If you’re gearing up for some heavy-duty Black Friday shopping, you’re not alone. Nearly half of consumers in a new survey say they plan to do their holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to a recent report from the Deloitte Center for Industry Insights.
With the burden of inflation on the minds of most consumers, we’re all on the lookout for deals on holiday gifts and maybe even a few items for ourselves. But Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending can spiral out of control fast if you don’t apply at least a few checks and balances towards your Black Friday shopping plans.
To avoid racking up more credit card debt and/or blowing through your savings, try these nine tips.
1. Make a list
Just like making a grocery list helps you save money at the grocery store, making a list of the items you plan to shop for on Black Friday can keep you from getting off track with all the great deals and discounts available. Take time before Black Friday to write up a gift list for friends and family. Then commit to sticking to the list and avoiding impulse purchases.
2. Research prices before the big day
There are a couple of advantages to doing some research before pulling out the credit card on Black Friday. For one thing, you’ll be able to compare prices between different retailers.
Doing research in advance also allows you to find one-day sales or other deals that could actually beat some of those Black Friday prices.
3. Set a spending limit
If you don’t already have a holiday gift budget drawn up, now is the time to create one to avoid holiday overspending. But you should also set a limit on how much you can spend on Black Friday.
For example, if you plan to do the bulk of your holiday shopping on Black Friday, setting a limit of $500 and sticking to it can keep you from charging too much on a credit card when you’re on a shopping roll.
4. Set a time limit, too
There’s nothing like a full day of in-person shopping to rack up astronomical credit card debt fueled by holiday music, glitzy advertising, and strategically placed aisle, end cap, and cash register products.
Before you head to the stores, set a time limit of just a few hours. That way, you have a better chance of restricting purchases to only what’s on your list. The same goes for shopping online, where it’s even easier to get carried away with credit card purchases that will haunt you come January.
5. Use credit card rewards
If you’ve racked up cash-back rewards on your credit cards, use those cards to purchase Black Friday items. That way, you can apply the cash-back rewards to the next credit card payment. Or, if you don’t have any credit card rewards but you have a credit card with a generous rewards program, use that card for Black Friday shopping and apply rewards to the next statement.
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6. Make a pact with a shopping buddy
Worried that your willpower will fly out the window as soon as you open your laptop or elbow your way through the front door of Best Buy on Friday morning? Ask a friend to hold you accountable for sticking with your budget on Black Friday and offer to do the same for them.
7. Don’t let shopping for yourself get out of hand
I’ve gotten some of my best deals on shoes, clothing, and electronics on Black Friday. You can also use this day of deals and discounts to make purchases on items that you need. However, it’s easy to get carried away and also purchase plenty of things you don’t need just because they’re on sale.
8. Watch for gift card deals
Be on the lookout for offers of retailer gift cards or discounts on gift cards that come with a certain amount of purchases. That way, you can use those cards to make more gift purchases or give the cards as gifts.
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9. Don’t forget to price match
When shopping in person, it’s easy to get so swept up in all those lucrative prices that you forget to compare the price with what the retailer lists on its website. Since many retailers offer price matching to their online prices, make sure you check the online price before you buy.
In fact, if you make a price-matching checklist part of your regular shopping routine, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at how much money you can save all year long.