up significant savings.

As with any sale, you should try to avoid buying things you don’t need just because they’re discounted, and focus instead on essentials and heavily discounted big-ticket items that you were already planning on buying. And this year, in particular, I’d recommend skipping a crowded mall and shopping from the safety and comfort of your own home.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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