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Is It Worth Braving Black Friday? Probably Not, Here’s Why

Greek shoppers pressing forward to enter a store in Greece on Black Friday
Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

Black Friday used to be a shopper’s paradise—with incredible once-in-a-lifetime deals. However, now it seems like the term Black Friday is thrown around whenever, even as early as the summer! So is it worth waiting for the actual day?

We’re not going to deny that there are some fantastic deals that pop up on Black Friday. However, it’s not really worth leaving the warmth of your home, ditching your family, and braving the chaos of frantic shoppers, especially since most of the deals are available online.

So we say think twice before jumping on the Black Friday wagon. Here are some things to consider.

Sales Happen Every Day

The truth is that there’s always a sale happening somewhere, every single day. Stores will jump on board with every holiday, event, season, and so on, trying to grab your attention (and your money). So even though Black Friday seems special, it’s really not.

The best way to shop for a specific item is to use a product tracking site. You select the item you’re after, and then you get a notification when the price drops. Saving money doesn’t get much easier than this!

You can also add items to your Amazon cart, select “Save For Later” and you’ll receive messages when the price drops or increases.

However, a ton of stuff is indeed reduced during Black Friday. So it’s worth checking out the sales if you’re after a big-priced item, such as a new TV, laptop, or phone. Keep in mind that you can still claim most of these deals from the comfort of your home, avoiding the stampede of desperate shoppers.

The Temptation to Buy Unnecessary Things

The problem with massive sales, like Black Friday, is that you get lured into buying things you don’t really need.

For example, an ad might pop up for cozy fleece blankets that will be 60% off this Black Friday. You’re left thinking, “Wow! That’s an amazing deal!” And the blankets really do look warm and fuzzy. However, do you need new blankets? Probably not. In which case, you’ve ended up spending money you didn’t really need to spend.

If you want to take advantage of Black Friday sales, we suggest making a list ahead of time for items you need. This will help keep you on track and avoid impulse buys.

And try to do online shopping whenever possible. It’s much harder to resist an item when you see it in person.

It Interrupts Family Time

family celebrating Thanksgiving around a big table laden with food

The truth is that Black Friday interferes with precious family time. It wasn’t so much a problem when Black Friday sales started on Friday (hence the name, Black Friday). However, nowadays, most sales begin right on Thanksgiving Day—often smack in the middle of the family dinner.

You can usually claim the same deals online. It’s much easier to duck away into another room, happily shopping on your laptop or phone, with your family still close by.

However, some folks love shopping during their Thanksgiving break. They have time off of work, family around to watch the kids, and are glad to have an excuse to step away from it all. If a chaotic store with crazed shoppers sounds more fun than struggling to connect with grumpy relatives, then go for it.

What About the Extra Bonuses?

Stores will often roll out “extras” for Black Friday—such as free gift cards, a surprise gift, or limited buy-one-get-one deals. Some of these go beyond a store’s usual sales, making it worth the wait. But sometimes they aren’t as great as they seem (such as a free bar of soap with purchase).

Some stores require you to claim these bonuses in person, such as “doorbuster deals,” whereas other stores offer them online. Check ahead of time to avoid an unnecessary trip into town if you can shop from the comfort of home.

Remember, it’s only worth it if you get the items you need. Don’t go around grabbing special deals for the sake of it.

The Verdict

To Black Friday or not?

If you’re on a tight budget, we suggest setting up alerts for needed items, and waiting patiently until they go on sale (which may or may not be during the Black Friday rush).

If you’ve got extra cash to spend, then sure, browse the online deals and see what you can find. We recommend sticking to a budget, such as spending no more than $200. You can also use this day to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Try to avoid entering stores on Black Friday, if possible. It’s not worth struggling past the crowds to get that $5 gift or extra gift card unless you have the energy, stamina, and determination to do so.

Ultimately, if all shopping overwhelms you, then set aside your phone, eat some extra pie, and trust that there’ll be a sale waiting for you when you need to stock up on essentials. Because really, good sales are happening all the time.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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