Black Friday, the shopping extravaganza that has captured the hearts of South Africans, is just around the corner. With so many tempting deals on offer, it's easy to get carried away and overspend. But with a little planning, you can make Black Friday work for you and stock up on essentials without breaking the bank for the festive season and what is typically a “Januworry” first month of the new year.

"Black Friday is a great opportunity to save money on essential items, but it's important to be prepared and stick to your budget. Prioritising needs versus nice-to-haves is important to ensure your spending takes advantage of the price benefits on essentials," says Doret Jooste, Head Money Management & Advisory Enablement and spokesperson for Walletwise, Standard Bank’s consumer finance education programme.

Doret proposes some tips to help you make the most of Black Friday and avoid compulsive buying. 

1.Budgeting for Black Friday: Create a budget and stick to it
Make a budget before Black Friday to see how much you can realistically afford to spend and then decide that you will stick to it. This will help you avoid impulsive purchases and overspending. Remember, the goal is to save money, not accumulate debt when you overspend.

2. Bulk grocery shopping: Save money and stock up on non-perishable essentials
Many grocery stores offer amazing discounts on non-perishable items like canned goods, pasta, and toiletries on Black Friday. This is your chance to stock up for the festive season and Januworry, saving you both money and time.

3. Online and printed catalogues: Plan your purchases in advance and streamline your shopping
Many South African retailers now advertise their Black Friday deals online before the big day arrives, even providing printed pamphlets in newspapers and in-store. Linked to the budget you have set aside, use the catalogues to compare prices and plan your purchases in advance. Create a list to streamline your experience and to stay focused during your shopping.

4. Tech and appliance upgrades: Get the best deals on electronics and furniture
If you've been saving up for a new TV, laptop, or even a bed, Black Friday can be a great time to buy these big-ticket items. Retailers often offer very attractive deals on electronics and furniture. Do your research and compare prices beforehand to ensure you're getting the best bargain.

5. Cash or Card? Weigh the pros and cons
Decide whether you'll be using cash or a credit card for your Black Friday purchases. Using a credit card can offer additional security for your online purchases, while potentially earning rewards on your spending at the same time. Just be sure to pay off your credit card balance promptly to minimize interest charges. Remember to always be discreet with your cash and bank cards and vigilant of your surroundings. Protect your PIN and monitor your account activity closely as fraudsters and thieves are typically on the prowl during these campaigns and festive seasons.

6. Returns, warranties and expiry dates: Check before you buy
Remember to check expiry dates of products as well as the return policy and warranty details before making a purchase. This ensures that you have options in case the product doesn't meet your expectations, needs repairs or has expired.

7. Local business support: Pick up deals on unique items and contribute to your community
Don't forget about your local businesses! Some smaller stores also participate in Black Friday sales. Supporting them can contribute to the growth of your community while getting great deals on unique items.

“Black Friday isn't just about indulgence, it's an opportunity to make wallet-wise smart choices. By planning, making informed decisions, and focusing on essentials, you can use this shopping extravaganza to your advantage,” concludes Doret.