Are Black Friday Sales Really Such Great Deals?
Research shows that the vast majority of Black Friday sales don't offer significant savings compared to other times of year. Which? found that only 2% of deals in 2022 were cheaper than normal prices. Retailers use psychological tricks to make us feel like we're getting a bargain even if we're not. They'll highlight a higher "original" price to make the sale price feel exciting, taking advantage of anchoring biases.
Is it Bad to Participate in Black Friday Shopping?
It's fine to buy stuff on Black Friday if you genuinely need or want the discounted items and can afford them. But it's important to avoid getting swept up in the hype and fear of missing out. Advertising aims to manipulate consumers into spending more than intended through limited time pressure and a sense of urgency around "deals".
Understanding Why We're Drawn to Black Friday "Bargains"
The idea is that you see the price that it (apparently) used to be and your mind anchors that as the true value. Paying less then becomes really attractive. Combine this with a limited time period, and a few headline grabbing discounts and you have a formula where the mere mention of Black Friday plants the idea of shopping in our minds, almost as if we've already made purchases before hitting the stores.
Many of our spending decisions are driven by our inner chimps, and we buy things for all kinds of reasons other than purely rational ones: to fulfill needs for esteem, status, or as a reward for instance. And of course, grabbing a bargain can be amongst the type of emotional decisions we make. Compulsive shoppers describe a "buzz" from finding bargains, though the feeling is short-lived.
Tips for Resisting Black Friday:
To avoid overspending or purchases you'll later regret, consider these strategies for navigating Black Friday sales wisely:
- Ditch the shop for other pursuits: Switch off those screens and dive into activities you genuinely love, whether it's quality time with friends, an exercise session, or a captivating film.
- Calculate the real cost: Break down the hours of hard work needed to afford an item. Is that flashy TV truly worth weeks of toil?
- Cap your spending: Instead of abstaining from sales, set a sensible budget and shopping list in advance of browsing deals.
- Shift your perspective: Call it 'Red Friday' instead of 'Black Friday,' and all it a 'Debt Card' rather than a 'Credit Card.'
- Pay with cash: Opt for tangible currency when shopping on the High Street. It's more challenging to part with real money than a plastic card.
- Reflect before you splurge: Identify the emotion driving your spending impulse. Whether it's the fear of missing out or a distraction from unhappiness, tackle the root cause.
- Connect with your goals: Create an affirming statement to remind yourself what truly matters. Slip it into your purse or wallet for a constant reminder.
By recognising psychological tricks at play and focusing on what really matters, you can resist the lure of Black Friday "bargains" and avoid spending you may later regret. True savings are possible by shopping smart, not getting swept up in advertising hype.
Image by gonghuimin468 from Pixabay
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