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It was 24 hours of retail madness that saw $69.7 million pass through New Zealand’s tills on Black Friday.

For context, that’s $1.5 million more than the crazy Boxing Day sales last year, 10 per cent more than Black Friday in 2017, and just about $15 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Caitlin, a 20-year-old from Tauranga, contributed to those stats by joining the spending frenzy. “I got a good Remington hairdryer that I wanted and needed,” she says, but she had to spend $60 to save $90.

“I wouldn’t have spent the original asking price of $150.”

It represents a boom time for the retailers, some bargains for consumers but also a time of examination by the Tauranga Budget Advisory Service.

“My greatest concern is the need to be disciplined whenever there is hype and cut prices,” says service manager Dianne Bruin.

“We don’t want to see people missing out on essentials because they went crazy buying during Black Friday. We certainly don’t want to see increased debt on credit cards and pay day loans.”

The Black Friday shopping phenomenon began in the United States, with one theory suggesting that it’s the day retail moves out of the red or financial loss for much of the year, and into the profitable holiday period. Black Friday supposedly kick-starts the spending.

“When the credit card bills come through in December, that’s the time of reality,” says Diane. “The record spending spree across New Zealand may mean not enough food for Christmas and people seeking help to pay down debt.

“It may affect the demand for food parcels because there’s less cash in the household budget.”

On the other hand, if people managed their purchases to a budget, it could be a great Christmas.

The Tauranga Budget Advisory Service offer some protocols to assist an enjoyable debt free or debt controlled Christmas.

When shopping, walk away and ask yourself is it a need or a want. Plan shopping, because people tend to panic shop closer to Christmas and spend more than they can afford.

In every relationship there is a spender and a saver – make sure you shop with the saver and negotiate with each other. This will be a huge boost for your budget and cash flow.

Instead of buying for everyone, have a Secret Santa and purchase one affordable gift so everyone gets something but it doesn’t weigh down the household budget.

Be creative, make gifts and get the family involved. Some ideas include baking, handmade cards and book marks.