Fighting frugal fatigue: What I learned from Black Friday

As I read story after story about this year’s record-high sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I can’t help but feel a bit ashamed. Prior to Black Friday I was ranting to friends and family about the unnerving display of unabashed consumerism that has been on display this year leading up to Black Friday. While I still feel a bit dismayed that a few good deals have had the power to turn normally level-headed, rational people into a herd of crazed wildebeests preying in a jungle of cheap electronics, I now understand why.

I’ve heard the term “frugal fatigue” thrown around a lot following the Black Friday aftermath, and while it’s not an excuse for spending money you don’t have, it is an important part of the average consumer’s psyche that is worth evaluating. For many, the past few years have been focused on tightening the belt. The state of the economy has been so consistently poor that many of us haven’t had a choice but to cut back in certain areas.

In many ways it’s similar to dieting. If you’ve been depriving yourself of certain things for a prolonged amount of time, you’re either going to get used to the new lifestyle – if you’re one of those wonderfully disciplined kinds of people – or at some point you’re going to crack and end up splurging.

The important thing to remember is that splurges are ok, because guess what – you’re human! A splurge doesn’t have to derail your overall plans unless you let it. So even if you spent your entire holiday budget buying an iPad for yourself on Black Friday (oops!), don’t let that be an excuse to continue overspending.

If you fall into the “well I already spent too much, so I might as well keep spending” trap, the consequences will catch up to you. And it won’t be pleasant. So accept that you’re not perfect and that you will at some point experience “frugal fatigue,” but remind yourself that you’re in control. And while facing the post-holiday bills won’t be pleasant, accept the consequences with a level head and revise your budget accordingly.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

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