Every year, Black Friday seems to convince us all that every incredible deal advertised is just too good to pass up. Whether you’re buying 6 pairs of your favorite jeans that are 75% off or indulging in an unanticipated buy-one-get-three-free deal, your finances may take a hit during this pseudo-holiday. Often what you thought was a good deal can end up staying on your credit card for months, racking up a ton of interest. In the long run, you might even end up paying more for the panini maker than its original price.
Now that so much of Black Friday shopping happens online, our wallets aren’t even safe at home. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself hanging out in your best pair of post-Thanksgiving pajamas, kissing your savings goodbye, one click at a time.
Worried about becoming the next victim of holiday spending downfall? The debt is in the details. According to a 2017 survey cited by CNN, American shoppers spent a record $5 billion on Black Friday last year. Since it seems like several of us went on a little spending binge last year, we asked our community to share some of the Black Friday shopping tales that put their finances in a major holiday spending coma.
Black Friday Craze
“I have never participated in Black Friday until last year. My entire family was in town and we decided to start a new tradition where we go to the mall bright and early at 3:00 am and wait in line for the deals to begin. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, especially because I had rent due at the end of the month and not a whole lot of extra cash, but I decided that I would go just to spend time with my family and give them shopping advice on whatever they found. However, when I stepped in the first store, I got totally caught up in the Black Friday craze! By the third store we visited, I realized I was buying things I didn’t even need because I thought the sale prices were just so good. After a few new cute pairs of jeans, some new face wash, and a pair of winter boots, it added up to about $500 and left me short on rent for the month. I should have given myself the shopping advice to put back the boots.” — Candice B.
The Sale of My Nightmares
“Last year, my favorite store decided to do a major sale in which all items ranged from 50-75% off (even the full priced items). With these major discounts in mind and my shopping list in hand, I was the first one at the door ready to get my discounted sweaters. But once the doors opened it was like the running of the bulls in Spain. People were extremely aggressive and frantic trying to grab the items they wanted. As I saw all of my wool sweaters being grabbed right before my eyes, I panicked and ended up spending almost twice what I anticipated before I started shopping just because I didn’t want to miss out on an item that someone else wanted. Now I have the same wool sweater in six different colors and I’m still paying them off… #regrets.” — Kendyll S.
Black Friday’s Hidden Costs
“My kids have always wanted a PS3, and last Black Friday, our gaming store was having a major sale, with certain models up to 40% off. Knowing that this meant a lot to my kids, I promised them that we would visit the store on Black Friday and find a cheaper model (fingers crossed). But when we got there, while the deals were great, I realized that buying the PS3 required extra things to make it usable, like games, controllers, and other accessories. And of course, none of these items were on sale. I knew I couldn’t break my promise, so we ended up leaving the store having spent way more than I bargained for. Be careful of Black Friday deals, because sometimes they’re attached to more expensive, full-price items!” — Brian G.
Don’t let Black Friday send you into the red this year. Before you make your list of the best sales this year, first take a holistic look at your finances and set a predetermined budget for yourself. This way you know exactly how much you can spend without going overboard. And think twice before you dive into that next deal — are these things you really need or are you just excited about the cheap price?