Have Black Friday Specials Gone Too Far?
Black Friday used to be just that: one Friday. Shoppers could look forward to a single day that featured the biggest deals of the year. But during the last decade, Black Friday has progressively taken over a larger portion of the calendar, moving its way to Thanksgiving Day. This year, it seems it is most of November.
Several stores have already launched Black Friday specials in preparation for Thanksgiving weekend. Best Buy just released “hundreds of Black Friday ad deals” on their website, following in Walmart‘s footsteps. Several other stores like Kohl’s and Target have released their official Black Friday ads now, with sales starting in the early evening on Thanksgiving Day.
Last year, many retailers put their doorbuster prices online, giving shoppers a chance to get the deals without actually traveling to the store. Kohl’s will be doing that this year starting the Monday before Thanksgiving, and most of the merchants listed above are offering free shipping for all purchases through the holiday shopping season.
Is the added convenience and extended time frame a good thing, or is it a recipe for massive debt to come? In many ways, this is a money saving opportunity. Consumers can shop at multiple stores from the comfort of their own home, and in some cases avoid shipping fees. This also reduces the retail chaos, providing a better shopping experience for those who shop in stores.
However, this elongated shopping season could encourage shoppers to buy more than they originally intended. Last year, Experian conducted a survey about holiday shopping debt. 62% of respondents were stressed because they failed to create a budget for the holidays, racking up an average of $288 in unexpected expenses.
To avoid the debt trap this holiday season, create a shopping list that fits your needs, budget, and financial goals. Take advantage of Black Friday deals as long as they correspond to your list, but do not get tempted by “specials” you think will expire. There will be other sales in the future when you do not have the expenses of the holidays. You can buy whatever you need when the time is right.