Personal Finance: 9 sure ways to save money on Black Friday (or not spend too much)

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Black Friday is not a ‘regular’ thing for many countries, but, weird enough, some have ‘imported’ it, too. Even here in Romania some big stores have this event and more start adopting it as years go by.

For many people this is the right moment to get some good deals, while for others Black Friday just means buying all kinds of stuff just because it’s discounted, so a huge blow in their family budget and a clear setback in saving money or paying off debt.

Since there is not much time until the big event, I have started thinking about how to minimize the ‘losses’ and still get the most of the Black Friday sales. Please feel free to chime in and add your own advice/ideas.black-friday

1. Just ignore the event

I know I started a bit too ‘strong’, but, if you don’t really need anything really badly, why not just mind your own business? We’re probably gonna go this route, since we had already spent serious money in preparing for our child to be born and have most of the stuff already at home or on its way to us. We also want to save more aggressively for the birth and the ‘aftermath’ (having a small baby won’t  be too cheap anyway), not to mention that we don’t really feel like we NEED to purchase anything. Sure, we could change our laptops or gadgets, maybe get a new stove, but these are not needed right now. So, discounted or not, having to pay for them would mean we’re ‘losing’ money. The best way to save our money, will be to just let the event pass.

2. Make a CLEAR LIST of what’s needed

OK, so you’re not gonna sit around and not take advantage of the Black Friday sales. If you have taken a cold hard look at your life / possessions / family and noticed there are things you need now, then looking for discounts will be a great idea to purchase the much needed items and save some money in the process. What you need to do now is to write your list. Buying yet another digital camera or 4 more USB drives might seem like a good idea (they’re cheaper, right?), but do focus on those items you really have to buy now. Just the fact an useless item (to your right now) is discounted, still means you’ll lose money by buying it.

3. And now our beloved budget

Just like in everything you do, the budget is the key to really control your spending and also being accountable for everything that costs you money. Why would the Black Friday shopping be any different? Create a budget for this and make sure you’re abiding by it (why have a budget if you ignore it?). Based on your items list and needs, think about how much money you’re comfortable to spend and go prepared. Ideally this time of the year should not put a damper to your debt payment / savings, so don’t feel obligated to ‘go big’ just because all the others are doing it.

4. SAVE money for this event

It’s not like Black Friday happens at different times each year, so you can’t be prepared. Just like when it comes to saving money for the Christmas shopping, this is an event you know about months ahead, so you can plan accordingly. Don’t expect a the tooth fairy or any other ‘entity’ like this to fill your wallet with money for the shopping, save money ahead of time, so that your budget is relying on money you already own, not on future debt. It’s not that difficult to save a little each month and this will allow you to still get the items you had in mind, while not breaking the bank.

5. Pay cash or use your credit card WITH CARE

The main idea is to try not get into (more) debt these days. Know exactly how much money you have in your bank account and don’t go overboard. Carry cash, if it’s easier for you to curb your expenses, do anything that works for you so that you’re not leaving the store with junk you haven’t planned / budgeted for and in debt. This is where saving money in advance, carefully planning your list of items and budgeting come into place. An unprepared customer is a sure ‘victim’, don’t be one.

6. Make it a rule: don’t go into debt!

Unless the items on your list are vital (new clothing or a TV set are not something your life depends on), there’s absolutely no reason for you to get into debt over them. If you’re already debt free, I assume you don’t wish to get back into the ‘red’, if you are paying off various loans, new debt wouldn’t make your life easier. Even if you’re paying with a credit card (to reap all kinds of rewards), don’t spend more than you have with the promise ‘I’ll pay in few weeks’. Many families are deep in credit card debt because that ‘few weeks’ never happened. So play it safe.

7. Study the prices days/weeks ahead

Now that you know exactly what you wish to buy, start studying the prices for the items, so that you can make the BEST choice when it comes to buying it. Here in Romania some big stores use a pretty sneaky strategy to fool people into thinking the items are on sale: they increase the prices few weeks before and then, when the Black Friday event starts, they drop the prices to the old values (or a little discount compared to how it normally costs). Don’t know if the US stores are doing this, but, whatever the case, knowing well ahead how much the items cost and how much of a REAL discount you’re getting, can help you make an informed decision.

8. Be calm when making the purchases and take your time

Don’t go nuts over the items and don’t lose your cool. If you’re nervous or excited you’ll probably make mistakes. You are now on a ‘mission’ and should also enjoy the event. Don’t let stress come between you and a nice shopping experience.

9. Don’t feel you need to keep up with the Joneses

I know there is a HUGE marketing ‘offensive’ on all media outlets about the Black Friday sales. You’re getting bombarded with potential deals, you’re told how cool this entire thing is and how amazing your holidays will be just because you’ll go and spend money left and right. Not to mention your friends and family are probably all getting ready for the big deals and would  probably be shocked to find out you’re not losing your breath over this.

Just as I mentioned before, we’re gonna probably stay away from the entire event, unless we really come close to a great deal for something we’ll need for the baby. Sure, it’s not quite a popular stance, now that even in this part of the world the ‘cool’ people are getting ready to buy stuff. We’ll probably have some people roll their eyes if they find out we’re ‘missing’ on this amazing event. What matters at the end of the day is how YOU feel about it and your own financial security. We never bothered with what others have to say and in most cases we did well.

So … What other ways do you know to save money on this upcoming Black Friday? Will you buy a lot of stuff?

19 COMMENTS

  1. I love this list! For years, my mom and I have gone Black Friday shopping and ended up with so much christams “stuff” but very little of what we really needed. So we still ended up shopping for christmas gifts later! Such a waste of both time and money. I might try to just ignore Black Friday this year but I’ve had success with shopping online at Amazon.com for what I need.

  2. Great list!! I pretty much just go with #1 all the time, since I don’t like crowds and spending time with family. It’s disheartening that some stores are making EE’s come in on the actual Thanksgiving day itself – where are our priorities.

  3. Great list. In Canada, we have Boxing Day which occurs right after Christmas. I try to avoid it most years because 1) I don’t like waiting in line to make a purchase, 2) I don’t need anything and 3) I impulse buy when I see sales and totally ignore tip #8.

    • I have to admit that, if I was to be in the stores at such a time, I’d clearly find a ‘need’, when seeing the prices. So I better stay away 😀

  4. I just ignore black Friday. I don’t like the traffic and crowds, and I just end up spending money I would much rather put in my investment or retirement accounts. I have considered it for Christmas gifts but usually I like to make my own gifts.

    • There are deals all through the year, I’d say. Sure, you can find some amazing discounts during BF, but they’re gonna be worth the hassle only if you planned on buying said items.

  5. This year we need to make some purchases for the house and Black Friday might be just what we needed. We’re already planning to create the list with what we need, a maximum amount that we’re willing to pay and hopefully we’ll find some sweet deals and save money. But good tip with the price studying – we wouldn’t want to hurry for a “deal” that isn’t really helping us save money 🙂

    • You need to be careful here with the prices. It’s already known some stores are inflating the prices before the event and then ‘discount’ it. So start tracking the prices now 🙂

  6. […] for ways to save a little cash? Ramona from Dojo provides tips for the upcoming Black Friday. I will be avoiding the sales […]

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