Black Friday: Could it Actually Be Good for You?

We all like a good deal but did you know that shopping for bargains might genuinely be good for your mental well-being? There’s no better time to put this into practice than on Black Friday, when some of the best deals can be had. There are tips to implement, however, in order to ensure you don’t overspend. 

Retail therapy is really a thing

Some studies have looked at the positive benefits that shopping has on our mental well-being. One such study undertaken by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, showed that “the choices inherent in shopping may restore personal control over one's environment and reduce residual sadness”.[1]  In other words, having some sort of control over our retail choices (whether we’re just browsing or actually purchasing) seems to help reduce feelings of melancholy. 

Another study showed the added benefits of jumping from browsing to purchasing. The University of Michigan reported that people who bought things that brought them joy, were 40 times more likely to feel in control compared to those who didn’t seal the retail deal.[2] This served to reinforce the belief that shopping can indeed reduce feelings of sadness.

Of course, when we talk about retail therapy, we don’t mean buying for the sake of buying, especially if that leads to excess and a heavy debt load. Our purchasing decisions have to be thoughtful, reasonable, and affordable.

Tips to not overspend

Make a list and stick to it

Having a solid plan of what you need to buy is better than impulse shopping. And, just to be clear, shopping for a bargain is not the same as impulse shopping. For instance, say that your refrigerator has been acting up for a while and you know that it is on its last legs. Don’t just go out and buy the first fridge you see. Take some time to get an idea of the features you’d like your new appliance to have. Look around to get a feel for pricing. Then, wait a bit. If a deal comes your way, you’ll be better informed as to whether it is a can’t-pass-up kind of deal.

Stick to a Budget

It’s so much better to prepare for future expenses by planning for them. Putting money aside ahead of making a purchase is much less stress-inducing than accumulating debt from too many unplanned purchases. If you’re having a hard time keeping track of the comings and goings of your well-earned money, implementing a budget could be a lifesaver. You can find tons of easy-to-follow budget templates online.

Buy for a greater good

You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive”. That rings even more true as we approach the holiday season. If you want to give but don’t have endless amounts of disposable income, Black Friday may be the best time to do so, with many “buy one get one free” deals and deep discounts to be had. So, giving to a friend, a neighbor, or someone in need, doesn’t have to cost you the shirt off your back and the joy you’ll get in return is priceless.

This might also be a great time to buy products that are organic, sustainable, environmentally-friendly, or from companies that have a give-back model in place themselves. Many times, these products can be a little pricey because they are made from naturally-sourced ingredients. So Black Friday is often prime time to stock up on your favorites.

Make a list of companies who support a cause you believe in and subscribe to their newsletters. Often, subscribers are the first to get wind of their Black Friday deals. Life Sprout Bioceuticals, for instance, is a company that has chosen to support the environment by partnering with The National Forest Foundation and their commitment to plant 50 million trees.

So, now that you’ve made a shopping plan, i.e. know what you want to buy, made a budget so you how much you can spend, and gotten on board with ethically-conscious retailers, there’s only one thing left to say: Happy shopping!!!

 

References:
[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1057740813001149
[2] https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/100258/1208_Rick_Jan14.pdf 

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