How to shop responsibly this Black Friday

Follow these easy tips to make your Black Friday experience stress free.
Follow these easy tips to make your Black Friday experience stress free.
Image: 123RF/Roman Samborskyi

We all suffer from a tendency to get overexcited when Black Friday comes around at the close of the year. I know firsthand that many of us have been waiting for months on end to buy that one, indulgent item that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford (or simply couldn’t justify to ourselves.)

Exacerbating the hype is the pressure that comes with planning for end of year festivities on a budget; Black Friday sales can seem like a solution to the problem of needing to buy a lot of Christmas presents, for example.

But, as DirectAxis’s Head of Financial Education Shafeeqah Isaacs is keen to emphasize, it’s all too easy to take it too far when one is deep in the throes of Black Friday mania. Here’s how to protect your finances in the face of temptation.

1. Set yourself a budget and stop spending as soon as you’ve exhausted it

Work out how much you are prepared to spend before Black Friday itself, and give yourself an allowance. This way, you won’t arrive home on a shopping-high, only to discover that you spent way more than you realized on items that you can no longer return. Set your budget, make sure you’re getting the best deal available wherever possible, and stop when the kitty runs out.

2. Plan, plan, and plan some more

Research is integral to getting the most out of a Black Friday spree, because, as we all know, some retailers are more honest than others. Comparing prices online will give you a good idea of whether or not you’re actually getting a good deal on a “sale” item, while knowing what you want beforehand will stop you from making impulse buys. Write out a list of the things you’d most like to procure, and make a list of, say, three of the places with the best deals, then stick to these in order of preference depending on what is available.

3. Stick to reliable retailers

Bigger brands are better on Black Fridays, because they can be counted upon to have stock and to have planned thoroughly in advance for this annual tradition. Since they are in the spotlight, bigger brands are also far less likely to take advantage of their customers, as the PR ramifications would be dire and it is their responsibility to comply with the Consumer Protection Act.

Have fun, shop smart, and don’t forget that, Christmas or not, we still have to make it through Januworry.