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Black Friday and Your Spending Habits

This article was written by in Consumer. 15 comments.


I truly despise the terms “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” and how the retail industry has created these days in an effort to rationalize outrageous spending on these particular days as if it should be accepted as an integral part of the holiday season. Cyber Monday did not exist until retailers created it, and as I expected years ago, the surge in online sales in the weekend and Monday following Thanksgiving has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That being said, I know I am spending more money on non-essential products this year. I’ve “upgraded” my living situation to “above bearable” and provided myself with some toys to keep me entertained — while still living below my means. Am I a reflection of a broader trend or are my spending habits going against the rest of the world this year?

I have some questions for readers, so please oblige me. Are you spending more this year than last? If so, why? Do you expect to find good deals on or around Black Friday, and will you spend more if you do? Will you wait until the last minute to hold out for more deals before the holidays?

Updated September 22, 2009 and originally published October 22, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bas

Good post! I used to work in retail during black friday – what a nightmare. But there ARE good deals.

For the passed two years I’ve been a part of the black friday holiday shopping… But I do it to get good deals and then re-sell them. So I usually make around $500 for one long night/day.

So to answer your question: This year I will spend more in hopes of selling more when I’m done :)

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avatar Me

Yes we are spending more on black friday. That is because my husband’s bonus will be purchasing us a HDTV. It is anticipated (and we agree) that sales will bring the prices lower than last year.

I typically hold electronics purchases until that time of year to get the deals. I watch the ads on a website that leaks the black friday deals. For instance, last year I purchased a Samsung VCR/DVDR for $185 at Sears. They were $250 at Best Buy with a $50 mail in rebate! Sears had no rebate but also had a $10 off coupon for the first 200 people, which I was. My VCR/DVDR was only $175.

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avatar D M

Cyber Monday was not created out of thin air by the retailers, it was created by the consumer. Several years ago I used to work on a website for a large electronics retailer and the traffic on the website would skyrocket the Monday after thanksgiving. It’s hard to remember numbers, but the amount of traffic and the number of orders placed was up by a factor of 10 or more. (And that’s even with the database and website crashing multiple times throughout the day due to being overloaded.)

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avatar Matt

I will definitely be spending more this year. The reason being that I have been setting money aside for gifts every month this year, instead of trying to cram it all into my November and December paychecks as I have in the past.

I don’t mind looking for good deals, but braving the madness of the crowds on Black Friday just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I’ll be looking for deals elsewhere.

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avatar Mrs. Micah

If I did either, it’d be cyber Monday. (or the whole weekend, heck) I went out on black Friday 3 or 4 years ago to get my first cell phone. Never again. I don’t have the psychological makeup for it.

Plus we’re not really doing Christmas as gifts this year.

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avatar Money Socket

I personally had a OK experience with black friday last year, which was my first one. I got 2 20in flat panel TVs for $150 each. This worked out great because I’ve been meaning to get a TV for my parents and my little sister. Now they have a cool looking tv mounted on the wall. I do find it silly however that people are camping out and waiting in long lines in the freezing cold just to spend tons of money. I saw almost every single shopping cart with a flat panel tv like it was free or something lol. I’m sure 30% of those people didn’t even need a TV. Black friday is made into an event that everyone looks forward to, the retailers benefit. and cyber monday? give me a break.

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avatar Jason H

While the deals themselves might be worth it in some instances, overall I think Black Friday is a big waste of time and effort. People often use these deals as an excuse to buy something they don’t need using a credit card they can’t pay off.

This year, like every year, I will be spending less on christmas gifts. I make many of the gifts and purchase the rest off season and from local retailers who give me a great price.

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avatar Yana

If we are spending below our means, I don’t think we are part of a broader trend, but one can hope. We are spending more now than previously, because our income is larger, but well below our income. We are saving much more. I gave up Capitalistmas and consumer days in general many years ago. Anything we do now during the season is related to work and home business. We will make purchases at this time of year if they represent big savings over what we ordinarily would have spent for everyday needs.

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avatar Kat

I will be spending less this year. Also I never go out on Black Friday and I don’t shop online, unless necessary. Everything is either locally made or made by me. And something the person wants or will use.

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avatar Chief Family Officer

I hate going to the mall when it’s packed, but I was shocked to discover several years ago that if you hit the mall at 7:00 on Black Friday morning, it’s actually not that crowded. (I understand that some stores like the big electronics stores are a different story.) I went mainly because my parents were visiting just for the weekend and my mom wanted to go shopping, so it seemed like a fun thing to do. You really can find amazingly good deals, but the usual rules of shopping apply (stick to your list and stick to your budget). We’ll probably go again this year, but only because my kids wake up so early that we might as well since we have to get out of the house anyway. Whether I spend more or less depends on the deals I find (I stock up on gifts throughout the year, so if I find something that would be good for my stash, I’ll buy it).

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avatar H Lee D

We have been on one income since May due to a cancer diagnosis and treatment, so we are definitely spending less. We weren’t big spenders to begin with – less than $500 total on gifts to everyone, including each other.

That aside, I have never gone shopping on Black Friday. My family all live across the country, so I tend to shop online and have things shipped right to them.

I wonder if work productivity is down as much as sales are up on Cyber Monday…

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avatar shadox

Hell, no! You will see me nowhere near a store on “Black Friday”. In fact, our entire family will be away on vacation together.

I know this is a cliche, but I truly hate the commercial nature of the holidays in the U.S.

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avatar Bob T

It took me a minute to realize what Black Friday is. I know it as Buy Nothing Day.

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avatar Sam

My wife and I have been saving for Christmas since April with $30 set aside from every paycheck. We plan to drop most of it on Black Friday when we can get some good deals to make the most of the money we’ve saved… not blow what we don’t have.

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avatar JenWe

I love a previous post about going on a family vacation during the shopping frenzy. I would do that, but can’t get off away from work long enough for it to happen. I am sick of the hype and malls now depress me. Gifts and greed seem to be crowding out love and charity. I happily give up my parking space to someone with big tvs on their mind.

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