Here in the US we have just had the Thanksgiving Holiday (hence why I didn’t post on Friday), this is followed by the enthusiastic consumerism that is Black Friday.
This day traditionally kicks off the holiday season. A lot of people put up their holiday decorations (although with small kids we’ve found this to still be a bit early) and it’s also when the stores have their biggest sales of the year to kick start holiday shopping. In recent years a lot of shops have also started opening on Thanksgiving evening, thus making Black Friday last a day and a half.
It’s become such a useful tool, that even in the UK that doesn’t have a Thanksgiving they still kick off their holiday shopping season on Black Friday.
In recent years, other days after the holiday have had their own name. The Monday after Thanksgiving became Cyber Monday. Online stores would have their best sales on that day, however as most stores do all their Black Friday sales online as well as in store, the lines have become blurred, so Cyber Monday really isn’t a thing any more. Realistically you can do all your Black Friday online now and thus avoid all the punch ups at the mall!
Saturday has become known as Small Business Saturday, and is chance for small businesses to push their sales after the big box stores have done their thing on Friday.
Black Friday now lasts about four and a half days, with sales starting on Thanksgiving Day and ending Monday night, giving every one a chance to spend, spend spend!
The average shopper spends about $1000 during Black Friday sales. With over $700 Billion spent, each year the spend rises by 3-4%, this means that the marketing of Black Friday is definitely here to stay.
So how does someone on a budget handle Black Friday? Firstly to a degree you have to embrace it, we all have family and friends we need to buy holiday gifts for and the simple fact is you probably wont get better prices.
I think the key though is to not actually hit the mall, but to try and do everything online. Have a list, maybe with contingencies because not everything you might want will be on sale. Having a budget is also good, it’s too easy to suddenly see lots of things on sale that you don’t really want. Of course this is what the shops want you to do!
You can make Black Friday work for you, but you need to approach it with almost military precision.