Tips for Black Friday - How to be financially savvy when you shop. Use Bayport's budget calculator to help plan and calculate your budget
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Bayport Blog

Don’t let Black Friday leave you in the red

Published: November 27, 2020
Categories: Financial wellness
Tags: Budgeting, Financial education, Financial Planning, Financial Tips

Black Friday is an American tradition, but over the past few years South African retailers and shoppers have embraced it too. All the mind-blowing specials can seem like a shopper’s paradise, but if you are not careful, it is your budget that will be blown away.

Shoppers everywhere are counting sleeps until Friday, 27 November. In America, Black Friday refers to the Friday following Thanksgiving (which is always on the fourth Thursday of November). As most people take leave on the Friday, Black Friday gives retailers a tremendous opportunity to ring up early Christmas holiday sales. “Black” refers to the fact that by the end of November shops should have covered their annual overheads already. Any further sales‚ no matter at what price‚ put the operation further “in the black”‚ hence Black Friday.

In South Africa, we have adopted the tradition of shopping specials, which often last for the whole weekend, not only Black Friday. With so many special offers available – in stores and online – the temptation to buy more than your personal budget allows, will be strong.

Follow these tips to keep your budget safe:

  • Plan
Retailers plan way ahead in time 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 that you have money to spend next year and don’t have to dip into your monthly cash flow and budget.

However, if you have not been planning for the past year, all is not lost. You still have three weeks left. Do your planning in two ways:

  1. Make a list of things you need, or would want to get your hands on at a really good price. When you know what you need, or really want, you can start looking around to see what different options there are and what they cost. By the time Back Friday comes around, you are prepared to take advantage of the special offers. While you are looking around and making your list, take note of prices. You don’t want to end up paying the same – or more – for “specials” just because it’s Black Friday. Some retailers simply put a red dot or black sticker on items without actually cutting the prices, and in the heat of the moment, you may not notice that you are being taken for a ride.
  2. Take out your calculator and your budget and work out how much money you can spend on Black Friday without derailing your financial planning. If you don’t have any spare cash this month, you can’t shop – no matter how good a special is.

  • 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 take out a loan 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. Use Bayport’s handy affordability calculator to help you understand what you can and cannot spend in the context of your budget planner.

  • 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 make sure everything is correct and that there are no unauthorised transactions. When you get into the habit of checking up on 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 rands in your pocket.

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 the 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.

Never go bargain hunting just because it’s Black Friday. Rather focus your savvy-shopper skills on the things you were planning to get already. In this way, Black Friday can put you in the black instead of the red.

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