Black Friday is just around the corner. Whether you head out into the crowd or surf the internet from home, you can easily overspend your budget in a blink of an eye. Use these strategies to plan out your shopping trip and stick to your spending limit.
Make Your List and Check it Twice
Follow the lead of the jolly man in the red suite and create a list of names you’re giving gifts to this Holiday. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the Black Friday deals, but that physical shopping list in your hand keeps you accountable and on track.
Set your Budget
Find out what you can afford to spend and how it will affect your budget. Don’t feel compelled to get everything on everyone’s wish list. Try to stick to the same number of presents or dollar amount between each recipient. This can include your kids as well. Take this opportunity to talk with your children about the importance of budgeting and compromise.
Research Prices on Desired Items
Do some homework before you head out into the crowd. For some sales, you may not be getting as good of a deal as you might think. Check the regular prices at multiple stores and compare to the advertised Black Friday price. The better deal isn’t always on your normal route of stores.
Avoid the Quest for the Perfect Gift
Rarely will you be able to find “the perfect gift”. Searching for just the right gift for someone will just cause more stress on both you and your wallet. Simply pick a few items that you know your recipient wouldn’t spend money on for themselves, or that make you say “This would be perfect for them!” Better yet, if they give you a list just stick to it.
Know the Tricks
Retailers use a variety of tactics to get you to spend more. You should be especially aware of these strategies during Black Friday:
- Mark-up prices just before the Holiday weekend, making it look like you’re getting a bigger discount
- Offer bulk pricing (ie. Buy 3 get 1 free)
- Advertise Door Buster deals, creating a sense of urgency and desire
- Sell items as gift sets that are prewrapped for you, taking away the hassle of gift wrapping
- Strategically placing higher profit products at the end of the isle of at eye level on the shelves
- Trigger senses through holiday music, smells, and food samples – Reminding you there is still Holiday cheer and you want to spread that to everyone on your shopping list
Bring a Lifeline
Shopping with a friend or relative is one of the easiest ways to keep track of your Black Friday spending. Hold each other accountable for the items you put in your cart and the final prices that pop up on the register.
Shop Online to Resist Temptation
Easily compare prices and avoid the tempting Holiday displays by shopping online. More often than not, you put that extra item in your cart because you saw it on display. Shopping from the comfort of your home keeps you on track and eliminates the extra expenses, like dining at restaurants and pictures with Santa.
Don’t Buy Things Just Because They’re on Sale
It can be tempting to buy more than you need on Black Friday because you don’t want to miss an opportunity to save. In fact, half of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation said they shopped in stores over the Thanksgiving weekend because the deals were too good to pass up.
To avoid buying things on Black Friday just because they’re on sale, stick to purchasing items on your gift list. If anything else catches your eye, ask whether you would want it if it wasn’t discounted. If you wouldn’t pay full price, skip it.
Check for Price Matching
If a price-comparison app indicates the item you want is cheaper in another store, you might not have to go to another retailer to get that price.
Many major retailers match competitors’ prices. Be aware, though, that some retailers — such as Walmart — exclude prices on items sold between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. So check a retailer’s policy online before trying to talk a sales clerk into matching a competitor’s price.
Shop Before or After Friday
Avoid the lines and chaos by shopping before or after Black Friday. You may find great prices during pre-Black Friday sales or Cyber Monday sales. Some retailers start their Black Friday countdown the Monday before Thanksgiving. This is a great way to relax while you shop, and you can still get some great deals!
Your Phone is Your Friend
Remember, your phone can be a great tool when it comes to saving on purchases this Holiday season. Download money-saving apps such as Coupon Sherpa for more coupons or Santa’s Bag to keep you organized and on track.
Don’t leave out your retailer apps! Some retailers offer store aisles navigation on their app so you can find your item before it sells out.
Why Pay for Shipping?
Nowadays there are so many ways to avoid that pesky shipping charge. If you’re not finding that jacket in your size, or it’s at another store order online! Most retailers offer free in-store pick up, or free shipping if you purchase in-store or at one of their kiosks. Don’t forget about Amazon Prime that offers free two-day shipping and a free 30 day trial.
You can also put off your Holiday shopping until Free Shipping Day on December 15th when many stores offer free shipping with no minimum order requirement. Often, these items are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve.
Remind Yourself of the Consequences
If you often overspend, remind yourself of the consequences. How did you feel last January when the bills came? What did it do to your budget? How many items did you end up taking back for return? Think of these things before you set off on your shopping trip.
Find Something Else to Do on Black Friday
This year, ask yourself why you’re really shopping on Black Friday. If you don’t really need to shop on this day, consider starting a new tradition. Use the day to decorate for the Holiday, watch a movie in your PJ’s, or start a weekend house project.