Right before the holidays, retailers launch all sorts of sales to entice shoppers to spend their money. Surviving Black Friday can be tricky if you struggle with credit card debt. Take these steps to have a productive shopping experience.
Guide to Surviving Black Friday
There are ways to navigate these sales to get the best deals for holiday gifts, but you can also use these sales for items you may need. The best way to shop is to shop wisely– do your research, and plan strategically.
Create a Holiday Budget
A holiday budget is the first step to surviving Black Friday. Start putting money aside for spending as long in advance as possible. The goal is to avoid going into debt, so don’t use your credit cards or take money away from paying for necessities like groceries or bills. This is a great time to create your holiday budget – how much do you want to spend on gifts and entertaining? Are you attending any Christmas parties, or hosting one? If so, create a budget that takes all of these items into consideration.
Now that you have your holiday budget set, you can figure out exactly how much you want to spend during this sales period. Set an expectation of how much you are going to spend, and make sure that it’s a total that won’t put you into debt.
Check the Holiday Sales and Flyers
Now that you have your budget, it’s time to get online and do some research. Many stores will release flyers and sales information ahead of time. The Sunday paper should include Black Friday sale information. For small businesses, you can check them out online or call and ask. See what items are of interest to you, and mark them.
After you’ve come up with a list, tally the totals and see if it fits within your budget. If it doesn’t, remove the lower priority items rather than end up with consumer debt.
Know When to Buy
If you are shopping at the stores on Black Friday, you should prioritize them based on the items you’re trying to get. You should also check online to see if there are comparable deals – though Cyber Monday is a few days away, some online retailers will cut prices to compete with the brick-and-mortar stores.
Make note of whether or not stores do price-matching. Some stores, in an effort to keep sales, will match competitors’ prices on Black Friday. This could save you time by making it easier to get what you need at one shop, rather than drive around. Call ahead and ask each store what their price-matching policy is, and you’ll be able to shop more efficiently.
When shopping online, there are a number of websites that will help you find the best deal on items. Use search engines as much as possible to make sure that you’re aware of all sales for surviving Black Friday.
Be Careful Shopping on Black Friday
Black Friday can be a dangerous place. Doors get swarmed, fights break out, and people get injured. Remember that no matter what, it’s just an item. Don’t put yourself in danger to get it.
Because of this chaos, carrying a bunch of cash probably isn’t safe. Plan to pay with debit or with checks. If you are using a credit card, be careful that you don’t go over your budget and spend only what you’ve allocated.
If you are shopping online or taking advantage of Cyber Monday, make sure you’re purchasing from reputable retailers and that you’re using a secure site. Look for sites offering free shipping – some may do so if you spend a certain amount, so you can pool purchases to achieve that price.
Go Shopping with Your Family
Holiday shopping can be a fun event when everyone else joins in. Get the kids together to create the budget – this shows them how to budget and that they can shop strategically to save cash. On the day of shopping, you can divide and conquer the aisles more efficiently, while also teaching your family the value of a dollar.
For more help with your holiday shopping, check out these free budgeting resources.
Got any Black Friday survival tips to share? Please write them in the comments below!