Depending upon your personality, you likely either look forward to the excitement of Black Friday with gleeful anticipation or you dread the Black Friday hype and plan to avoid it like the plague. If you are of the sect of people who loath Black Friday to its very core then this article is not for you. After all, if you have no interest in shopping on Black Friday then there is zero chance of Black Friday wrecking your budget to begin with, right?
However, if you get a kick out of the hustle and bustle and deal-seeking fun, you are exactly the person who needs to read this article. Check out the following Black Friday mistakes to avoid and you will still be able to enjoy your shopping experience without having any regrets about bad financial decisions in the morning!
1. When it comes to your shopping budget, deciding to “wing it” is a bad idea!
There is no faster way to start a money management disaster than to embark upon the busiest shopping day of the year without a solid plan in place. First, you should determine how much money you can afford to spend after your monthly bills have been paid. Once you have calculated what the number should be, determine to stick to it.
Some savvy shoppers will leave their credit cards at home and only bring along cash to ensure that there is no temptation to spend more than they had initially planned. Personally, I am not a huge fan of shopping with cash (if you lose your cash you are in big trouble where if you lose a credit card you can call the bank have a shiny new piece of plastic issued). So, if you believe you have the discipline, set a budget for yourself and shop with your card. (Plus, by using a rewards card or a cash back card, you might earn some extra bonuses this way as well.) However, if you don’t trust yourself not to overspend on a card then cash might be the best way to go.
2. Making your list…it’s more important than you think.
Once you have determined how much you can afford to spend on Black Friday, it’s time to write down everyone for whom you wish to buy a Christmas present during your shopping spree. Shopping without a list sets you up for failure.
Let’s say that you have a budget of $500 for Black Friday shopping. If you are shopping without a list you could potentially spend the $500 on 10 people, only to remember two more people you forgot to purchase a gift for after you get home. It is also a good idea to put yourself on your shopping list. Putting yourself on the list allows you to have a little self indulgent fun without going overboard on impulse purchases.
3. Thinking that you can find the best deals on your own is a mistake.
When it comes to Black Friday deal hunting, technology is your friend. There are countless blogs, articles, and apps which can help you find the best ways to stretch your holiday budget to the max. You can follow couponers and deal hunters on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Don’t forget to check out the app store on your smart phone or tablet for even more money saving help. Apps like RedLaser and ShopSavvy can help you to compare prices on a particular item in order to make sure you are getting the best deal. Finally, don’t forget to check RetailMeNot.com and other similar sites before you step one foot outside of your front door on Black Friday to find coupons and special offers for all of your favorite stores.
Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with nearly 2 decades of experience, the credit blogger at HOPE4USA.com, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars on various credit and financial topics. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft.