Stay on Budget This Black Friday
For the deal-seekers, the day after Thanksgiving is more than just a day for relaxing and digesting that turkey dinner. It is Black Friday, the widely publicized start of the holiday shopping season event during which retailers offer low prices on everything from electronics to toys to jewelry. In recent years, as retailers have struggled in the dismal economy, Black Friday has become increasingly competitive. Now stores open in the early morning hours, if not on Thanksgiving itself, and the deals to be had are even better. However, financial experts are warning that Black Friday prices make it easy for shoppers to spend more than they can afford, potentially leading to debt, bankruptcy, and similar financial consequences.
Here are a few tips to avoid overspending this holiday season:
- Budget: Set up a spending budget and write it down. Bring it with you as you shop to avoid impulse purchases.
- Plan ahead: Write down the names of all of the people and organizations for whom you plan to purchase gifts, as well as how much you are able to spend for each person. Carry this list with your master budget.
- Use credit cards strategically: Choose one or two credit cards with a low interest rate or that earn you reward points or airline miles, and shop exclusively with those few cards. Try to pay off bills as soon as you make purchases to avoid accruing interest and credit card debt. If possible, shop with a debit card so the amounts spent are deducted from your checking account right away, avoiding credit card bills with interest and possible late fees.
- Look into layaway: An increasing number of retailers are offering layaway plans in light of the economy. Be sure that such plans do not include interest or fees before you sign up for one.
Planning is the name of the game when it comes to smart holiday shopping. If you know what you are looking for and how much you can spend, you will have a happy, debt-free holiday season!
Source: Conntact.com, “Citizens Bank offers holiday shopping tips”