Black Friday can be a fun time to shop and save, but today, when many stores are running sales all month long and into December, it can be a little more challenging to stick to a budget. Here are some tips for shopping smart on Black Friday.
Black Friday Shopping Tip #1: Make a Budget
How much do you want to spend?
The holidays aren’t just about shopping, but set one foot in a retail store (or look at your email inbox) and it can seem like they are. How do you avoid the urge to spend, spend, spend?
As part of your overall holiday budget, include Black Friday spending if you plan to shop the sales.
To do this:
Set expectations—yours and theirs.
If you have recently retired or downsized and have a lower income, you may have a lower gift budget this year. Consider talking to your family and friends to let them know you won’t be spending as much as you did in years past. Sometimes setting the expectation with the gift recipients gives you as much mental calm as setting the expectation with yourself.
Set a limit.
Figure out how much you are able and willing to spend for Black Friday sales, and plan to shop with cash for anything you won’t be buying online. (This can be really helpful for any shopping day, not just Black Friday!) Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale.
Figure out what gifts will be on sale.
Make a list of people you’ll be buying for and gifts that are likely to be on sale during Black Friday. Tech gadgets and kitchen appliances tend to be the most discounted (although it varies per store, of course).
If you find that none of the gifts on your list will have any deep discounts, it may not be worth it to wait for Black Friday at all; you may just want to take advantage of some of the monthly sales that are becoming more common in November and December.
Black Friday Shopping Tip #2: Plan Where You’ll Shop (and When)
Where do you want to shop?
Your Black Friday shopping plan should include where and when to shop, both physically and virtually. Online shopping or curbside pickup may be a good option for some people.
Your plan should also take into consideration:
Other sale dates.
Will items be on sale during Cyber Monday or another time after Black Friday? Many stores are running various sales throughout the entire month of November, so you may be able to snag some items before the big day. You may want to set an alarm or reminder, or mark your calendar, if there are certain deals you don’t want to miss.
Price compare before you decide where to buy certain items, especially tech items, tools, or kitchen appliances.
Black Friday Shopping Tip #3: Get Creative with Where You Shop
Are you willing to go beyond retail?
Department stores and retailers aren’t the only way to shop Black Friday! In fact, if you think outside the box you can save even more.
For example, you can shop the CTBIDS site, where we auction items from downsizing and estate sales. From antique furniture to jewelry to cookware, you can find all kinds of items for the people on your list. It’s a fun way to shop and you set your own price range, so you don’t have to make any bids outside your budget. You can even sell your old items on the website to earn some extra cash or do a little decluttering before the holidays.
You can also go to local thrift stores, which may be running Black Friday sales in addition to their already-discounted prices.
As an additional perk, both of these alternate shopping options encourage less consumerism and are better for the environment.
Black Friday Shopping Tip #4: Stay Motivated
Are you worried you’ll spend too much?
A plan is your first defense against overspending during the sale. But we all know how enticing retailers can make it to keep shopping even when you’ve found everything on your list.
If you’re out shopping and find it difficult to stick to your list, leave the store for several minutes and come back in with a renewed sense of resolve. Or allow yourself to buy one or two items on the list (or spend a certain amount of money on ‘extras’) so that you have some flexibility without spending too much.
Some people find it helpful to put impulse buy items in their cart and then put them back before checking out. It helps them to move past the initial mental block and have some closure about proceeding to buy the items they meant to buy.
Another activity that can help is to intentionally enjoy the experience of shopping. Rather than focusing on what you’re buying, focus on who you’re buying for and the people you are shopping with. Look forward to a wrapping party afterwards where you watch some favorite holiday movies and eat cookies.
Keeping your mind occupied can help you avoid overspending and focus on the people and experiences you love.
Do you have furniture, collections, dishware, or other unique items that could use a new home? Learn more about selling on our CTBIDS site.