Black Friday: it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and with good reason. Everyone’s heading out to shop either in stores or online, taking advantage of the amazing deals available for the day. Unfortunately, not everyone makes the most of those saving opportunities. Are you Black Friday shopping this year? Follow these tips to make the most out of your shopping experience.
Start with a list. Make a list of the people that you need to buy gifts for. Your spouse, your children, and your parents make a great start, but you may find that you have an extensive list.
Set your budget. How much do you have available to spend this Black Friday? You don’t want to miss out on the great deals, but you also don’t want to overspend! Make sure you know ahead of time how much you are able to spend on Christmas this year.
Know how much you want to spend on each person. You might, for example, have $100 to for each of your children, but only $25-$30 on your niece and nephew. Be realistic about what you’re willing to spend: if you can’t afford $50 teacher gifts, don’t feel guilty about it!
Avoid accumulating debt. There’s a popular meme making its way around social media right now that encourages people not to go into debt in order to prove how much they love someone. While it’s okay to use a credit card for Christmas–if you know you’ll be able to pay it off before you start to accrue interest—try to avoid debt this holiday season.
Get the sale ads. If possible, get a physical newspaper to help you break it down–and check out the coupons that some companies still offer in print. Individuals associated with the military may be able to take advantage of additional discounts.
Build on your list. Take a look at the list of people you plan to shop for. You’ve set your budget, which means that you know how much you’re able to spend per person. Now, use that budget to make a list of what you want to buy for each person for the holidays.
Don’t go over your budget per person. Yes, your dad would absolutely love that grill, and that sweater is perfect for your mom; but if it forces you to go over your budget, it’s not worth the purchase.
Avoid impulse buys. You’ve made your list. You’ve checked it twice. When you start shopping, stick to it! Avoid snagging impulse buys that don’t fit either your budget or your plan this holiday season.
Do your research. Once you’ve made your list, take a look at the items that are on sale. Then, compare to the regular cost of those items the rest of the year. Often, Black Friday promotions are marked to look fantastic, but the truth is, they aren’t so different from the prices you’d really pay off season.
If you found a better deal, be thankful. You found that flannel shirt you wanted for your uncle for $10, when you thought you’d have to spend $15. You found a coupon for the necklace you wanted for your mom, which made it $25 dollars cheaper. You may be tempted to spend that money you saved on the person it was originally intended for, but if your budget is especially tight, appreciate the blessing for what it’s worth and move on to the next person on your list.
Plan for last-minute gifts. As part of your holiday shopping list, consider whether you might be unexpectedly invited to a holiday party or asked to participate in a gift exchange at work. By budgeting for a few items ahead of time for those last-minute gifts, you’ll be prepared on a budget!
Check out gift cards. Many stores and restaurants offer great deals on gift cards this time of year, from an extra $5-10 when you buy a gift card to providing discount coupons. Check the restrictions on those deals. In some cases, you may be able to use the freebies immediately, saving you more money on your holiday shopping.
Are you struggling with your finances this year, in desperate need of good deals to help make Christmas possible for your family? Are you pretty sure you’re doing well, but want to know how you can do better? At Marine Federal Credit Union, we offer a free financial checkup that will help you find ways to lower monthly payments, save money, and make wiser investments. Check it out today.
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