Here we are at the start of Thanksgiving week and we only have a few days left until Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two consumer-driven ‘holidays’ that retailers look forward to every year. I’m hoping consumers will open up their wallets this year and shop until the economy improves. However, with gloomy news (fiscal cliff and Sandyrecovery) in the air, the retailers may have another subpar holiday season. Now that I don’t work full time anymore, I am even more reluctant to spend money on these popular spending holidays. While I might not want to spend any money, Black Friday is still a great time to pick up a bargain. We definitely don’t want to overspend though, especially when remembering my Epic Fail on Black Friday 2010. Here are 6 ways to save money on Black Friday.
Thanksgiving should be all about family. The best way to save money is to ignore all the hoopla surrounding Black Friday. If you have any consumer debt at all, then you should concentrate on paying it off first before spending any more money. Only buy the things that you really need to replace.
My parents are in town this year and we’ll be cooking a huge meal on Thursday. I’m not quite sure if we’ll even make it out to the stores on Black Friday. We’ll have to see how we feel on Friday morning.
Prioritize your list
Make a Black Friday list and prioritize the items on it.
Here is my initial list.
- Boxer shorts. Last week, I squatted down to pick up Baby RB40 and my boxer shorts just ripped right down the middle. This series of boxers are quite threadbare and really need replacing.
- External hard drive. I want an external hard drive so we can back up our laptop more easily. This was on my 2011 Black Friday list, but I don’t think we made it out the door last year.
- New business laptop. See the laptop shopping post from last week.
- 16GB Flash drive. If I see a deal, I’d like to buy one so my dad can take some digital pictures back home.
- Xbox 360. My Xbox broke a few months ago and I’ve been going through (game) withdrawal.
- A USB wired mouse. I have been using a wireless mouse and I hate dealing with the rechargeable battery.
We can reprioritize the list to 1) needs, 2) wait, and 3) wants.
- Needs – Boxer shorts, mouse, and external hard drive.
- Wait – We can probably wait on the laptop. If I find an deal I can’t refuse, I’ll get it, but otherwise we’ll use the old one until it stop working.
- Wants – Xbox 360 and flash drive. I don’t really have time to play games anyway. I’ll see if I can find an old thumb drive that I can give to him instead of buying a new one.
If you are a little low on cash, then just concentrate on the Needs for Black Friday. Put off the Wait and Wants for now.
Wait for Cyber Monday
Another good trick is to wait for Cyber Monday. Actually, I like Cyber Monday much more than Black Friday. I can make the purchase online without having to wake up at 3am to go wait in a line. Waiting a few days to make a purchase can also make a huge difference. I find that I change my mind and end up not purchasing the things that are low on my priority list quite often.
Impose a time limit
Some people can shop for 10 hours and feel great afterward. On the other hand, I get exhausted and cranky after a couple of hours of shopping. [Ahem: Mrs. RB40 says I get exhausted and cranky after 10 minutes of shopping.] If you are one of those marathon shoppers, then perhaps imposing a time limit can help you save money. Impose a 3 hour shopping time limit and once that’s done, it’s over. This way you can’t keep spending money and you’ll be able to pick up the highest priority items on your list.
Leave your plastic at home
Leaving your credit cards at home will help you stick to your shopping budget. It’s hard to resist great bargains and I always end up with more things in my shopping cart. One way to avoid overspending is to just bring cash. Once the cash is gone, your Black Friday shopping is done. I know that using a rewards card is a great way to get some money back or accumulate miles, but it also makes spending money too easy. People tend to spend more if they use plastic. If you only have cash, you’ll be able to stick to your list better and reduce impulse buying.
Research ads and prices
Preview Black Friday sales online and pick up a local newspaper on Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving edition will have all the door busters and last minute deals. You can also look for deals and coupons on the retailer’s Facebook page. Bring the paper when you go shopping in case you need to price match. Check price comparison sites such as PriceGrabber and Techbargain to see if that Black Friday bargain that you want is really a good deal. In my case, a 1TB external hard drive costs around $80. If I can purchase one for $60, then that would be worth the effort.
Are you planning to brave the Black Friday madness? I’m still undecided. We’ll have to see how we feel on Friday morning. If you are going out, don’t spend too much time shopping. Get it over with quickly so you can enjoy more time at home with the family. Have a great Thanksgiving!