Black Friday is a global phenomenon that is recognised as the biggest shopping day of the whole year. It’s coming in just a few days, on Friday 24 November, and many shoppers have items bookmarked that they want to grab once the sales start. However, it is easy to get caught out by sly tactics from shops.
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Black Friday has changed a lot since it started back in the 1950s. First of all, it used to see a massive influx of shoppers coming into stores whereas nowadays, a lot of the action happens online. Here’s how Black Friday got its name, and advice from a money expert on how best to spend your money when it comes around.
How Black Friday got its name
According to NBC News, Black Friday became a notable day because it’s the day after Thanksgiving. In the 1950s:
Police in Philadelphia complained about an influx of people coming to the city to shop the day after Thanksgiving, calling it a ‘Black Friday’ because they had to control crowds.
Since then, the day has developed into a whole season of shopping that starts way before the 24th itself. This is, of course, a welcome way to save some money as you go about your Christmas shopping, but many fall into the trap of overspending during this period.
How to avoid this common Black Friday mistake
According to the money expert Martin Lewis, Black Friday can actually end up costing you much more than you think it will. This is down to two main factors.
As Lewis explained during his Money Show on ITV, you should only buy an item in the sales if you really need it:
If you were going to buy it anyway and it is half price you have saved 50%. But if you weren't going to buy it but do cos it's half price you have wasted 100% of your money.
The other thing to watch out for is ‘pricewashing’. This is when shops gradually increase the price of a product, then suddenly decrease it and advertise a discount - which is based on the highest previous price.
Comparison website PriceSpy found that 10% of products on Black Friday in 2022 were pricewashed. In the same vein, the site found that 25% of items were more expensive on Black Friday last year than they were at the start of November.
These are points to bear in mind as you fill your shopping cart on Friday!
NBC News: The history of Black Friday — and what 2023 may bring
Mirror: Martin Lewis warns millions of Brits will lose '100% of their money' next week