The biggest shopping weekend of the year is the last weekend of November, right after Thanksgiving, and it goes all the way from the Friday, commonly known as Black Friday, to what is now called Cyber Monday due to the prevalence of online deals that retailers make available the Monday after thanksgiving to extend the shopping weekend.
Where did Black Friday come from?
Historically, black Friday was created as a day in which retailers who were in the red financially attempted to get their financials into the positive (the black) by offering special sales, discounts and offers to increase their revenue and in turn their profits.
This weekend is all about big sales and discounts from various retailers to incentivize people to spend as much money as possible and it works because Black Friday is when people start shopping for the end of the year holidays and the bulk of that shopping is for Christmas/ holiday gifts.
On the flip side, it is also notoriously a time when people rack up tons of debt buying gifts for their loved ones but once the new year rolls by and those credit card bills arrive and it's time to open them up....well, it sucks.
All of that being said, here are some tips to ensure you don't derail your finances or financial goals this Black Friday weekend.
1. Don't Shop the Sales.....At All
Yup, I said it! A lot of times the best sales are not even during Black Friday it's just that every single retailer is on sale and so people assume the sales are the best ones. So how about skipping the sales and shopping the January sales instead? or not even shopping at all? Not only will you keep more money in your pocket, your financial goals will stay intact. Don't hate me but this is a pretty solid suggestion.
2. Make a list, go early
It's essential you have an idea of what you are buying and who you are shopping for during the sales so you don't get carried away / overspend. Sales don't save you any money if you are spending more on sale items than you would if you had just purchased a few full price items. Start by making a list of all the things you'd like to buy and a plan of what stores you'll be going to and at what time.
Timing matters because you don't want to get caught up in the crowds, you don't want the items you want to buy to sell out AND you want to make sure you catch any early bird sale specials the retailers you are interested in might offer.
3. Save yourself the time and hassle and shop online
You can also avoid the shops altogether and shop online instead. A lot of deals can be found online as retailers tend to offer similar sales in their online shops in comparison to the sales going on in their their physical shops. Also around this time of year, most shops tend to offer discounted or free expedited shipping as an added incentive.
4. Create your own "out of the red, into the black" plan
If the retailers are focusing on their finances why shouldn't you? You can spend this weekend creating your debt repayment plan, mapping out your retirement savings plans, determining your emergency fund amount and creating a plan to save for it.
You can totally get through the holiday sales season with some great bargains without impacting your finances but in order to do this, you need to have a plan in place.
Are you shopping black Friday or skipping it? Share your plans in the comments below!