Black Friday, for some, has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition. Finish the pie, clean up the kitchen, bundle up and go camp out. Now, many stores are opening for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day, making it a 2-day “door buster.” If you plan on indulging in the deals this holiday season, here are a few tips to keep your bank account in the black.
#1: Start with a Budget
If you start by looking at all the deals, you can quickly go above what you want to spend. Remember, Black Friday isn’t the only time of year to snag a great deal. Decide early on how much you want to spend. Write it down or make a spreadsheet to hold you accountable.
#2: Go in with a Plan
The most important part of Black Friday shopping is to go in with a plan. Create yourself a list. Know exactly which items you plan to buy at what stores, and how much they will cost. Focus on the bottom line prices, not the percentage of discount. Prices can be inflated so stores can offer more of a ‘discount.’ Take time to compare prices across similar stores and look at the total savings.
#3: Befriend Google
If the idea of standing out in the cold and battling for a space in line doesn’t sound appealing, remember, retailers are offering more and more Black Friday specials online as well. Online shopping makes comparing prices easier. Keep in mind, Cyber Monday is just a few days behind Black Friday. You can avoid the crowds and enjoy shopping from the comfort of your own home or office.
#4: Use Credit
Going in with a wad of cash might help you stay more accountable to your budget, but it does little to protect you. The Washington Post’s Michelle Singletary says, “If you are going to make an expensive purchase — a new iPhone 6 or iPad, or iWhatever — it’s best to charge it. Credit cards offer a lot of consumer protections that cash does not. If a product is damaged or not delivered, you can dispute the charges and you have an ally.” (source) Just be sure to pay off your balance by the next billing cycle to avoid paying any interest!
#5: Skip It Altogether
Spending time with family, friends and loved ones is what makes the holiday season so special. We suggest taking some time to just be together and make memories. But, if anyone is going to be out on Black Friday, we might have a few items to add to the list…
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Sharkey, Howes and Javer. We are thankful for you and wish you the best of luck on your Black Friday adventures!
Please note, our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th to allow our employees time with their families.