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5 Things to think about before attacking Black Friday

The average person spends $423 on Black Friday purchases. Here are some tips to help you rethink or improve your strategy.

twoman tired of shopping

t According to Statistic Brain, the average person spends $423 on Black Friday purchases. The site also says that 23 percent of Black Friday shoppers have camped out at a store the night before. If you’re one of the people they’re talking about, here are some tips to help you rethink or improve your strategy.


Assess whether it’s worth your time

t You’ll wait in line for five hours to get the must-have electronic gadget of the year, and as a result, you’ll save $100 on it. You are excited and just can’t wait to sit out in the cold or on the floor of the mall. But have you figured out what it’ll cost you to do that? Well, if you make $20 an hour, then five hours standing in line comes out to 5 x $20 = $100 in paid time off you burned standing in line to get that $100 discount. In other words, it’s a wash.

t I’m not saying don’t do it — because some of you love the thrill — but you need to assess whether or not the savings are really worth your time. Are those five hours better spent with your family, playing with the kids in your yard or visiting a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Or would you rather spend your day off waiting in line?

t I am a big fan of saving money on everything, but some things are just not worth it. Make sure you factor this into your big shopping day.


Ask if it will be on sale again

t Yes, chances are that the TV or camera that is on sale in limited quantities won’t be on sale again at such a great discount. But most other items like clothing, shoes and accessories are bound to be on sale again. I almost waited in a four-hour-long line with a friend at Toys R Us a while back. She wanted some toys her kids had asked for, but since there was a ridiculous line in 20-degree weather, we backed away. Not two weeks later, the same items were on sale in unlimited quantities and without the fight against other customers. In the end, the discount wasn’t worth the cost of the time spent in line.

t Black Friday might be the biggest shopping day of the year, but retailers are still going to find ways to get your money well into the Christmas season. They will have bigger deductions as you approach Dec. 25. And oh, the sales after that!


Decide if the sale itself is really worth it

t My favorite (joking!) sale is this: Buy One, Get One at 50 Percent Off!!!!

t You can’t fool me. This is 25 percent off each item, and I can guarantee it will be on sale again for a better price — and I may not be required to buy two.

t Check prices online for what you need, as the in-store deals may not be as nice!


Take a breath and ask yourself if you need it

t Look at the list of items you can’t wait to get your paws on. What percentage of them do you actually need? Is there a specific person you are buying them for? Have you already bought him or her something? And how many of those items will you soon forget about purchasing?

t Which leads me to…


Write everything down

t Please, please do this. Against my advice, you may buy everything at full price, but I can still save you money. I promise that if you write everything down — who the gift is for (including yourself), what the gift is and how much it costs — it will keep you from overspending on any one person (including yourself) and help keep your budget balanced.

t Even if you have random presents to give (to teachers, as a Secret Santa or for building employees), write those down, too. It will help you organize all your gift giving, no one will be missed and you won’t overspend.

t Happy shopping (or not)!

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