5 tips to avoid the shopping frenzy on Black Friday

BLACK Friday in South Africa arrives just in time for the festive period and attracts the biggest shopping crowds of the entire year.

Traditionally, retailers roll out a variety of in-store deals, on everything from electronics to toys, to kick off the Christmas shopping season, opening stores as early as 05:00.

Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. Many stores offer highly promoted sales at discounted prices and often open early, sometimes as early as midnight or even on Thanksgiving (November 24).

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The first Black Friday dates back to the 1950s in Philadelphia, USA. The city used the term to describe all of the shoppers from the suburbs that flocked to Philadelphia in the days after Thanksgiving. But South Africa caught onto the trend in 2014.

South Africa has quickly gotten involved in the shopping frenzy season that is observed on November 25, however, Black Friday deals start to become available towards the end of October.

With Black Friday around the corner, here are a few things to keep in mind before facing the festive season rush:

Start planning early

A great way to get ahead of the rush is to do some research about deals and stores beforehand. Troll local news and blog sites for lists of retailers offering Black Friday deals. Bookmark those retailer’s websites, download their apps and follow them on social media for updates. Also note store opening times, stock availability and in-store/online restrictions. Taking these steps can take a lot of the stress out of shopping on Black Friday.

Don’t shy away from online shopping

Avoid the never-ending queues and the overwhelming stampedes of eager shoppers by shopping online. With all the discounts at your fingertips, you get the best shopping deals from the comfort of your home or office, without taking the day off. Going to busy malls on Black Friday can also be dangerous – with everyone eyeing the same limited specials, things could get messy, aggressive and violent. There is no deal worth having where you risk injury of any sort. Shopping smartly means shopping safely.

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Stick to a budget

With a wide range of deals offered from everywhere you look, you may feel tempted to overspend and buy things you don’t really need. Setting a Black Friday budget is an important aspect to take into account as the last thing you want to do is feel the financial burn later down the line. Write down the maximum amount of money you want to spend ahead of time, commit to it, and commit to sticking to that amount. This preparation will help to steer you away from impulse purchases.

Be prepared

If you plan on making EFT payments, check that you have enough funds in your account. The last thing you want is to be declined at the till while receiving that bank notification stating ‘insufficient funds’. A great way to avoid this issue is by looking at alternative ways to pay for the things you need. Either carry a set amount of cash or keep track of your purchases and stay within a particular spending limit.

Avoid impulse purchases 

Once the shopping mall’s doors open, proceed to the stores that were on your list. If you wait around and expect to enjoy a calming day of shopping, you will be unpleasantly surprised. You might even miss out on the items you had your eye on. When you were busy with your research beforehand, you should have written down every item you’re interested in and their prices so that you can budget in advance. Moments like these can test your self-control as you’ll be under pressure when trying to find and buy the item on your list while avoiding any other items you may want. It is, however, important to have a plan before tackling the shopping frenzy on Black Friday so you aren’t tempted into shopping excessively and spending more than you need to.