Black Friday can be a great day for your finances or it can set you back tremendously. The path you take and how well you control your emotions on this day, is entirely up to you. You can come out as a financial winner, gaining all of what you need at deeply discounted prices, or a financial loser, falling deeply in debt and spending all of 2017 paying for those deals you got. In order to become the victor, the following six tips will help you take control of your Black Friday spending.
1. Make Sure You Can Afford It
There are many people who are living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to pay their basic necessities comfortably, but still figure out a way to go shopping on Black Friday. Don’t! If you’re going shopping on Black Friday, please make sure that you are not behind on any bills and you are not using your credit cards to finance your splurging.
2. Have a Plan, Use a List
Now that you know that you can afford to spend on Black Friday, it is important that you go into the day with a plan of what you are going to buy. What do you need? What do you really want? Write them down so you know what you are aiming for. Black Friday will have many deals, including that 75% off of _______________ (insert the name of something you’ll probably never use), but the key is to stick to your list. The list is key because any money spent on something you didn’t really want or need becomes money wasted no matter how much you think you’re saving.
3. Set a Hard Budget
Before you even begin shopping, figure out a set amount that you can spend and stick to that amount no matter what—no ifs, ands or buts! Setting a budget will help you avoid going into debt on Black Friday.
4. Use Cash
Similar to how the envelope system helped many people stick to budgets in the past, using cash for your Black Friday shopping will aid you in keeping tabs on your spending and not go over your limit.
5. Leave Credit and Debit Cards Home
As we discussed in # 1, you have to make sure you can afford what you are spending on Black Friday. But despite your preparation, there will be many tempting deals that may cause you to go temporarily insane, which can be dangerous when you have access to money at your fingertips via your debit and credit cards. Keeping your cards at home removes your ability to fold to temptations.
6. Control Your Emotions
Shopping, especially on Black Friday, is psychological warfare! You are literally in a battle between you and your pockets vs. retailers and marketers. In fact, the reason why Black Friday is called Black Friday is because this is the day consumers (you) help retailers (them) get in the “black,” which in accountant terms means profitable. See, they aren’t even hiding the fact that they are using you for their gain. And the reason they don’t have to hide it is because they get you to buy by appealing to your emotions. They know that many can’t resist deep discounts, which is why you MUST be psychologically ready to say “no” and close a blind eye to what is not on your list, what you can’t afford, and what you can’t buy with cash!
Follow these six tips and you will become the undisputed champion of Black Friday! Discounts are good, but only when they are related to things that you would’ve spent money on anyway! Stay in control, your pockets will thank you.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of BankMobile. The blogs are intended as general financial knowledge that may or may not be applicable to your individual needs. Always contact your accountant for tax advice.
All company/product/service mentions in this post are not intended as an endorsement and the views of that company do not represent the views of BankMobile or Customers Bank.