We are a week away from the biggest, badest holiday shopping day of the year: Black Friday.
It’s also the day we are most likely to blow our Black Friday budget way off the holiday richter scale- leaving us to scramble later to pay the bills.
- Leave your credit cards at home and use cash. Scour the ads, determine what “must have” items you must have, then do the math. Add up the cost (assuming that you will be able to purchase all the items on your list) and add 10% for tax and overage. Take the appropriate amount of cash with you and leave your credit cards at home to avoid the temptation of over-spending.
- Take snacks! Trust me, after getting up at 5 a.m. and shopping for hours, you will be hungry and very tempted to buy impulse purchases, such as candy bars, chips, and water bottles while you shop. Avoid this cash-draining catch by carrying a cooler with drinks in your car and a stash of snacks (such as peanuts and granola bars) in your car and purse.
- Organize your coupons. If you plan to use them, sort them into envelopes with the store name clearly marked on the outside. It is easy to misplace a coupon during the frenzy- organizing them ahead of time will ensure you don’t miss out on your savings.
- Make a shopping list. It’s easier to stick to purchases when you are checking them off a list. Try to make your list in logical order of where the items are located in the store, too, and you will not only save yourself a lot of steps, you’ll be less tempted to grab impulse items in areas you should have skipped.
- Take a like-minded friend. Have a friend who is on a tight budget? Buddy up as shopping pals. Agree ahead of time to help each other out. It’s easier to say “no” to an item when your friend is encouraging you to.
- Time yourself. Give yourself an allotted amount of time to spend in each store. Set the alarm on your cell phone or watch and then promptly head to the cashier when it goes off. You’ll save yourself a lot of browsing time that could lead to financial disaster!
- Take your gift list. Make a list of those you are shopping for and each time you make a purchase, notate it. It’s easy to buy extra gifts when you don’t realize what you already have purchased for that special someone. If you have it listed, you’ll be less tempted to get more.
- Watch the scanners. Often on big sale days, items do not ring up correctly. Pay close attention to the scanner as the sales clerk is ringing up your purchases and have them fix errors on the spot. It’s more difficult to have them fixed after the receipt prints and you may be tempted to dismiss a few dollars verses standing in a long customer service line.
Above all, have fun, enjoy the madness, and remember that one day of bargain fun is not worth a season of stressing over how to make ends meet.