If You’re Wallet’s Burning a Hole in Your Pocket…(How to keep it from burning your bank account)

I appreciate and agree with my colleague and her previous post today about Black Friday, and the holiday shopping. It IS true that often the things that are put on sale aren’t that good of deals and that it is stuff you could probably go without. But for some, it is a holiday tradition, rich with history and strategy. I have never personally ventured forth on that cold and ‘black’ early morning to the department stores (I am usually still hungover from turkey) but my wife and the girls of her family have ‘celebrated’ Black Friday ever since she was a little girl. I asked her about some tips for those of you that ARE going out on Black Friday and what you can do to limit overspending and buyer’s remorse. Black Friday can be a fun day/morning if you know the right tips (and don’t mind crowds of crazy, cranky people out for blood).

1. Decide on your budget-Have a set amount of money to take with you on Black Friday. In fact, set the budget today, go to the bank, pull out only cash and LEAVE YOUR CREDIT CARDS AT HOME!!!

2. Get Organized–After you’ve consumed your share of turkey on Thanksgiving, pull out the newspaper ads and browse the selections. My wife and her cousins make a list that includes the store, the time it opens, what they want there and the cost. Have in mind why you are getting that particular item. Is it a gift for someone? Something you want? Something you need? This makes for an effective game plan and covers the most amount of ground in the least amount of time. Tip: Go to areas like shopping centers where more than one store is located to minimize the drive time and movement between stores.

3. Get Items That Are Most Important First-Go to the stores where the items you want the most are going to be. Many stores have a limited supply of the items on sale and some can be gone if you wait until later on in the morning. Tip: If the item is out, ask the customer service desk if they give ‘rain checks’ for the price that its on sale. Some do, some don’t…but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

4. Send Scouts Ahead To The Next Store-Once you’ve completed your list in one store, if you are with a group, send someone else ahead to the next store to begin working on the list for that particular store. This will be made easier again, if you take cash, and LEAVE THE CREDIT CARDS AT HOME!

5. Make sure you are properly energized and hydrated-Get some breakfast before you leave (leftover turkey is always good) and bring a water bottle. If you forget to eat something before you leave, many stores, like Fred Meyers has small snacks or free donuts.

Some final tips from my wife are to: forget the shopping cart, it just slows down and there’s no room. Leave your babies at home! Be prepared for pushing and shoving and long lines, and finally…do it all with smile. HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

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