Why It’s Called Black Friday

I've always wondered why it's called Black Friday - this is a fun list of different origins, plus tips on how to stay sane during Black Friday!


It's that time of year again. The holiday shopping season is upon us.

And the mother of all shopping days is coming up soon: Black Friday. How do you feel about this day? Can't wait? Dreading it?

Why is it Called Black Friday?Why is it Called Black Friday?

So where did the term Black Friday come from? Using my Wikipedia skills I did some quick research and found out that the term Black Friday didn't necessarily originate from where I thought.

There's the obvious connection to the financial crisis of 1869, but to me the current day after Thanksgiving isn't exactly a crisis. But you know who it is a crisis for? Retail store employees and local police forces. Traffic is horrible for those cops on that day.

The police department in Philadelphia are credited with using the term first to connect the Black Friday of 1869 and their own crisis, the day after Thanksgiving traffic.

Another meaning that makes more sense to me is the accounting reference. When profits are in the positive (as they would be on Black Friday), the bookkeeper would get to break out the black pencil to denote the numbers. They aren't in the red, they're in the black. Thus, “Black” Friday.

Here are a few tips for safely navigating this year's Black Friday adventure:

Make the Most of Your Black Friday Experience

Tip #1 – Stay Home – This is what I'll be doing. Kick back. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast leftovers. Watch some football. Good times.

For you other suckers (just kidding), here's how to make the most of this crazy day:

Tip #2 – Don't Chase Deals – Decide what you need to buy before you even look at the ads. There's nothing wrong with getting the best possible price for something you really need and have been planning on. But make this list before you check out the ads. Once you see those deals you'll find all sorts of reasons to go out and spend on things you had no intention of buying in the first place.

Tip #3 – Scour the Ads – Okay, now that you've listed out what it is that you need, or would like to shoot for, start looking through the Black Friday ads and websites to find the best deal on the item you want. Where do you go for the Black Friday ads? BlackFriday.info has always been my favorite website for perusing the ads prior to Friday morning. A lot of the stores have already released their ads, so you can begin your search now.

Tip #4 – Plan Your Route – Once you have your items selected and know where the best deal is, strategically map out your route based on the amount of the item and discount, store opening times, door buster deals, and likelihood of the store selling out of your item.

Tip #5 – Use Even More Strategy – Work as a team with friends or family members to make sure you're separately in place to get the deals you want. Consider scouting out the stores the day before to locate where the item you want will be.

Tip #6 -Have Fun and Stay Away from Crazy Crowds – Get out there and have fun, sure. But no sale is worth getting trampled over. We hear stories about this every year. Don't be this year's victim to consumerism. Stay away from any unruly mobs.

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Last Edited: May 30, 2017 @ 7:21 am
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. Heather Stephens says:

    Great post Phil!

    I enjoyed learning the history of Black Friday and your tip #1 especially. I shopped online instead of heading to the stores.

    I think many people get caught into a scarcity mindset that if they don’t get the deals on Black Friday they’re going to miss out, but the reality is that prices often continue to drop as the holidays approach.

    My tip to add to your post is to shop online, looking for deals that allow you to stack coupons or promo codes with items that are already on sale, free shipping and cash back through a cash back coupons and deals site. Deals like these are available year ’round and can often beat the Black Friday prices you’d find in the store!

    Many online deals even offer rebates or a gift card or coupon for a future purchase. Another tip would be to stack all those deals with the cash back you receive on your purchases through your debit card/credit card for an extra bonus.

    Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! 🙂


    P.S. We met in LA at the Laughing at Wall Street book signing party. I’ve been lost in the black hole of “Black Friday Blogging” for the last few weeks, but I’m glad I finally made it over to visit you here. 🙂 Hope things are going great for you!!!

  2. I think people should do their Black Friday shopping online, that way they avoid the crowds and still get the deals.