Is it time to re-think your Black Friday spending style?

Love it or hate it, it’s hard to resist the Black Friday sales.

By Sarah Lewis

Whether you’re counting down the days or complaining it’s all a con, Black Friday is now a firm fixture in British stores. 

And evidence suggests we love a Black Friday bargain. More than £1.49bn was spent by Brits last Black Friday in online sales alone and we’re predicted to spend similar amounts in 2019 1. But with announcements from several large British retailers stating that they won’t be participating in the promotions this year, is it time we also re-think our attitude to the sales? 


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From shopaholics to savvy savers, we’ve profiled three types of shopper and thought about what you could do differently to bolster your finances. What type are you?

1. The certified shopaholic

This is you if

For you, shopping is a passion. You’ve been waiting for this season’s sales to come around with bated breath and credit cards at the ready. Regardless of Black Friday, you’re a self-confessed shopaholic, 365 days a year. Saving, admittedly, is not your forte.

Most likely to say

• “I can’t wait for Black Friday”

• “Thanks, it’s new!”

• “Yes, I need a 10p bag”

What you could do differently

As hobbies go, shopping is an expensive one. If you’re buying things you don’t need just because they are on offer, perhaps it’s time to cut back? 

If you find you never have enough money for larger, more significant purchases, like holidays or home improvements, then it might be time to start a savings habit. By forgoing unnecessary items you won’t miss, you can watch your savings grow.

If your shopping habit frequently leaves you short for more big-ticket items, it could be time to re-think how much you’re paying for bills and monthly subscriptions such as like streaming services, goodie boxes and memberships.

2. The bargain hunter

This is you if

You’re commonly spotted stalking the reduced section for yellow stickers, time shopping sprees carefully and can sniff out a bargain a mile away. 

You’re careful with cash but will happily part with your money if the price is right – and you love the adrenaline rush when you bag a great deal. Your bank balance is in decent shape because you know when enough is enough, although there’s always room for improvement.

Most likely to say

• “I love a good deal”

• “This? Found it in the sales”

• “I have a coupon for that”

What you could do differently

Forget the short-term dopamine hit of scoring an exclusive Black Friday deal. Research by Which? shows that many of the deals could actually be fake. It found 95% of Black Friday bargains in 2018 were cheaper or the same price after the sales, while 61% were listed cheaper before Black Friday 2

If you’re making a significant purchase, watch prices for a few months to see how much they fluctuate, if at all. Don’t buy something just because of an advertised drop in price; weigh up if it’s the right product for you.

The good news is your eye for a deal means you can afford to treat yourself once in a while. To save even more, re-think where you’re saving your money. If your savings are stashed in a current account or cash ISA, switching to an investment account could help outperform inflation.

You don’t need any investing experience with newer robo-investing platforms that manage your funds for you. And with some providers like Wealthify allowing you to start investing from as little as £1, you don’t need to be a millionaire to get started.

Investment accounts are best suited for medium-to-long-term savings. While the value of your investment may go up as well as down and you could get back less than you invested. Most platforms let you adjust the level of risk to what you’re comfortable with.

3. The savvy saver

This is you if

You’re immune to clever marketing ploys, know how to save for a rainy day and enjoy keeping track of your investments. You have excellent self-control and are likely to be cautious when it comes to spending.

Most likely to say

• “It’s all a con”

• “If it looks too good to be true it probably is”

• “What’s Black Friday?”

What you could do differently

Your sensible attitude to spending is to be commended, but it’s also good to live a little. Treating yourself occasionally is not a crime and, while you’re right to be suspicious of the sales, your attitude may mean you miss a genuine bargain. 

You probably already have a healthy savings account but think about the return on your investments. If your money is languishing in an old account with poor interest rates, move it to one which will make your money work harder. That goes for children’s accounts too, which are easy to open and forget about. Switching to a junior investment ISA  – or JISA – could be a wise move.

If you’re already investing you might want to look at newer ethical investment accounts, which mean you can invest with a clear conscience if going green is the name of your game. 

Remember, the value of your investments can go down as well as up and you could get back less than you invested.