Black Friday is just around the corner. Everywhere you turn, you’re bombarded with another ad . It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hype and go overboard, spending more than you planned. To keep you on track with your financial goals, we’d like to share some Black Friday shopping tips that stores don’t want you to know, and some secrets to keep your spending in check.
Retailers create a sense of urgency advertising their “one day, rock bottom discounts” to get you to make more impulse buys. Shoppers find an item they like, think, “I’ll never find it this cheap again!” even though they may not have planned on buying it when they walked into the store. It’s common to justify additional, unplanned purchases by considering the discounts on other items. “Since I’m saving 50% on that TV, I could put the money I saved toward something else that’s a great deal.” To prevent falling into this trap, browse ads before you go shopping so you know what’s on sale. Make a list and buy only those items. Chances are, you WILL find the other items discounted again when you are ready to buy them.
Retailers will try to entice you to spend more with free gifts, which work like a discount to them. Giving away a $20 item for free is the same as a $20 discount – but to the consumer, it looks like a much better value. Here’s a secret you may not know: in many cases, the price of the “freebie” you are enjoying is baked into the price of the item you buy. Pay attention to fine print and know what your items are really worth. Similarly, free samples (of make up, baked goods, anything) can lead you to make more impulse buys – so take the sample but stick to your list!
While some items are deeply discounted on Black Friday, they’re often not the highest quality items. Stores may drastically mark down off-brand electronics because they know people will still pay top dollar for name-brands. You could get a great deal, and end up with a lesser-quality TV. If you have to replace it or repair it after two years, was it really worth the discount? Retailers will still discount name-brand items but these are usually doorbusters, which means they offer limited quantities – so unless you’ve been in line for hours or days, the odds of you getting that item are slim.
The same items people camped out in the cold waiting for deals on will be available online at many retailers’ websites. Why spend your time in line, miss Thanksgiving dinner, and deal with those crowds when you could just log onto the store’s website from your couch and get the same deal shipped to you? You’ll have better luck scoring big-ticket items this way. Also, remember that you will be less likely to give in to impulse buys when purchasing online than you would if you are staring them in the face at Target.
Retailers will frequently offer an extra discount when you sign up for their credit card. It’s important to understand that store cards are almost always more expensive in the long run than bank issued credit cards. With higher interest rates and less options that benefit your bottom line, that extra 10% off might not be worth it when you read the fine print.
Many non-limited quantity items will be cheaper closer to Christmas as retailers try to unload the remaining inventory. Things like clothing, handbags, and jewelry usually end up being discounted for 10-15% less than their Black Friday prices if you wait until closer to Christmas. And many items are cheaper AFTER Christmas, like home goods and cookware. This is a great time to plan ahead for next year’s shopping.
The most important thing to do is to make a holiday spending plan and stick to it. You can enjoy the holiday season without overspending that leaves you with regret in the new year.
The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out, and stay out of debt. For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. empowers people to overcome their financial challenges and lead financially-healthy lives.
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