Don’t Get Burned On Black Friday

Black Friday is coming up, and while the day seems to be taking on less and less importance with the advent of stores opening on Thanksgiving, there will surely be some big time shopping going on.

syt-201311shoppingWhile you can save some money, there are a few hard and fast rules that you need to keep in mind so that you don’t turn Black Friday into a big money waster instead of a big money saver:

  • Have a list – Black Friday deals are published well in advance these days.  You should know exactly what you want and from what stores you plan on buying the items from.
  • Stick to your list – Many places make you go to the back of the store to get your great deal.  And, you’ll likely have to wait in line.  During all that time, you’ll be exposed to plenty of other items that you might be tempted to buy.  If it’s not on your list, don’t buy them!  Otherwise, you’re likely taking all of the savings from your pocket and giving it right back to the store.  At that point, you might as well stay in bed!
  • Have a backup plan – If your list includes an item like a tablet that you have earmarked as a gift, know in advance what you will do if the item is sold out before you can get one?  Will you pay more?  Will you look elsewhere?  Will you go for an entirely different item?  If you don’t have any plan, chances are you’ll panic and either end up with something you don’t want, or something you paid too much for.  Or both.
  • Know how you will pay for it – If you’re planning on putting your purchase on a credit card, do you have the money set aside to pay for it.  If not, then the $50 item can cost you double that by the time you pay it off many months later.  Knowing that, is it still worth it?
  • Know when to quit – Last year I bought my wife a camera for Christmas. It was already over the budget we’d set for ourselves, but I tweaked things to make it work.  As I was buying it, they tried to talk me into a bundle add-on which included some additional stuff, and it was $500 worth of stuff that was being added on for $200.  The allure of saving an extra 60% on this extra stuff stopped and made me think, and for many they would have jumped in, spending $200 that they didn’t have budgeted. Luckily I stuck to my guns, but I know many don’t.
  • Don’t lose your smile – Most Black Friday deals are centered around the holidays.  Yes, the holidays that are meant to celebrate and bring cheer and kindness and all the other warm fuzzy things that we associate.  As you’re waiting in line or fighting the crowds, don’t forget this. If you’re putting yourself or others at risk of injury just to save a few bucks, then in my mind the savings aren’t worth it, no matter how great they may be.

Happy shopping!

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