For those who know me, it’s clear that I’m not a big fan of heading out on Black Friday. I just don’t think the deals are worth it most of the time. And, even though there are a lot of great tips out there that can help you find the best Black Friday deals, my favorite tip is to just stay home. If we do decide to do some deal hunting, we do it online.

However, there’s another reason to take a step back from the frenzy associated with Black Friday. Steve Siebold, the author of How Rich People Think talks about the Black Friday “money trap.” He points out that many of those in the middle class are “brainwashed about how much money they are supposedly saving on Black Friday, and they end up buying way more than they would on any other day during the year.”

Black Friday Toys Sold OutThe truth is that you are spending at a huge rate — and you aren’t really aware of it because the deals have you thinking that you are “saving” huge amounts of money. This is a common trap for the average American, and one of the reasons to be careful about how you spend on Black Friday.

If you must go out, Siebold provides the following tips to help you stick to your holiday budget, and avoid spending more than you had planned:

  • Remind yourself that you are working for long-term financial freedom and abundance, and ask if you want to throw that over for the short-term satisfaction of material possessions.
  • Don’t fall for the get it today, pay for it tomorrow marketing campaigns that can land you in debt, and cost you more.
  • Allocate a specific amount of money for each person you plan to buy gifts for, and don’t go beyond that amount by even a dollar.
  • Make sure that you aren’t getting caught up in the moment. Evaluate everything in your cart.

The important thing to remember is that you are in charge of your money. Don’t let the idea of great bargains on Black Friday blind you to who’s in charge of your finances. And remember that, even if you are “saving” money on a particular item, you have still just spent some of your money. Saving money on something you buy isn’t truly saving — you are just spending a little bit less.

One of the best things you can do is ignore the hype surrounding Black Friday. Create a list of the purchases you plan to make, and match your planned shopping with the sales. Stick to your list. It’s not always easy to stick to your list, whether you are buying gifts or getting ready for holiday entertaining, but it is one of the best ways to avoid overspending while you shop.

Out there, in the crowds, it can be easy to be swept up in the hysteria and the mania. But you have to be careful. Really think about what you’re doing, and what you really want to happen, and be careful about how you spend on Black Friday.



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.