Black Friday can be a great time to snag some awesome deals…or spend way too much money on stuff you don’t need. Here are some tips to make sure your bank account isn’t suffering by the end of the day.
It’s Not a Deal if You Weren’t Already Going to Buy it
There’s a reason this is the first tip. It is so easy to stumble across random stuff that you really don’t need when there’s a big sale going on. People have a tendency to try to justify the purchase because it’s so deeply discounted, but if you didn’t need it before you saw it then there’s a good chance it won’t make a big positive impact on your life.
Avoid Advertisements at All Costs
This is how they suck you in. Around this time of year your email inbox is FLOODED with all kinds of advertisements that act as a siren song to lure your wallet to its death. Don’t let them get you. Unsubscribe from email lists to avoid the temptation if you need to.
Beware of Bogus Markdowns
Marketing people are crafty little things. Their whole job revolves around making you paying the most possible while still making sure you’re happy with the purchase. Many times they will artificially inflate the price of something to give the illusion that the deal is better than it actually is. For example, you might see a product that is listed as originally $100 and now on sale for 50% off, but was actually selling for $55 the week prior.
Check the Quality
One of the reasons many products are so cheap during Black Friday is that companies will use cheaper materials for some products specifically for this day. Add in the discount they get from mass production (economies of scale) and their profit margins are still pretty healthy even at the lower price.
Sure, the products may be cheaper now, but you could be paying for it down the line when it breaks down prematurely. Be sure to check reviews (especially on electronics) if they’re out there.
Better Deals Later
I know Black Friday is usually advertised as the best time all year to get deals, but that’s definitely not always the case. Cyber Monday sometimes has even better deals and many stores will be looking to unload their unsold Black Friday inventory.
There are also sales closer to Christmas and even after Christmas that can offer deeper savings, so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t go wild on Black Friday.
Even when there are massive sales going on it’s still important to follow the proper financially-minded protocol of shopping around. I know it’s easy to just go ahead and buy something when it’s surrounded by “SALE! SALE! SALE!” signs, but there’s a pretty good chance a better deal is out there.
There are other ways to get a better deal on your purchases outside of just the discount the store is offering.
Credit Cards – Buy with a credit card and take advantage of the cash back or points you accrue from the purchase.
Cash Back Sites/Apps – There are companies out there such as Rakuten (formerly Ebates) that will give you cash back for your purchases just for starting your transaction from their site/app. After you select the store you want cash back from you are redirected to that retailer’s site so your shopping experience really isn’t any different… except you get free money.
Loyalty Points – If you’ve accrued any discounts from company loyalty programs, then now could be a good time to cash those in.
And lastly…Be Ready to Throw Some ‘bows
If you’re one of the brave souls that doesn’t do their Black Friday shopping online then be ready to get a little physical if the occasion calls for it. Nothing wrong with getting a little down and dirty to get that sick deal. Just try not to get injured. Hospital bills are not bank account-friendly.