It’s that time of the year where we shop till we drop. Every shop has a deal every vendor has a sale. Unfortunately retailers know that shoppers are primed to spend, and will do whatever they can to take make sure you overspend. Flashy marketing campaigns and discount prices can be enough to seduce even the most prudent of shoppers to splurge on items they don’t need. It is a difficult time for those of us with strict budgets. However, here are a few tips that help me not break my bank on black Friday
I cannot emphasize this enough. The most important way to ensure that you’re taking full advantage of the discounts and sales is to plan ahead. Be strategic about your Black Friday purchases and make a list of the things you need to buy. Take note: the things you need, not want and make sure that you work out a specific budget for those things. This means you will need a comprehensive written down list of items you need and the maximum amount you are willing to spend on each one of them before you even set your foot in a store, or open any online store page. This will keep you from overspending on random items just because they’re on sale or seem heavily discounted. Remember, no matter how good the deal is, it’s not saving money if it’s something you don’t need.
Always do your research and do it well in advance. Sales and discounts will be advertised well before black Friday. Look into the fine print for things like early-bird specials, whether they have limited quantities, what is the minimum quantity you can buy, sale restrictions, extended store hours etc. You might miss out on something or end up overspending if you don’t do your research into the nitty-gritty details.
Secondly you need to ascertain whether the discounts are really a deal. Some stores will just reduce a wildly inflated price to something approaching fair market value. Some stores have pre-holiday price spikes and reduce prices to normal prices on black Friday. It’s important to remember the mail goal for retailers’ with all those sales and discount is to make money and lots of it and have mastered the buyer psychology. So do your research well to avoid falling for fake sales masquerading as deals. Compare discounts on similar items from different stores or brands or run your purchase for things like flights through comparison websites to make sure you’re finding the lowest price.
Understand Hidden Costs
The biggest mistakes most of us do, is to focus on the sales/discount and forget all the other aspects of the purchase. You need to understand all other hidden costs not shown in the sale that may make your purchase expensive. E.g. if you are buying a bulky object, will the store cater for delivery or will you be forced to pay for transport? If you are shopping online, have you added the shipping costs and taxes to see whether the item truly has a discount?
Don’t do It Alone
You’re are going to be bombarded with shopping temptations hence you need accountability to stick to your list ad budget. Find someone you trust to go shopping with. Find an accountability partner who will remind you to stick to your list throughout the shopping spree. There is a 80% chance you will over spend if you do it alone. Trust me, shopping teamwork makes the budgeting dream work!
Have a Game Plan.
Now that you’ve set a budget, done your research, and have an accountability partner, now plan your route! Especially for those shopping physically, know which store should you go to first, second, third and so on? Check store hours, and don’t forget about traffic. Plan for other aspects such as hunger so you aren’t tempted to hit a drive-thru from all that bargain-bagging or taking expensive uber rides because you are overly tired. Remember that the sales often go far beyond Black Friday and you don’t have to buy everything on that one day.
If you do it right, you can save big!