Black Friday is right around the corner, which means the holiday shopping season is almost here. But for many people, shopping can be both emotionally and financially stressful. Purchases add up quickly, and a lack of planning can cause financial strain. Here are some ways to avoid overspending and enjoy a financially stress-free holiday season.
Make a list, check it twice. There’s no quicker way to bust a budget than with impulse shopping – especially on Black Friday. That’s why so many consumers end up paying off holiday purchases well into spring. To avoid being saddled with unpaid bills, here are some easy actions you can take:
- Make a list of everything you’d like to buy for yourself and others
- Note the maximum amount you’d spend on each line item, but be realistic and reasonable
- Stick to your plan—if it’s not on the list, don’t put it in your cart
Start saving now. It’s fine to use a credit card for last-minute purchases you know you can cover, but there’s still plenty of time to save for gift giving and party planning. By saving now, you can spread your budget over the next few paychecks. This will keep your spending even – and keep your list on track. You’ll be glad you did when your January statements arrive without any surprises.
Shop online and in-store. Black Friday shopping can be overwhelming, but there’s a lot you can do to mitigate some of the craziness. Here are some tips to make shopping smoother online and off:
- Compare online and in-store prices to find the best deals
- Sign up at BlackFriday.com for previews of Black Friday deals
- Check your favorite online retailer for free shipping on purchases made on December 18
- Buy 2-3 items each week to avoid feeling overwhelmed by long lines or online shopping fatigue
- Search Twitter and search engines for your product and the word “deal”
- Prioritize your list by identifying items that find more budget-friendly replacements for or cross off your list entirely
The best way to avoid financial hardship is to budget accordingly. Keep these tips mind and you can enjoy restful and financially fit holidays.
Have you mastered the art of Black Friday shopping? Share your tips with us in the comments.
Holiday shopping dates to look for
- November 29: Black Friday
- November 30: Small Business Saturday
- December 2: Cyber Monday
- December 18: Free Shipping Day
- December 26: Biggest return day