From Black Friday to Boxing Day sales: How to manage spending this sale season

Woman walking into house with a package waiting at the front door during Black Friday and Boxing Day sales..

It’s never too early to start the countdown to the holiday season. And with Christmas and family celebrations top of mind, your next thought bubble might be filled with shopping ideas as sale season approaches.

These days, it all kicks off with Black Friday. While this was once a US tradition, online sales have allowed the trend to travel the globe, with many online and in-store retailers offering massive Black Friday discounts to Australian shoppers. 

Traditionally, Black Friday falls on the Friday following the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, with November 26 marking the official day in 2021. Over the years, this discount shopping riot has morphed into a longer affair, with many Australian retailers running deals for multiple weeks. 

It comes at a handy time with Christmas just around the corner, but if you can’t snatch up exactly what you need, then you can scour more physical and virtual shelves at the Boxing Day sales. This day presents more deals for shoppers who have the post-Christmas strength to hunt down bargains.

But while you’re ticking off shopping lists, it’s equally important to consider how you manage this spending within your budget and where that money is going. 

Let’s explore some of the key questions to ask during sale season.

Should you pay via credit card, Buy Now Pay Later or cash?

You’ve got a few options when it comes to paying for your sales shopping spree. If your bank balance allows, you may want to keep things simple and only spend the money you have, sticking to direct debits and avoiding accumulation of debt.

Then you’ve got the trusty old credit card. If you use your plastic fantastic responsibly – paying off the balance in the allotted interest-free timeframe – there’s no harm in paying this way. You could even turn your Black Friday and Christmas shopping into bonus points for 2022 travel. But as always, be mindful of over-spending and make sure you are able to clear the card, as you could face hefty interest charges and other fees if you don’t meet card conditions.

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platforms are another popular payment method, especially online where they’re becoming more prominent across different types of retailers and shopping platforms. Most offer an interest-free four-installment payment system similar to laybuy. Just keep in mind there are often spending limits or fees for late payments that could catch you off guard. Read Mozo’s BNPL features explainer for more details.

Can you have an ethical shopping spree?

Big companies tend to capitalise on the now well-established end-of-year sales trends, and you’ll often be able to scoop up heavily discounted items from places like Amazon, JB Hi-Fi, the Iconic and Myer. But you may also find a lot of smaller-scale local shops or creators offering sales around this time.

It’s always worth comparing any local options that align with your personal values against the bigger players, as you may still score an excellent deal while supporting a company you believe in. And if you’re able to do so locally, you might also be able to save on delivery costs and the emissions transporting goods produces. 

If you’re keen to spruce up your finances alongside your shopping choices, check out these ethical banking options for kinder, greener ways to manage your money. 

Why are deliveries delayed in 2021?

We’ve come to rely more heavily on deliveries during the pandemic, and this has understandably put a strain on the logistics of shipping items. For the last few months in particular, as the spread of the Delta Covid-19 strain led to more snap lockdowns, Australians have seen extended delivery delays.

So, if you’re making purchases for a particular timeframe (perhaps that big tinsley affair), it could be worth starting early or getting comfortable with the idea of a slightly later stocking arrival.

If you want to learn more about the recent shipping crisis and what it means for your parcel delivery, check out The Finance Burrito’s take on the situation in the podcast episode below.