Take these steps to prevent blowing your holiday budget on Black Friday sales.

3 minute read

In 2021, consumers plan to spend nearly $1,000 ($997) on gifts and other holiday-related purchases this holiday season, according to the National Retail Foundation (NRF). Many people consider Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the ideal time to kick off their holiday shopping since most big retailers slash prices on expensive items for that day.

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get carried away and spend too much on Black Friday. After all, how can you pass up saving $200 on a new laptop or another device for your kid, or a new television for your household? And if you shop in the store rather than online, it’s almost impossible to not be tempted by fantastic deals on nearly every aisle and end cap.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t shop on Black Friday, though. If you plan ahead, you can save big without overspending and racking up debt you’ll have to pay off later.

Here are seven tips for curtailing spending on Black Friday so all those good deals don’t turn into a financial burden in 2022.

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1. Create a budget for holiday shopping

If you go into holiday shopping mode with no budget to rein in spending, you could end up racking up way too much credit card debt. Before you go online or head to a Black Friday sale, set a shopping budget amount for Black Friday (and the entire holiday season) that you can afford, preferably one that you can pay off by the end of December. Then stick to it.

Find out: 7 Black Friday Shopping Scams and How to Avoid Them

2. Make a shopping list

If you get up on Black Friday and start looking at browsing sales online or in your favorite big-box store with no idea what you want, that’s a recipe for impulse buys you may regret. Instead, make a list of gifts or other purchases you have in mind before you begin your Black Friday shopping.

Find out: 5 Black Friday Alternatives to Going to the Mall

3. Do pricing research first

Hitting the stores on Black Friday without researching prices on items you want to buy can lead to overspending on seemingly great deals that aren’t nearly as discounted as they seem. Once you have your list of potential purchases, compare the cost for each item online, so you know the going price. That way, you can recognize what is or isn’t a truly good deal on Black Friday.

Find out: 6 Tips for Not Letting the Microchip Shortage Ruin Your Holiday Shopping

4. Make a pact with a friend

Nothing stops overspending on Black Friday like making a pact with a friend to stick to your shopping budgets. That way, you’ll both be accountable for how much you spend. In fact, making a pact with someone else to not overspend will also make you give more thought to Black Friday purchases so you can avoid impulse purchases.

Find out: 5 Tips for Safer, Smarter Holiday Shopping

5. Watch for free gift cards with purchases

Keep an eye out for Black Friday deals offering a free gift card with your purchase. That way, you can save money by giving the gift card to someone on your gift list. Just make sure you research the price before you buy, so you’re not paying too much, canceling out any gift card savings.

Find out: Don’t Get Tangled Up in These 4 Holiday Decorations Scams

6. Price match

Before you head to the cash register on Black Friday, check the price for the same item on the retailer’s website. You may find an even better Black Friday online price on the same item. Many retailers will match their website price if it’s lower than the price listed at the store.

By the way, you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to save big with price matching. Make a practice of always checking the price on the store’s website before you buy at the store. You may be surprised at how often the price of in-store items is lower on that retailer’s site.

Find out: Watch Out for These 4 Holiday Scams

7. Don’t wait until Black Friday

Who says you have to wait until Black Friday to snag a great deal? Sure, there are tons of bargains on Black Friday, but many retailers offer discounts all year long. Browse online, looking for sales, discounts and clearance items ahead of Black Friday. You may be surprised at the savings you can find right now.

Find out: Watch Out for Toy Scams This Holiday Season

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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