Black Friday is the one day of the year where you can get the best deals ever. Right? Well maybe. I don’t know about you, but I have seen tons of pre-sales, post-sales, etc. I personally don’t go shopping on black Thursday or Friday because I loathe waiting in line to pay, but I understand if there’s a big ticket item that you really want and it’s on super sale. Or maybe black Friday shopping is a family tradition. But do the benefits outweigh the possible long-term effects? Here are 3 questions to ask yourself:
Is it truly a bargain?
If you don’t really need the item/s, then it’s not a bargain. But if you think, yes, I need it because it’s a present for someone else, is it really a need? Think of other things you can DO with family and friends to really enjoy the holidays without having to worry about going broke (or getting up at the crack of dawn).
Will you be making payments toward your Black Friday purchases in 2017 (or longer)?
Okay this one should be easy, but may not be because of the lure of amazing deals. However, if you are charging any purchases because you don’t have the funds now and you plan to pay later, really determine if it’s worth it. How much will you actually be spending in the long run if you’re paying interest? Not to mention how long will you be making payments? And is adding a monthly payment affordable in your budget? There really are other great sales throughout the year. Plus, you’re better off saving up for something to avoid debt and negating the sale price by making interest payments.
Is there another tradition you could do with family/friends that is more wallet-friendly?
Full disclosure: I’m not a huge outdoors person in the winter. However, my favorite adulthood Christmas memory is going out and sledding with my siblings, cousins, and niece a few years ago. My next favorite thing is playing cards, laughing, and eating with my family. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I got for presents over the last 10 years, but I remember what we did. So just think about that before you spend a ton of money on presents that most people won’t remember you even bought by next year.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually do enjoy shopping – as long as I can afford it…and can get in and out of the store with what I’m looking for in an hour or less. 🙂 But it’s really important to remember the long-term effects spending money might have. And that experiences and memories are so much better than stuff. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I encourage you to make your goal to keep your budget in the black and not go into the red (debt) on black Friday.
If you’ve already charged on your cards for presents or anything else, there is help out there so you can pay off your cards faster and save money in interest. Give LSS a call 888.577.2227 to schedule your free financial counseling session. Or, GET STARTED ONLINE at any time. We help with more than just credit cards, too. Our counselors will help you create a realistic spending plan and look at all of your finances and options, including student loans.
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.