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Media Advisory 10-031

Black Friday: Tightwads and Spendthrifts – An NSF Webcast

How do people decide whether or not to spend money?

On left, image of hands holding scissors cutting a bill, on right hands holding a wad of bills.

NSF examines the impact of consumerism on tightwads and spendthrifts during the holidays.

November 12, 2010

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Consumers often behave differently than they would ideally like to behave. So says University of Michigan Marketing professor Scott Rick, an expert on the emotional causes and consequences of spending money. But what happens to people who are tightwads and spendthrifts during the holiday buying season when faced with numerous sales that seem too good to be true? Does being a tightwad or a spendthrift influence buying decisions?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally begins the holiday shopping season, is fast approaching and the National Science Foundation is taking a look at the impact of consumerism on tightwads and spendthrifts during the holidays when the pressure to buy increases.

  • What exactly is a tightwad or a spendthrift?
  • How do individuals make decisions about holiday buying choices?
  • Do sale prices boost holiday buying or is there something more?
  • How do frugal spenders respond to requirements to buy holiday gifts?
  • Do compulsive shoppers spend even more when confronted with sale prices?

Join Scott Rick as he discusses "Black Friday: Tightwads and Spendthrifts" in an NSF webcast on Tuesday, November 16 at 11:30 a.m. EST.

Who:Scott Rick, University of Michigan Marketing professor.

What:Live teleconference and webcast with journalists.

When:Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 11:30 a.m. EST.

Where:Media are invited to participate in the webcast by phone or online on the Science360 website. (Note: the URL will only be live during the event.) Please contact for phone number and passcode information. Scott Rick will respond to questions from the media throughout the webcast.

Media are encouraged to direct questions before and during the webcast to


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

Program Contacts
Jacqueline Meszaros, NSF, (703) 292-7261, email:

Principal Investigators
Scott Rick, University of Michigan, (713) 252-5654, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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