It may be hard to believe, but we are closing in on Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. Now I must confess that you won’t find me up at 3:00 AM standing in line at my favorite store. If we don’t travel for Thanksgiving, I typically host a big Thanksgiving meal, so Friday is my day to recuperate. But I know it’s an annual tradition for many people. Since I’m a big fan of tradition, I understand why so many of you look forward to this early morning pilgrimage.
From rising before dawn and huddling in the cold with their friends and family to scouring the stores for amazing deals and celebrating your shopping success with breakfast at your favorite restaurant, many love Black Friday. For some people, Black Friday is a must because it helps them stretch their holiday budget, thanks to all the great deals they find. Others wind up blowing their budget because they can’t say “no” to every great bargain they run across. Like anything, it’s best to have a plan of action, so you can shop until you drop while saving money and sticking to your budget.
8 Tips to Surviving Black Friday
To take advantage of the great sales and door busters on Black Friday, follow these tips to build your plan and shop guilt-free.
#1: Have a Black Friday Budget
This goes beyond just a budget for Black Friday but setting an overall Holiday Budget, first and foremost. You don’t want to inadvertently give yourself the gift of debt this Christmas, which happens to so many and it often starts by overspending on Black Friday. Sadly, there is no return policy when it comes to the debt you acquired over the holidays. Before you leave home, know exactly how much money you can spend and hold yourself to that amount.
Bonus Tip: If you have struggled to stay within budget in the past, you may want to make this a cash-only Black Friday. Once your money is gone; it’s gone.
#2: Make a List of Sale Items You Plan to Purchase
Any veteran Black Friday shopper will tell you that it’s not for the faint of heart. There are hordes of shoppers looking to score great deals, so this is not the time to window shop or browse. The good news is you’ve been inundated with flyers and coupons. Review the list of people you plan to buy gifts for this year (and remember—you don’t have to buy everyone a gift or you could make homemade gifts instead) then find items that fit your budget and don’t allow yourself to spend more than you allocated for each person.
#3: Be Mentally Prepared
Marketers do an amazing job to lure you into their stores with great door busters. Never forget their goal is to get you inside and entice with you other merchandise beyond their Black Friday specials because that is how they make money. They don’t make money off their door busters. They will do everything possible to make it easy for you to load up your shopping cart.
You have to shore up your defenses so you don’t automatically grab things you don’t need because:
- The deal is too good;
- The item will be gone if you don’t grab it now;
- The sales clerk pushed you towards a more expensive item.
Many people get caught up in the frenzy of Black Friday and actually feel stressed if other shoppers seem to be finding better deals. Some will even start filling up their shopping cart out of panic. Stay calm and focused on your list. It’s not a competition.
#4: Differentiate Between Good Deal and Hype
Black Friday has become synonymous with great deals on electronics, and everyone wants their TV for $100 or less, even if they don’t need a TV. Remember, every store has a very limited supply of those fabulous deals.
The prices may be rock-bottom, but they are generally not name-brand electronics either. This may not matter to you, but don’t forget TVs are heavily discounted before the Super Bowl too. You probably won’t find any $100 TVs, but it is unlikely you will have to deal with shortage issues and will find good prices on higher-quality, longer-lasting TVs.
#5: Compare Prices and Brings Ads with You
These days it’s easier than ever to comparison shop to ensure you get the best price possible. Don’t forget many stores will also match prices. So review Black Friday ads carefully and know the store policies, specifically their price-matching and return policies. Instead of running around to 3 or 4 or more stores, you may be able to do all of your shopping at one store that will match the prices of their competitors. Now you’ve not only saved money, but also valuable time too. Now that’s a real win-win in my book.
#6: Sign-Up for E-Mail Alerts and Follow on Social Media
Most businesses have social media accounts and email lists you can sign-up for and receive updates on new products, exclusive deals and sales. Now is the time to sign-up, paying close attention for exclusive deals, coupons and coupon codes. Most businesses give a few bonus or exclusive perks to those who follow them, so take advantage of them.
Bonus Tip: After Black Friday or the holiday season is over unsubscribe to the email alerts and social media accounts. The offers can be too tempting for some and lead to unnecessary spending. Use the offers to your advantage now and cancel afterwards. You can always resubscribe next holiday season.
#7: Do Some Advance Shopping
You can pretty much find all the Black Friday Ads online already, so you know what the good deals are. Don’t wait until Black Friday to scope out the deals in person. If there are clothing items you were interested in for yourself and/or your family, try them on now. Don’t wait in line for the dressing room on Black Friday. Go in knowing what fit and what didn’t. Take your kids through the toy aisle and point out some of the toys you were considering. Ask them which ones they like best. Or if there is something else they preferred. No matter how inexpensive a toy is, if it’s not something your child wanted, then it is a waste of money.
#8: Wait for Cyber Monday
Once upon a time, going to the store and dealing with the crowds was the only way to save money on Black Friday, Thankfully those days are over. Many stores offer great deals online on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Many stores lower their threshold to receive free shipping or outright offer free shipping on Cyber Monday too. You won’t receive the packages overnight but should receive them in plenty of time. The best part of shopping online, beyond being able to do it in the comfort of your own home, is you no longer have to make a snap decision, which happens a lot when there is a crowd breathing down your neck. You can make a mindful choice, rather than a rushed one, which is always better for your holiday budget.
A Black Friday Tradition
Some dismiss Black Friday for being too consumer-driven, but you can find some great deals to help stretch your holiday budget. You just have to be smart about how you shop, so you remain in control of your money. On Wednesday, Tanya is going to share some apps that can help you save money this Black Friday.
Do you camp out with friends and family in front of your favorite store for Black Friday? Or are you more of a Cyber Monday shopper? Or neither? Share with us how you find the best deal during the holidays.
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