Today is Black Friday. Say what?
Unless you have been living under a rock, or don’t have Facebook (and to be honest, I know people who would identify as being in both camps, you may have noticed that there are a lot of sales around.
So, what’s happening.
Black Friday – and Cyber Monday – were originally a US thing designed to coincide with Thanksgiving. In the US, many families put the Christmas tree up and really get into the Christmas mood after Thanksgiving. Eventually retailers decided to get into this act and make it a big shopping thing as well.
But it’s really come into its own with eCommerce. And it makes sense, because there is nothing worse than ordering things online a few days before Christmas only to have them delivered in mid-January. A good way to avoid that is to buy a month in advance. That’s going to be especially important in this COVID world as more and more people are shopping online and many of our supply chains have been disruped.
Australia and Black Friday
Black Friday is now part of Australia’s calendar, too. It’s not the only online November sale – there is Singles Day on 11 November (originally from China) and then Click Frenzy – but the Black Friday shopping weekend is the big granddaddy of them all.
This year is going to be a big one. According to research by ING, this year there will be 2.86 million first-time Australian Black Friday shoppers. In total, ING estimates that 8.3 million Australians will buy goods during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The research indicates that 58% of Australians are aiming to save money on ‘calendar moments’, including the big ones – Christmas (48%), birthdays (16%) and back to school items (13%).
This year there’s also a strong impetus to support local businesses, who have struggled with bushfires and COVID over the past year. One third (33%) of respondents in the ING survey said they plan to buy from an Australian retailer, and a quarter (25%) said they want to use the sales to ‘give back’ to struggling local businesses. 13% of respondents said they will ONLY buy from local retailers and Australian businesses during these sales.
Should I buy at all?
The topic of whether people should or should not buy during the Black Friday sales can be divisive – especially in the frugal/anti-consumption world. There is even a Buy Nothing movement that marks today as well.
I am proud to be part of a sharing community, which has featured large in my Joyful Giving challenge this year. I’m not a huge retail consumer. But I am not boycotting Black Friday. I recognise that while our consumption footprint is low and decreasing, there are still things that unavoidably we need to bu, such as presents for some family members and inlaws. (Hubby and I will be finding op shopped items for each other this year.) I also regift (shock, horror – but true!) and I also buy things from op shops, and I regularly make and bake items. However, there are still things we need and want – and still, gifts to give -so I will be shopping during these sales.
The Joyful Frugalista’s tips for shopping during the sales
If you are heading out to the sales this year, here are a few of my tips:
- The best sale of all is not to buy something. It’s super easy to get caught up in the hype of this weekend. There are lots of ‘limited time only’ specials and it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy. Buy now and get 50% off! But if you don’t really need something, don’t buy it – and save 100%. That’s a pretty good saving. Make it go even further by transferring the amount you ‘saved’ by not buying things (i.e. items you put into a shopping cart and removed) into an investment account such as a micro-investing platform such as RAIZ or Spaceship Voyager.
- Have a shopping list – before you go online. Think about what you need – and want – before you go online. You might not know what is on offer, but at least you can plan for what to look for. Draw up a Christmas shopping list, or think about expenses that are coming up (e.g. back to school). Go back to your list to avoid getting too distracted.
- It’s not just about Christmas – think birthday presents. Think about presents not just for your kids or family, but to all those times you discover a birthday invite at the bottom of a school bag and realise it is today. A few strategic ‘just in case’ kids birthday presents, and a few adult appropriate gifts, bought and waiting will save you sanity (and money) in the year ahead. There is nothing worse than having to dash out at the last minute in search of a present that is just right. And then the “oh of course, I knew it was your birthday!” moments will be much easier – you will look super prepared.
- Shop safely online. Have you ever ordered anything online only to have it never arrive? I have. Three years ago I ordered two electronic keyboards for my sons from eBay – at that stage they were learning piano. Not only did they fail to arrive, but the retailer ‘resent’ them – the end package was a pair of large men’s shoes with stars and stripes and lights. I had no luck negotiating with the purchaser, who kept offering to sell these shoes to us and wouldn’t provide a return address. Long story short, because I’d paid for them through PayPal and my credit card, I was able to get a refund. Consider what your protection are if things go wrong.
- Get cash back. Maximise your savings by linking to Cash Rewards, Shop Back or Super Rewards. Basically, in addition to the sales price you will ALSO get cash back on selected stores.
Cash Rewards offers a $30 bonus for new signups if you use this link.
Shop Back currently offers a $15 bonus for new signups if you use this link.
Super Rewards offers a special $10 signup to readers of this website when you use the term ‘joyful’. This was offered by Super Rewards CEO, Pascale Helyar-Moray in a recent Facebook Live.
Kogan also offers $5 credit for a friend if you use this link.
What are you buying this year? Or are you buying anything at all?