5 Questions to Ask Yourself on Black Friday (Frugal Friday)

This post was originally published on November 25, 2010:

The mad rush for holiday shopping begins. Retailers want your hard-earned dollars. You want a good deal — and something fun to give loved ones this season.

You have to be the smarter player in this game.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you shop this holiday weekend:

1. Do I need this?

Remember, “enough is as good as a feast.” Repeat that to yourself three times a day. We live in a culture of excess and are often tempted to buy something we like instead of limiting ourselves to the things we truly need.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s your money to spend. And if you really have it, I think you have the freedom to spend it however you would like.

However, usually we spend money on things that we don’t really need OR want. So, examine yourself and your desires first.

2. Do I need it NOW?

I am all for anticipation buying. I stockpile regularly on items that I know our family will use in the very near future. But, I’ve been burned too many times buying things that we might need a year from now and actually never use.

Think through your purchase. Do you need it right now?

Photo source

3. Is this a quality product?

I have a friend who works for a major retailer. She’s actually a store manager. And she spoke rather disparagingly about many of the items in their Black Friday ads. She thought the products were junk. Even if it’s only ten bucks, why buy junk?

4. Is this really a good deal?

My experience has been that the deals on Black Friday are not a flash in the pan. We usually see comparable sales somewhere throughout the holiday season. Don’t feel pressured to buy because the price might go up.

5. Is it worth the stress?

If lugging the kids out in the snow to buy the $3 turtlenecks only to find out that they’ve all been snatched up is a stressful experience, don’t do it. (And yes, it is. Ask me how I know.)

There is a cost to everything. And the stress involved in shopping on busy crowded days can take a toll on us and our families. And it’s not a great way to enter the season.

Asking yourself these five questions can help you save money on Black Friday. Be wise, little grasshopper.

How do YOU save money?

Share your post link or your money-saving idea in the comments.

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Comments

  1. LOVE THIS POST! Thank you for sharing it :) Other than CVS, I don’t do the Black Friday thing. Way too much pressure to blow money. But if we were shopping for something specific (toys, electronics), I can see being a strategic shopper on that one day.

  2. I found out last year that the few items I wanted, I could actually get on-line thru the stores website at the same price. No lines and it gets delivered with no shipping (or I pick it up at my convenience at the store next week). I always make sure I research what I want to buy to insure it’s a good price and good item. Having said that, I’m not a stores dream because I go in for that one I want and I’m gone. Clothing? Nah, I can get better deals the 1st of the year when they do inventory or when the next seasons stuff is coming out (and honestly I only buy clothes when they wear out–I’m still wearing some 20 yr old items). The only thing that might draw me out tomorrow is to get some iTunes cards for my hubby. I’ve found them for $10 off $50. I do sometimes like to go out just to ‘people watch’. It’s cheap entertainment (I’m really not a ‘buyer’).

  3. Nice post. Make me feel better about not being able to go out to shop BF this year.

    Here’s my post on a frugal tip:
    Practice Gratitude Every Day

    http://www.free2befrugal.com/2010/11/practice-gratitude-every-day.html

  4. I like that…”using our big girl words.” We should use those EVERY DAY, not just when we’re posting something. It’s amazing how much impact one person can have, negative or positive. Today I choose to have a positive impact. Thank you for your part in making a positive impact also! And thanks for these 5 questions; I hadn’t thought about that before.

  5. My frugal tip is “In Defense of Leftovers.”

    http://thelocalcook.com/2010/11/25/in-defense-of-leftovers/

  6. Great questions! I’ve tried Black Friday a few times but have now come very much to peace with the fact that it is just not for me. I will be frugal in other ways and save my sanity! lol

  7. Happy Black Friday!
    I don’t live in the US, so we don’t have any black friday sales, so that’s how I avoid overspending. :-D

    My post for this week is my recipe for Banana Peel Chutney.
    http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2010/11/zero-food-waste-challenge-banana-peel.html

  8. “Destroying my peace” is my serious motivation for staying home!

    That said, I’ll stop by CVS when I get around to it. If I miss out on any deal, oh well. (It’s not like we even used the free phillips earbuds we got free last year.)

