It’s Thanksgiving week… which means we’re just a few days away from Black Friday. Sure, you can get some great deals on some of those items you have planned for Christmas – but it’s also one of the biggest factors contributing to the debt load of many American families.
Everything about Black Friday is designed to get you to spend more money. The hype for the shopping holiday now starts an entire month before Thanksgiving, and stores now commonly leak their specials several weeks before the actual event.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement – but it’s important to plan ahead so that you’re not adding debt that you can’t afford to pay off. The following steps will help your wallet (and your sanity) survive Black Friday:
Set a strict budget
Take a look at your monthly budget and holiday slush fund. If you’ve followed some of our recent tips, you’ve already got money set aside for the holidays, but if not, you should be able to figure out what you can afford to spend. Set a hard limit – if you know your budget and stick to it, you won’t get caught up in the hype for the surprise doorbuster deal (for something that you don’t really need).
Make a detailed list
Now that you’ve got a budget, plan out exactly who you’re buying gifts for. If you have a specific list in hand when you start your shopping mission, you’ll be able to avoid picking up extra items you didn’t plan for.
Compare in-store deals to online specials
Nearly every retailer now offers the exact same Black Friday deals online that are offered in person at the store. It’s much easier to avoid the rush and the hype if you’re sitting on your couch at home – and you’ll find it’s MUCH easier to stick to your list and budget. Skip the insanity of in-store shopping and grab your deals from the comfort of home.
Even though Black Friday is known for incredible deals, recent research has shown that you can find even better prices on certain types of items on other days during the holiday season. If you’ve done your homework, you might be able to find even better deals for many of the items on your list.
According to data from Adobe Marketing Cloud, the largest single-day price drop on toys happens the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday always tends to have deeper discounts as well.
For tech deals, the Monday before Thanksgiving tends to have the best discounts, and you won’t run into the same inventory shortages you’ll see on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
For clothes, the best discounts (up to 45%) happen the week before and the week after Christmas. The best time to buy a winter coat is the week after Christmas, with discounts as low as 70% off.