Paula Scott

Paula Scott

Nov 11, 2023. 4 mins read

Family Finance

Minimalist Parenting: How to Avoid the Black Friday Frenzy

Black Friday is coming, but have you ever wondered where Black Friday actually came from? Like, where did it start? And when – and why – did it turn into a frenzied mess of retail chaos? 

Green Friday in defense of the planet, strike against Black Friday and the day of sales and discounts, overproduction, environmental degradation

The World Wide Web - aka my friend Google - tells me this: The shopping sense dates from the 1960s and was originally used with reference to congestion created by shoppers; it was later explained as a day when retailers' accounts went from being "in the red" to "in the black".  

Well, that makes a ton of sense, considering they drain our pockets directly into theirs! What started in the US has well and truly cemented its place in Australia's retail calendar. Australians spent over $7.1 billion across the four-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022. Crikey!

The Un-Reasoning Behind Black Friday Frenzy 

The marketing teams from the big box stores (I'm looking at you JB's, Good Guys, Myer) are absolute magicians in getting you to part with your hard-earned cash. The flashy ads creeping in through social media, the larger-than-reasonable signs, the extended offers, the free shipping, the lineups. My gawd, the lineups! They are literally screaming at you about the so-called deals and door-crashers. Well, danged if they don't work. All the bargain shoppers come out of the woodwork, like a GD swarm of locusts, looking to score the best deal, especially on big-ticket items like electronics, white goods and sports equipment.

For families suffering from the rising cost of living and a million interest rate hikes, you've perhaps thought about using Black Friday to pick up some children's toys and maybe some household goods for yourself. But are you really saving money? Do the kids really need that electric ride-on Mercedes Benz, iPad or Barbie Dreamhouse, and do you really need that 80" smart TV and LED face mask? Maybe you're just getting swept up in the Black Friday madness…

Last year, I splurged my hard-earned cash on a set of fancy dumbbells for the home gym. They looked the bomb and at 50% off I couldn’t resist, but kind of predictably, I used them approximately four times. I am all the gear, but no idea when it comes to fitness but Black Friday made me believe I would magically turn into Kyla Itsines. 

I'm being honest; I don't need one special day to part with my money. I can do that on a regular Tuesday, thank you very much. So, this year, I have decided that, once and for all, I am not participating in this needless performative consumerism. If for no other reason than to stay away from pushy, deal-hungry shoppers and the nightmare lineups. But the bigger – and better reason – is to teach our kids about sustainable and green living, where quality over quantity rules and the critical importance of not contributing to landfills. The biggest impact we can make is to reduce our consumption. Our little humans are watching and learning from us with every move we make – or don't make – and I want my little humans also to understand the value of money. It, in fact, does not grow on trees. We must become smarter consumers.  

Even when your kids beg for and get a new toy, they can just as convincingly not be interested in it shortly after. In fact, a survey by The British Heart Foundation in 2019 found that on average, a child loses interest in a toy within just 36 days. A fifth of parents said their child lost interest after 11 hours of play, while 8% said their children became bored in less than an hour. Shoot. Me. Now.

And I'm not alone with my shifting mindset. With inflation soaring, many shoppers are opting to spend less this holiday season. According to, "research shows that 83% of shoppers say that inflation is impacting their planned holiday purchases". 

A Better Alternative

Look, I'm also a realist, and there might be one or two things worth getting on the cheap and new, so I'm suggesting you make a list and check it twice to find your way sensibly through this Black Friday:

  • Plan ahead: Instead of waiting for the last moment, plan your purchases beforehand. Whether you have a birthday coming up, a family trip, or Christmas, or you simply want to surprise your child with a toy, don't make impulsive purchases. I repeat, do not make impulsive purchases.

  • Price watch: Keep an eye on those have-to-have items and the fluctuating prices leading up to the big sale, and then you'll be sure that you are getting a good price and not just falling for the smoke-in-mirrors trickery that is Black Friday razzle-dazzle. 

  • Shop local: Local stores almost always have better product variety and better deals. Some even offer eco-friendly choices that are often better for the environment and safer for your child.

  • Shop smart: Use your loyalty card, points, coupons, redeemable offers, and anything you have in your shopping arsenal to bring out the big guns and get that – smart – deal.

Here are my other (better) suggestions to grab some secondhand toys and support the family budget.

  • Toy library: A parents secret weapon for getting new-to-them kids toys 

  • Toy swapping app: Join Sassybae and swap toys with other parents nearby. While you’re there, you can also swap clothes the kids barely put on before they grew out of them (wah!), the books, the kids equipment and accessories. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time trying to sell them to all the oddballs on the marketplace that shall not be named. 

So that’s my take on Black Friday this year. Embrace the circular economy, enjoy saving money, and for the love of all that is holy, stay away from those dang lineups this year!

Paula Scott

Paula Scott

Active mum of 2 . Wife . Research Nerd . World Traveller . Adventure Seeker

Loves writing about fashion, travel, parenting, must-have products, and music. She can be found chasing her children, playing tennis, at the beach, or at a concert. Loves to eat. Hates to cook.

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