Embrace Black Friday in South Africa

We have all seen those tweets saying that if something is 30% off, you are not saving 30%, you are spending 70%. It is a valid point and the idea is to get you to think twice about blowing your salary on useless crap a month before the December break. The thing is, I have spent a lot of money on Black Friday in the last 3 years. I used to feel extremely guilty about giving in and splurging on big-ticket items. Then I realised something that changed my mindset: Embracing Black Friday in South Africa is only wrong if you spend 70% instead of 0%.

However, if you spend 70% instead of 100%, it is a great deal. This just highlights the importance of only buying things that you really need. First a bit of history and how Black Friday ended up in South Africa.

History of Black Friday

The term Black Friday originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s. The city used to host a football match between the Navy and the Army on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. As a result, crowds used to flock to Philadelphia for the weekend. This often resulted in the looting of some of the stores.

By the 1980s the store owners grew tired of this and decided to put a positive spin on a traditionally negative day. They had the masses, so they decided to create the deals. The day was coined Black Friday since it increased their profits from being in the red to being in the black.

The tradition quickly started spreading to the rest of America and ultimately large parts of the world. So, today we even have Black Friday in South Africa.

Since then it has grown to include other days of the week as well, with a lot of companies adding the weekend and Cyber Monday to the mix. In some parts of America, you can even go shopping on Thursday evening, right after your Thanksgiving dinner.

How do you know you need something?

For big purchases, I live by the three-month rule. If you want something today, research it properly now and determine exactly what you would buy. Then leave it for three months and if you still want it by the end of it, you can start shopping for specials. Well, either that or my wife tells me we need it now, in which case exceptions can be made.

It is a good idea to stockpile some of the things you buy regularly. This includes things like coffee, nappies, toothpaste and toilet paper. This was one of my tips on how to save money in last week’s post as well. If you would have spent 100% on these items somewhere in the future it makes sense to rather spend 70% now. The rules are:

  • It must be something you use regularly
  • You would have bought anyway
  • It can store for long periods
  • You buy cash

Then the last rule is extremely important. Do not use credit cards. If you are forced to pay with credit, then you are spending money you do not have. You will also pay interest on it, diminishing the savings that you planned for in the first place. So be smart about it.

What have I bought on Black Friday?

In 2016 I bought an aircon for my previous apartment. This was an absolute blessing since it got extremely hot during the summer in that little flat. It did, however, use massive amounts of electricity, so that is something I should have taken into consideration.

When I bought an aircon for our current home last year, I made sure to buy one with an inverter. This ended up using about half of the energy when compared to the previous one. Looking back, buying an aircon every time I move to a new place is a shit strategy. Luckily we plan on living here for a few more years.

In 2017 we bought a vacation to Egypt. I have always wanted to go but it was not necessarily my wife’s first choice. In her defence, she had to make the decision at one in the morning after being woken from an extremely deep sleep. We got the vacation package for a steal. If you want to read more about our Egypt vacation you can find it here.

In 2018 we bought a new couch for our living room. The cats properly fucked up the previous one. We noticed that they like scratching coarser material, so the new couch has a fine material and we have also found the miracle that it Feliway. Well, that and we have a scratch post in almost every room of the house. What we do for pets we love…

Tips for Black Friday

  • Run all purchases by your spouse to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Try to do the shopping online to avoid queues and reduce your travelling costs to each shop.
  • Pre-register to make sure you can buy quickly when stock is limited.
  • Make sure you have a list of items that you plan to buy on Black Friday and stick to it.

Where can you find the best Black Friday deals?

Here are some of the companies that usually have Black Friday specials in South Africa (I included Amazon from the US since it is often cheaper for me to import certain items than buy it in SA).

When is Black Friday in South Africa?

29 November 2019


You can make Black Friday work for you by buying stuff that you need and would have bought anyway. Or you can fall victim to Black Friday by buying items that you do not need, with money you don’t have. So be smart about it and Black Friday can actually save you money.

Be safe out there,


Quote of the week

“I rationalize shopping. I buy a dress because I need change for gum.” – Rita Rudner Click To Tweet


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