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Finding Financial Balance

Black Friday Shopping – Is it worth the hype?

sale tags

The holiday shopping season is upon us. The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will be here soon. Don’t forget occasional expenses, like gifts, when creating a spending plan. When shopping for presents, comparison shopping and shopping on sale may be good practices. A concern with sale shopping is feeling pressured to buy due to limited quantities (sense of scarcity) or to buy things that may not be a part of your spending plan.

Sales create a sense of urgency

The Black Friday sales intentionally create a sense of spending urgency due to limited quantities, the perception of limited availability of products, and perceived steep discounts. Scarcity promotions trigger competition and aggression among consumers (Harikrishnan, 2022). In last month’s post, we discussed how using cashless methods may increase your spending intentions based on the ease of transaction. With the discounts, coupons, and temporary sales prices, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping may appeal to many consumers. Some websites track purchase prices so consumers can determine if the sale price is truly discounted. Comparison shopping and trying to purchase items at the lowest price can be positive consumer habits as long as you only purchase what fits your spending plan. Try to make purchases based on your spending plan without feeling pressured to buy now.

Influencers create a sense of need

In addition to the sense of urgency, another marketing tactic is creating a sense of consumer need. Social media influencers are common in online marketing. Online influencers can reach large numbers of people quickly and easily. They are called influencers because they are heavily influencing social media followers as consumers. Taneri (2022) discusses the power of intimacy created by social media influencers. Be cautious of the herd mentality when it comes to spending because influencers are trying to create a need for products that may not benefit your financial wellness. When you feel like you are being influenced to spend money, consider whether the purchase is a need or a want. If it is something you want, you should decide if it fits within your spending plan or if you value spending your money on other priorities.

Create a spending plan

If a purchase is out of your budget, utilizing a credit card or a buy now, pay later option may be tempting. Preparing for holiday shopping by saving in advance or setting aside money to buy gifts may benefit your financial wellness. As discussed in a previous blog post, “Do you find debt distressing?” debt is found to be linked to financial worry and stress. 

If you plan on shopping during this holiday season, remember to make a spending plan to avoid impulse purchases and be aware of the marketing tactics that make you feel pressured to purchase. Paying attention to sales and comparison shopping can be good practices when buying items that fit your budget and financial values. Track how much you spend this holiday season on gifting, and think about this when creating a spending plan for the new year so that you can plan for gifting next year.


Harikrishnan, P. K., Dewani, P. P., & Behl, A. (2022). Scarcity Promotions and Consumer Aggressions: A Theoretical FrameworkJournal of Global Marketing35(4), 306–323. 

Taneri, E. (2022). The New Opinion Leaders of Digital Marketing Era: Social Media Influencers. Journal of Applied & Theoretical Social Sciences4, 37–49. 

Meet the Author


Jamie Mahlandt is a Financial Educator for Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, and Washington counties in Southern Illinois. She provides financial education to the local community with an emphasis on financial literacy and financial well-being.



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