Black Friday ads are already coming out! Nerdwallet has compiled a good list if you’re interested. Having said that, Black Friday is still 4 weeks away. Retailers are going to be building up hype for the biggest shopping day for the next 4 weeks, bombarding you with ads on TV, radio, newspaper, social media, etc. Don’t fall for the hype! If you’re not careful, Black Friday will yet again be the worst day of the year for your finances. For these next 4 weeks, try to tune out all the noise, and prep yourself to avoid these Black Friday mistakes.
Black Friday Mistake #1- Believing That Everything is a Great Deal
One of the biggest Black Friday myths is that everything is dirt cheap. This simply isn’t true. Like most flyers and ad campaigns, there are a few really good deals, accompanied mostly by filler items. The really good deals are usually limited quantities, meaning that you may or may not actually be able to get one. The really good deals are also often ‘loss leaders’. The store is taking a loss on them to get people in the door. The store then has to make up that loss somewhere else, often on those other ad items that benefit from the hype of the loss leaders. The majority of the Black Friday ad items are no better than year round ad items.
Black Friday Mistake #2- Believing That Everything is a Once in a Lifetime Deal
Retailers try to make you think that you need to buy their deals now, or you miss out forever. Not true. If you pay attention, even the big door buster deals look strangely familiar from year to year. Often the stores even run the exact same items. And the tech items will just improve from year to year.
Black Friday Mistake #3- Believing That You Can’t Live Without Something
The ads would like to make you think that you just can’t live without a product. Logically, you know this isn’t true. You survived without it yesterday and today, so there’s no reason you need it tomorrow. But emotionally you just have to have it! Constantly remind yourself to listen to reason over emotion!
Black Friday Mistake #4- Not Having a Budget
Figure how much you can afford to spend before you go shopping. Otherwise you’ll overspend and be left regretting your purchases for the next 364 days. When you go shopping, figure out how you’ll stick to your budget. You can keep a running total of all your purchases. Better yet, you can only bring cash. When you’re out of cash, you’re done shopping.
Black Friday Mistake #5- Not Having a List
Similar to not having a budget, not having a list leaves you prey to impulse buying and overspending. When you’re at home, you’ll be able to rationally assess what items will actually be useful and what items will end up sitting on a shelf unused. And if you’re shopping for Christmas presents, make a list of everyone you’re buying for. As you pick up items for each person, cross them off the list.
Black Friday Mistake #6- Financing Your Purchases
Nothing spells miserable like spending 5 months paying off lots of purchases that you made on impulse. Worse, the interest that you’ll be paying on the debt will quickly erode any discount on the items. If you don’t have the money to buy the stuff now, you can’t afford the stuff. There are a few things that you can make a legitimate argument for financing. Black Friday purchases aren’t one of them. Using a credit card to shop can be a great way to score some cashback points, but be sure that you’ll be able to pay it off completely on your next bill.
Black Friday Mistake #7- Not Following Through With Rebates
Retailers love to use rebates because they get to advertise a lower price without actually charging that lower price. Most people simply don’t mail in their rebates because they lose them, forget about them, or are too lazy to mail them in. Many people even know full well that they won’t mail them in, but use the rebate to rationalize purchasing products in the emotion of the moment. If you’re buying something with a rebate, follow through. Also, pay attention to the terms and instructions. Better yet, ignore rebate prices entirely while you’re shopping.
There are some good deals on Black Friday. But there’s also way more hype than the deals warrant. I personally rarely shop on Black Friday. I’m in no mood to wait in the early lines for the best deals. I don’t like fighting the crowds. And I don’t need any of the deals anyway. My wife doesn’t mind the shopping or the crowds, so she’ll go and finish out our Christmas list with whatever bargains are leftover after the mad rush. We buy what we actually want and don’t go nuts over the deals. In the end, it’s just another day of the year.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.