I love Black Friday. I love the crowds. I love the deals. What I don’t love is the constant urge to spend more money.
I was looking through some of the deals this last weekend and I suddenly found all kinds of stuff that I “need”. Needing stuff is about the most dangerous thing that could happen to you on a day when the deals are fantastic. I recently wrote about not being sucked in by marketers ploys. But even the strongest of souls can find themselves tempted. So here’s a few simple ground rules.
- The deals are great – I’m not advocating not shopping on Black Friday. I’m out there at 4AM with the rest of you (and I apologize if I’ve ever thrown you an elbow to get a Furby, digital camera, or HD TV). But just like any other time you go shopping, make a list. But in this case, make a list of the things you need before you ever even look at the deals online or in the newspaper. That way, you won’t find yourself making an ever growing list.
- Set a budget – If you find yourself spending too much each year, then set yourself a budget just like anything else. If you only have $100, then you can only spend $100. Also, leave the credit cards at home.
- Pre-shop your items – Visit the stores and see the items you are considering purchasing (especially if they are large purchases). Ask the employees lots of questions. There are two reasons to pre-shop your items. First, you’ll weed out items that really aren’t worth your time, no matter how good of a deal it seems like you are receiving. Second, you might be able to avoid the lines. For example, my wife and I purchased a new home last year and needed a washer and dryer since we had been living in an apartment complex. We went to Sears on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. We found the set we wanted and then found out that Sears had begun offering Black Friday prices as of about 7PM that night. So we purchased the set and slept in on Friday.
- Use the buddy system – My wife is probably my greatest ally when it comes to avoiding unnecessary purchases. She tells me the most loving words anyone can hear, “We can’t afford it.”
- Remember that you can usually get the deal some other time – Now don’t get me wrong, some deals are unique to Black Friday. But many of the rock bottom prices will come back around Christmas time. If you need some more time to think about the purchases, then take it. You can always use Dave Ramsey’s method of walking in with cash, waving it in their faces, and negotiating a great price whenever you want.
I think that this year we are going to buy a sewing machine. My wife enjoys it and she makes fantastic blankets at a lower price than most stores. But we have not found the right price yet. Until we do, we aren’t buying.
As a side note, here are two of my favorite sites to find in advance good Black Friday deals:
Have any good Black Friday stories?