City thinking, local knowledge

How to Survive Black Friday with Money in Your Pocket

By Questa Chartered

Black Friday: a day synonymous with unparalleled sales and, often, unprecedented spending. But must our bank balances suffer as a result? Absolutely not!

Key Facts: Your Black Friday Primer

  • Black Friday this year will be on November 24, 2023.
  • It’s the colloquial term used for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
  • It is known for marking the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season.
  • Retailers offer significant sales at discounted prices, and these sales are highly promoted and eagerly anticipated by shoppers. Many stores open early, and in recent years, some have started sales on Thanksgiving Day itself.
  • Black Friday is considered one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with stores offering a variety of deals to attract customers both in-store and online.
  • The term has also been historically associated with a financial crisis that occurred on September 24, 1869, related to gold speculation.

Now, Black Friday has become a consumer phenomenon in the UK too. Here are our considered insights as to how to survive one of the most intense periods of consumerism on the planet.

Here are some scientific insights inspired by this excellent BBC article about the science behind Black Friday survival. We’ve summarised it for you here.

Timing is Everything

Ever wondered when’s the best moment to hit the shops? After a long day, perhaps, or in a rush? That’s a hard no from the experts. Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a consumer psychologist, throws in his two-pence worth, declaring that haste does not lead to prudent decisions. Less haste, more saving – remember that.

Behind the Curtains of Retail Trickery

Beware of the sensory seductions of retail! The enticing tunes, the tantalising smells, the strategic colours – all conspiring to lighten your wallet. A Swedish study has shown that background music has us lingering longer and spending more. So, plug in your own playlist and step to the beat of budgeting.

Don’t Let Crowds Cloud Your Judgment

Are you shopping or are you competing? It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy, especially in packed places like Primark. But are you really going to wear that neon jumper? Tsivrikos warns us of the danger of hoarding in competitive environments. Stay focused, stay rational.

Judge a Product by Its Packaging… Or Not

We often judge a book by its cover and a biscuit by its packet. Studies show our eyes are drawn from big to small elements, often skipping the important bits like nutritional info. Don’t be swayed by pretty packets. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts, right?

Virtual Basket > Physical Trolley

The high street’s a minefield of temptations. Why not avoid it altogether? Tsivrikos suggests that the lack of immediacy in online shopping aids in making wiser choices. Let your fingers do the walking, and may your only pressure be your Wi-Fi signal.

The Online Review Conundrum

Online reviews: a beacon of guidance or a pitfall of deception? With estimates that 20% of Yelp reviews could be fake, it’s best to approach with a pinch of scepticism. Make sure to check the entire spectrum of stars – those one and two stars can be quite telling.

A Lesson in Comparison Shopping

Why settle for the first deal you find? Shopping around doesn’t just potentially save pennies; it educates. It’s a lesson in consumerism, says Tsivrikos. Know the tricks, spot the traps, and become the savvy saver you aspire to be.

Solo Shopping: A Singular Strategy

Group shopping can lead to impulse buying, but the data is not conclusive. Nevertheless, who hasn’t felt the tinge of peer pressure on a spree with friends? Sometimes, going it alone might just save you from a purchase you’ll regret.

The Maths Behind the Discounts

Faced with a brain-bending discount dilemma? Don’t trust your gut or your rusty percentage calculations. Tsivrikos advises us to bring a calculator (or a friend who’s good with numbers) into the fray. That 50% extra free deal? It’s the same as a 33% discount.

Or Perhaps, Just Don’t

Are sales your shopping kryptonite? Research suggests that for compulsive shoppers, sales can be an overwhelming lure. If the fear of missing out is too much, maybe the best strategy is to sit this one out. After all, not spending at all is the ultimate saving.

Shop Smart, Not Hard

So, as Black Friday looms, equip yourself with these strategies. Think of them as your financial armour in the battlefield of bargains. Whether it’s resisting the siren call of in-store atmospherics, being a discerning online review reader, or just staying at home, every saver has a tactic to employ.

Remember, Black Friday isn’t a mandate to spend; it’s an opportunity to spend wisely. So, why not flip the script this year and come out on top, with not just new gadgets and gizmos, but also your financial peace intact?

Here’s your handy checklist:

  • Less haste, more saving.
  • Resist retail’s sensory lures; personal playlists can help maintain a budget.
  • Don’t let crowd psychology affect your purchasing; focus on rational choices.
  • Look beyond product packaging; consider the actual contents.
  • Opt for online shopping to make more considered purchases.
  • Take online reviews with scepticism; investigate low ratings for insights.
  • Embrace comparison shopping to educate and save.
  • Shop solo to avoid peer-influenced impulse buys.
  • Use a calculator for accurate discount calculations.
  • For compulsive shoppers, avoiding sales may be the best saving strategy.

And there you have it, a handy Questa survival guide for private savers and investors for the shopping spectacle that is Black Friday. Good luck out there! Shop smart, then invest the savings, and watch your nest egg grow, even as the sale ends!

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