Just £72 worth of deals – that’s all it takes for us to abandon all budgetary constraints, according to Sage, as fear of missing out on bargains drives us to spend, spend, spend!
But as the dust settles on the retail carnival that is Black Friday, what can we do to stop our impulse buys turning into lasting debt and regret?
“Black Friday harks back to the days of the hunter gatherers. When resources were scare we had to be selfish, physical fighters to survive,” said Vince Mitchell, professor of Consumer Psychology at London’s Cass Business School.
Nearly a third of people admitted they will waste money on Black Friday, according to a poll published today by the Charities Aid Foundation.
And the discounts make it worse – with an astonishing 77% of people saying they spend more money than they might otherwise have done because of being tempted by the prospect of saving money, National Savings and Investments found last year.
The good news is, there’s something you can do about it.
Unwanted Black Friday and Cyber Monday buys: Your rights explained
If an item is not as described, faulty, or breaks in the first month under normal use, you have a – no quibbles – right to take it back and get cash in return.
Even better news is that if you’re buying online you have more rights to return items – and there’s nothing at all to stop you returning something you bought in the sale.
“With the new Consumer Rights Act, consumers are better protected than ever before, but awareness of the new laws is low,” said chief ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith.
“Your rights are extended when you buy a product online and you can return non-faulty items too. For example your decision to buy may have been based on a short description or a photo, so what you receive might not always be quite what you expected.
“Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have the right to return your order up to 14 days from the day.”
Read more: Consumer Rights Act 2015 – The new laws that give you power over shops
If you bought in store rather than online, you don’t have an automatic right to return something – but many shops will let you provided you have proof of purchase.
If you can’t return it, however, you could try to sell it online or turn it into a present for someone at Christmas.
Or, if you’re feeling charitable, why not turn your mistake into some good fortune for someone else and donate them instead.
“People often regret the things they buy in sales,” said Hannah Terrey, from the Charities Aid Foundation. “But that does give a great chance to make sure your bad buys go to a good cause.”