  9. Great article!!! I also definitely agree with Is this a good deal or worth the stress!!

  10. My frugal friday tip is being creative with leftovers, starting with breakfast! I thought there was a linky link up but I must have had too much turkey to eat…

    http://frugalinflorida.blogspot.com/2010/11/using-up-those-leftovers.html

    Black Friday? No thanks … did it last year with Hubby and Sonnyboy…Target at 4am, in store 5am, got the 2 tvs for $298 each (40 inch flatscreens), checked out by 5:15am, eating in IHOP at 5:45, TV’s hooked up by 7am, sleeping agan by 8am. Uhhhh. I’ll pass this year!

  11. Here’s why I won’t be shopping on Black Friday.

    Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

  12. This was my first year to go out. I got my husband a tool at Sears that I had picked out from the ad, and went to Penny’s to buy leather tall boots that were $100 off and my sister PJ’s.

    They didn’t have my size so I bought the wrong size and am hoping to exchange them for the correct size when they restock. I can always return them for a full refund if they never get my size in.

    We were out of the mall in an hour and my mother in law took me to breakfast afterwards. Great morning and I’m all done with shopping now!

  13. Good post. I too have noticed the big sales items are often low quality. I avoid Black Friday every chance I get. I like your 5 rules :)

  14. If we want Black Friday deals, I have found it best to go online. It also helps to sweetly sing, “Oh Holy Night” while looking at all of the ads, it puts things into perspective quite well. : )

    Things seem so out of whack in the ads! It grieves my spirit to see $10.00 items considered stocking stuffers! Oh my goodness! : O

    The old ways are truly best, years ago, children were excited to get fruit in their stockings. They would be aghast at Black Friday now.

    One thing that also helps our family is reading Reminisce magazine from Reiman Publications and reading the sweet accounts of people raised in the 30s through even the 70s. You can get some idea of what they have here and some good stories too! : ) http://www.reminisce.com/Default.asp?r_d=y

    I think we can keep things simple and sweet and still keep the wonder of Christmas too.
    You have some great reminders here on your site, wonderful. : ) Blessings to you!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Oh @Amelia,

      You are always such an encouragement, such a breath of fresh air. THANK you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it more than words can say. Love the idea about singing Oh Holy Night while looking at ads! LOL Excellent!

  15. I think your last point has become the most important for us. There just isn’t anything that’s worth it to me. We used to plan our Black Friday shopping attack to the point that we are now qualified to plan a mission for Navy Seals. Now, we enjoy staying away from anything that even remotely resembles retail.

  16. Canada doesn’t seem to do Black Friday, but even if they did I would probably not go. Too stressful.

    My link is for yummy turkey or chicken soup with homemade stock. http://homeschoolblogger.com/reviewsandmore/2010/11/turkey-or-chicken-soup/

    Annie Kate

  17. Great tips on Black Friday! I wrote some ideas on how you can restock your kitchen with Black Friday Deals: http://www.foodonthetable.com/blog/2010/11/frugal-friday/

  18. In Canada our equivalent to Black Friday is Boxing Day(December 26th). I went one year and vowed NEVER EVER again. There is no deal so great that it is worth almost being crushed to death. There is a feel of rampant materialism to that day that does not sit well in my spirit.

  19. Great questions – it is SO easy to get caught up in the rush!

  20. I’m sharing a link today on what you should stock up on now to help fill your pantry! http://behealthybehappywellness.com/2012/11/stock-up-now-and-save/

  21. My husband and I headed out once for Black Friday deals and sadly what we bought broke way quicker than expected. I agree too that the deals are really not that much better than what you can get all through out the season. http://snailpacetransformations.com/2012/11/17/selling-saturdays-amazon-trade-in-program-for-books/

  22. I swear you heard me going on to my dh yesterday in the car about the Christmas creep and the excess consumption it encourages. Blah!

    Yet, here I am with a post on saving money when you are spending money: http://www.frugallocalkitchen.com/blog/buying-christmas-gifts-save-cash-for-groceries/

  23. In Canada, we don’t have Black Friday, and from all I hear about it, I’m very glad. It sounds terrible, kind of like our Boxing Day sales.

