Consumers spent $45 billion in stores and online the day after Thanksgiving 2010. No doubt, Black Friday offers amazing shopping deals; if you do your research, you can score some terrific bargains. Many people overspend during this time of year, though. Follow these Black Friday shopping tips to help avoid the money trap.
Make a list
Create a list that includes everyone for whom you’re buying and how much you plan to spend on each. Don’t fall victim to impulse buying (for yourself or others) by straying from the shopping list. Overspending on Black Friday doorbusters and rock-bottom prices is tempting without a shopping list to keep yourself in line.
Set a budget
Black Friday leads many people into financial ruin. If you barely have enough money to make your mortgage payment right now, scale back on your holiday shopping drastically. Make some gifts, and confess to loved ones that you’ve fallen on hard times. Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, offers these Black Friday shopping tips:
- Allocate a certain amount of money for each person, and don’t overspend by even a dollar.
- Don’t even think of using a credit card unless you are 100-percent sure you can pay it off comfortably at the end of the month.
- Don’t get caught up in the moment. If your shopping cart is overflowing, step back, regroup and make sure you can really afford everything you plan to purchase.
Do your Black Friday homework
Shopping research isn’t just about looking for the lowest price; you also have to think about quality. Compare prices, and then check product ratings and reviews to be sure that what you are buying isn’t just a load of junk.
“Middle-class America is notorious for living beyond their means, especially on Black Friday,” says Siebold. “They are brainwashed about how much money they are supposedly saving on Black Friday, and they end up buying way more than they would on any other day during the year.
“In 2010, the census bureau reported that total credit card debt in the United States was $886 billion. On Black Friday, either the consumer racks up even more credit card debt than they already have, or they pay cash but spend so much that they don’t have enough left to pay their mortgage, car payments and other essentials.”
Shop smart on Black Friday to get the best bargains without breaking the bank.
Take it mobile
Use your smart phone to take all your preparation with you. Download the BlackFriday app on your smartphone to keep yourself on track while you’re braving the crowds and the lines. Some of the best features of this app include a look at all the sale items, a saved list of all your favorite items, and a search engine that will show you the nearest location of all your favorite stores. This is the smartest tool to take with you when you tackle Black Friday this year.