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Don’t let black Friday leave you in the red

Shoppers everywhere are counting sleeps until Friday, 29 November. Black Friday is an American tradition and refers to the Friday following Thanksgiving (which is always on the fourth Thursday of November) and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday gives retailers a tremendous opportunity to ring up early holiday sales and South African consumers have embraced this tradition with eagerness and enthusiasm.

However, don’t let the excitement of bargain shopping get in the way of reality. If you get seduced by all the specials, Black Friday could leave your finances in the red. Ever mindful of financial wellness and responsible budgeting, Tessa Verwoerdt – HOD Money Solutions Centre, Debtor Rehabilitation at Bayport gives a few tips on how to be a savvy Black Friday shopper.


“With so many special offers available – in store and online – the temptation to buy more than you budgeted for will be strong. While it is so easy to get caught up in a retail frenzy, common sense should prevail. The simple rule is don’t spend what you haven’t got,” she says.

Plan: Retailers plan way ahead for Black Friday deals. You should do the same. Now that we know Black Friday is an annual event in South Africa, you should ideally start planning for next year as soon as this year’s sale is over.

This planning mainly entails saving so you don’t have to dip into your monthly cash flow and budget.

It also means keeping a list of things you need or would want to get your hands on at a really good price rather than buying for the sake of a discount. When you know what you need, or really want, you can start looking around to see what different options there are and at what cost. By the time Black Friday comes around, you are prepared to take advantage of the special offers.

Know your limits: Closely related to planning, is knowing your budget limits. It is a bad plan to pile purchases onto your credit card until it is maxed out. Even worse is to increase your credit limit in preparation for Black Friday – that is just looking for debt trouble. Whenever debt is unplanned, it is likely to become difficult to pay off.

Know your money: Know how much you earn, how much goes out of your account, your monthly expenses and your balance. Check your bank statement every month to ensure everything is correct and that there are no unauthorised transactions. When you get into the habit of reviewing your finances regularly, you become more involved and aware of your spending. Then Black Friday will be less of a temptation.

Be a clever bargain hunter: The key to bargain hunting without breaking the bank comes down to a simple yes-or-no question. Were you already planning to buy the items you now have in your hands or your online shopping basket?

If the answer is yes, then getting those items on Black Friday is a win. You probably already budgeted for them and now, instead of paying full price, you get to keep some hard-earned rands in your pocket.  It can also be a good opportunity to get some great Christmas present deals if you’ve done your homework about good bargains and have drawn up a list of recipients and potential gift items.

However, if your answer is no, the retailers have got you. When you buy something on Black Friday that you didn’t plan to buy in any event, you’re going outside of your budget. You’re using money you intended to spend elsewhere, which could either mean you can’t spend as much on groceries or going out this month, or you’ll exceed your spending limits. Neither is a good option.

“There is such strong temptation to join in the shopping madness but never go bargain hunting just because it’s Black Friday. Rather focus your savvy-shopper skills on the things you were planning to get in any case. This way, Black Friday will leave you in the black instead of the red,” Verwoerdt – concludes.