    But it’s always good to save money, and I posted about a new blog of wholesome free and discounted ebooks. It’s much better than going to some of the freebie sites out there that are full of trashy books as well as good ones; this one filters out the trash. I’m going to be letting my 14 y-o daughter onto this site.

    http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2012/11/wholesome-free-and-discounted-ebooks/

  24. Need a quick 4 ingredient soup that makes for an inexpensive dinner : http://www.joyfulhomemaking.com/2012/11/quick-italian-meatball-soup.html

    Protect your fabric chairs, inexpensively for years…http://www.joyfulhomemaking.com/2012/11/protecting-your-dining-table-chairs.html#

  25. I’ve been doing BF shopping since I was about 8, way before it become popular! I remember being the first one in line with my grandma and aunts every year. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed my “wants” have changed from electronics to every day household items, such as the paper towels I picked up yesterday or the deals from Rite Aid. I hadn’t read your rules before I headed out at 4:30 this morning, but I actually tried to keep a lot of them in mind as I was going through the stores. I made a list in my phone last night and tried to stick with it. I even managed to make it out of Target without anything that was a “deal”. The one lesson I learned was to compare the non Black Friday price. I drove 10 minutes further than I had planned on, only to save $10 on an item at Sears. Was it really worth the savings? Nope, not when I would have probably been in the area before Christmas. I actually purchased a ton of storage containers that were on sale for my plan to downsize during my vacation next month.

    I also noticed that with all the stores opening last night or at midnight, I didn’t have to wait in any lines, check out at most stores I went to was under 5 minutes and they all had tons of product still in stock. Next year I think I will stay home, shop through ebates, order online and pick up at the store and save lots of time and gas.

  26. I’ve never gone out on Black Friday, but my biggest money-saver after Thanksgiving is using up my T-Day leftovers. Here are 40 Recipes to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers.

  27. Great questions! :-)

  28. Great post, Jessica… I don’t do Black Friday at all… intentionally. In this day and age when so many small businesses are struggling to make it, I make a concerted effort to shop local and buy from local businesses whenever I can. I even asked my kids to include 1-2 things on their “lists” this year that I knew I could only get from a local merchant. Tomorrow (Sat) is shop local Saturday around here…and I’ll be doing just that! If you really want to support your local economy, look right outside your door and buy your gifts there!

  29. I so agree with these pre-buying questions! We’re skipping the whole Black Friday thing this year…too much stress and not enough money saving sales on the things we actually want to make it worth it.

    My Frugal Friday post is about finding affordable, real Christmas trees!

    http://femmefrugality.blogspot.com/2012/11/suburbanites-buy-your-tree-in-city.html?showComment=1353703200975#c3226046395292188845

  30. I wouldn’t dream of actually going out to the stores on Black Friday, but there were some great online deals today. I managed to knock off most of the items on my Christmas shopping list by shopping online at Lands’ End, Hanna Andersson, Anthropologie, Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods & Staples. Between discounts & free shipping, I was able to save upwards of $500.00, which is a HUGE help to our Christmas budget! Plus, I was done with most of it by 5:30 this morning – was up most of the night with a sick kid {stomach virus, ugh!} so I figured I may as well use the time productively.

  31. Amen! I just wrote about ways to save on Christmas shopping: http://www.brownthumbmama.com/2012/11/11-ways-to-save-on-christmas-shopping.html

  32. I would also like to add that when you shop on Thanksgiving day or at midnight at some stores you are encouraging the retailers to keep these ridiculous hours. You are also stopping their employees from spending time with their families on Thanksgiving.

    • Here’s a different perspective on that…I was in Walmart the day before Thanksgiving and a few of the cashiers were talking about working on Thanksgiving & Black Friday. They said they didn’t mind it & were just grateful to have a job in this rotten economy. They were all hoping it would be very busy, because more success for Walmart = less chance that their jobs would have to be cut.

      • My comment focuses more on the Christmas creep onto Thanksgiving, not Black Friday itself which used to start on Friday. It would not make a dent in Walmart’s or any other big box retailer bottom line to be closed for 30 or so hours so that their employees could rest and enoy a great American holiday with their loved ones. I think it is dangerous and unhealthy to have employees up all night and consumers driving around at 3am just to shop for stuff. I am also grateful for my retail job and keep a good attitude while at work and want my company to be successful. I am just disgusted with corporate and consumer greed.

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