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Black Friday is one of the biggest consumer holidays of the year. The day following American Thanksgiving, it has come to be known as the start of the “Christmas Shopping Season”. It is the antiholiday of a frugalista and intelligent investor.

On this site we preach Get Rich values and the importance of improving one’s financial standing. We discuss how important it is to be a selective buyer both in terms of investments and personal possessions. Waste in one area of life tends to carry over into other areas as well. This begs the question: Should you partake of “shopping holidays” if you plan to achieve financial independence?

It is worth taking an intentional look at where Black Friday originated, whether it holds value, and whether it should continue.

What is Black Friday?

Wikipedia suggests that Black Friday started in Philadelphia and spread from that city around 1975 – originally having to do with the amount of foot and motor traffic congesting the city streets on this day. Alternatively, it may also have had to do with retailers operating “in the red” (at a loss) until Black Friday each year when they entered “the black” (turning a profit).

Over the course of time the significance of this holiday for retailers has increased as they have turned the clocks back until, now, many stores will open at the stroke of midnight to take full advantage of the rowdy shoppers who are willing to stay up all night for a bargain. Equally like clockwork, if you watch the headlines, shoppers routinely assault one another over saving a few dollars on “hot ticket items”. People are literally driven to violence to assure themselves the best prices on goods they probably don’t actually need anyhow.

Given the world’s shift to eCommerce, shoppers who wish to forego the potential violence and crowds of shopping centers are able to turn their attention to what is now known as “Cyber Monday” and is the Monday following Black Friday. Retailers are now able to draw people to stores for the sales and then discount what’s left – amid other planned bargains – online a few days later.

Should YOU Take Part In Black Friday?

It depends.

Really, it does. The key question for the astute investor to ask is whether they truly need the items they are considering purchasing. For instance, if for two months you’ve been going without something you really need and waiting simply because Black Friday will guarantee you a much better deal than you could otherwise get, then sure. It can make sense to take advantage of exceptional shopping deals.

However, if you are simply going out on Black Friday with an empty shopping cart and a hungry heart for random “deals on whatever”, then Black Friday can be a wealth-destroying event. You may be left with nothing but an aching heart and unpaid credit card bills – which is always a bad idea. The poor decisions made on one shopping holiday may carry over and enslave you for years to come.

Black Friday offers opportunity in abundance for those who are able to take advantage of it without overindulging. The key will, of course, be to know yourself and not get carried away when you’re out with friends and family and they’re ringing the cash register off the hook because “some deals are simply too good to walk away from”. Remember, Black Friday shouldn’t play out like a scene from The Godfather… you can refuse the offers made to you.

Is Black Friday Bad?

To the avid shoppers among the readership, even asking this question may feel like heresy.

That said, here’s my straight answer: No, I don’t believe so. There’s nothing wrong with a consumer shopping holiday. In fact, as an investor I am glad such holidays exist. They offer great opportunities for the companies I own to discount merchandise and bring in new clientele. For the sake of higher dividends and increased cash flows to my bank account, I truly do hope Black Friday persists and even increases its sales potential over time.

With that said, of course, I do not myself partake of the “holiday” since I understand the destructive potential of combing the aisles in search of ways to send my hard-earned worker dollars away.

Conclusion

Black Friday is a fantastically large scale shopping event that has its benefits if you are able to use it intelligently. It can also be financially dangerous if you go out shopping without a plan.

If you need a certain item and you find a great deal on Black Friday, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. The same way we like to find deals as investors we should likewise enjoy lower prices as consumers. Just be shrewd about it.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

Will you be taking part in the Black Friday mania? Is Black Friday a good thing?

Pictures courtesy of pixabay.com

6 thoughts on “Black Friday

  1. Interesting read; didn’t know that about the holiday origins. I’m with you. I don’t really care about Black Friday. I will buy if I have to, but don’t personally like participating for the sake of saving a few dollars. My mom did the rush a long time ago and said it was a terrible experience, so I have no real interest in going in person. That being said, as an investor, it’s always awesome, because those shoppers are putting money in our pockets, as you said. In the interest of full disclosure, I did participate in the holiday this year! Not in the conventional sense, but those prices of energy stocks were irresistible. That’s why I bought a few today! 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping in, DD.

      I can certainly appreciate the poor experience on Black Friday that your mother had. It seems we hear about someone being trampled (to death) every year at one of the big box stores.

      Black Friday for investors may be the incredible sales we’re getting on oil companies. I think I might pick up some SU shares this week if my final analysis suggests an appropriate price!

      – Ryan

  2. michelle kelly says:

    The great thing about all of the articles found in this website, is that even if you know the in’s and out’s of the financial world like a ‘pro’, or know nothing at all, there is a great deal of knowledge to take away from them. They are incredibly informative, well written, concise, and a great read.

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Michelle.

      We try to cover a wide range of topics so long as we can put a financial spin on it as that’s what our readership tends to be after. There are Get Rich lessons that can be applied and taken away from virtually any scenario in our consumeristic society.

      Take care!
      – Ryan

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