Financial Planning

How to boost your willpower this Black Friday

Lynn Bolin, Head of Communications at M&G Investments

Another Black Friday beckons and there’s little escape from the sales that have been popping up all month, as stores work towards their greatest discounts of the year. It’s an exciting time and you may pick up a bargain, but there is also the risk of overspending.  

You might see items you don’t need marked down and suddenly believe that you must buy them. You might find products you use on sale; why not stock up? You are almost certainly going to find great discounted gifts for the coming festive season. Temptations have never been higher, and with the pandemic shaping how we embrace the world of online shopping, it’s even easier to fall into overspending.

From shopping from the comfort of your couch, to the auto-fill payment options at checkout, it’s all so easy and right at our fingertips. Delivery to your door is convenient, but you can also deliver yourself right into debt if you aren’t careful.  So, how do you boost your savings willpower this Black Friday? How do you decide where to draw the spending line, especially when an expensive item is marked down? 

Consider the 1% rule

If a discretionary purchase is worth more than 1% of your net monthly income, wait 24 hours to buy it. This might seem like a risky move as the deal could be snatched up by another buyer, but taking that time to think twice will mean you avoid buyer’s remorse.  Overpaying — or worse, buying in a frenzy so you don’t miss out — can mean you end up with items that you don’t really value, or that you resent.

Remember when it comes to fear of missing out (FOMO), many Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales are opportunities for retailers to move large volumes of stock off their inventory, especially when they have new model ranges in the pipeline. Do your homework, and figure out whether or not that “great deal” really is such a bargain. There will also be post-holiday sales around the corner, which usually end up being just as good as those happening now.

When you can conquer impulse spending, chances are you will only purchase something you have truly considered – and it will match your budget. Money you don’t waste can also be saved, which over a few missed Black Friday deals can add up significantly.

You can adjust the 1% mark and put additional thresholds onto your spending, in line with what you can afford or what you need to prioritise. Not every Black Friday deal need be avoided – after all, you could end up saving on some nice festive gifts you had planned for friends and family —  but when you do spend, ensure that you can do so comfortably without impacting your investments. You don’t want to have to cash out a long-term investment and miss out on its growth.

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