Although hard to believe, another Black Friday is almost here. Shopping the day after Thanksgiving can save conscious consumers all kinds of money but also has the power to derail a holiday budget or even worse, send people into debt. In order to avoid that latter, it’s important to have a Black Friday shopping checklist in place before spending a dime.
Missing Black Friday Isn’t the End of the World
Black Friday is not the end all be all when it comes to bargains. In fact, many door busters have very limited quantities. Unless you’re willing stay up late or get up obscenely early to fight the crowds, you could miss out on some of the bigger advertised deals. Don’t fret. There are usually other deals available. Being able to shop on your own terms is sometimes worth more than saving a few bucks.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping have gotten kind of crazy over the past few years. I’m kind of happy that some stores are bucking the trend and staying closed with REI even shunning Black Friday altogether. If you do decide to venture out on Friday, it’s important to be prepared.
Make a List
Lists aren’t just for Santa. Make sure to have a list of items you need or want to buy this holiday season. Going through the process of writing out your wants also allows you to consider whether this is a good time to buy or not. Shopping solely because things are on sale is a great way to overspend.
After you know what you’re looking for, compare sale prices at various retailers in store and online. If your holiday must will be part of a door buster sale, make sure to note the times and decide if it’s worth standing in line.
It might even make sense to go out and view the item before you intend to buy. I love being able to shop online, but sometimes you need to see and feel the thing you want to buy. Black Friday is probably not the best time for this.
Look For Coupons, Rebates, and Stackable Deals
Once you know what you want to buy and where the best prices are, look for coupons, rebates, or cash back. Some stores are already offering Black Friday prices. Sadly, our refrigerator died a few weeks ago, and we had to seek a replacement. Lowe’s, Sears, and Home Depot were already offering appliances at 40% off but that wasn’t the end our savings.
Instead of buying from the store, we used a credit card that gives 5x points at office supply stores. Obviously, you can’t buy refrigerators at the office store, but you can buy Lowe’s gift cards. Then, we went through the Giving Assistant portal, which was offering 4% cash back for purchases at Lowe’s. By using these two steps, we were able to gain 7,500 points, worth at least $75, and receive an additional 4% off on top of the sale price.
I didn’t know that Black Friday was as big in Canada as some have told me. I heard Old Navy Canada has been putting on some good sales and they have some excellent coupons.
It takes a few extra steps, but if you are willing to put in the time, it’s almost impossible not to find some money saving coupon or get cash back on purchases.
I realize there are some people who enjoy the sport of Black Friday. Maybe you don’t need anything specific and don’t want to spend hours doing research but still want to go out looking for deals. Shopping or window shopping can be a form of entertainment. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that unless you don’t have limits in place.
Have a set amount of money set aside to spend before shopping commences. If you have been irresponsible in the past, then bring a buddy who can reign in your spending or use cash or gift cards. Once they money is gone, you’re done. Don’t take a credit or ATM card if you might be tempted to break the budget.
Always remember to think about money spent rather than money saved. Even if you get 75% off on something you didn’t need, you’ve wasted the other 25%.
We’ll be in Mexico this year for the week of Thanksgiving and I’m pretty sure there’s no Black Friday shopping from the beach!
Are you going out for Black Friday? Do you think the best deals can be had by shopping on Friday?