George gives you some help on how to make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I have a love-hate relationship with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I mean, don’t get me wrong—it seems pretty great at first: belly full of stuffing, new fall trends on sale, Christmas shopping done early, decompressing after too much time with that one relative . . .
But what’s wrong with this picture? For one, you probably weren’t considering the obvious risks of holiday impulsive shopping, not to mention slick marketing tactics and bad spending habits. Half the time I feel like I’ve outsmarted this consumer-culture phenomenon, and the other half . . . Well, like a wise little league baseball coach once said: You can’t win ‘em all, kid.
We’ve all made our share of shopping mistakes on that fateful weekend after Thanksgiving, but not this year, my friends. Today, I’m sharing six money-saving tips that will make these sales work for you, not the other way around.
- Choose budgeting over browsing. Yep, you already knew this one was coming. And sure, this may seem like overkill for one tiny weekend of shopping, but the truth is: Structure sets us free. Just like your monthly budget puts you back in control of your money, making a Black Friday budget gives you the freedom to decide how much you spend on who and what (and when and where and why).
- Map it out. Most of my Black Friday and Cyber Monday fails have happened because I didn’t have a strategy ahead of time. After you’ve listed your buying goals in the budget, decide which stores and sites should take priority. Will you shop for big-ticket items only? Will you buy gifts for others first, then make personal purchases second? Do what makes sense (and what you can afford), then stick to the plan.
- Flag your favorite emails. We all know there are an obnoxious amount of ad emails coming your way as the big weekend approaches. That marketer’s mama didn’t raise no fool! But you can take the power back by starring the ones you’re interested in and deleting the ones you’re not. This way, you won’t be tempted to click, scroll and buy before the sales even begin. Take inventory now, and revisit your flagged favorites after you’ve had some turkey and time to process.
- Shop for quality over quantity. On this iconic weekend of spending, lots of deals are going to seem epic. But before you buy into every offer you see, use “quality over quantity” as your centering mantra. Go ahead, take a cleansing breath and repeat after me: “Namaste away from pointless purchases.” You do not need 47 candles from Bath & Body Works. You may, however, want to restock your fancy shampoo while it’s on mega sale.
- Use the two-year rule. Buyer’s rush feels great in the moment, but you want to be wise about the future. Ask yourself, Two years from now, will I still be enjoying this purchase? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider.
- Debt is always a no. No matter where you find yourself in your financial journey, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shouldn’t reverse your progress. That cozy cashmere sweater is tempting as cooler temperatures creep in, but it’s going to get ugly real fast when the new year also brings with it a new credit card bill. Turns out you can still go broke while “saving” money. So, whatever you do, don’t convince yourself you’re saving if you’re actually spending and going into more debt.
Boom! There you have it. Six steps that set you up for spending (and saving) success. Let’s make sure you and I both have no regrets (or “no ragrets” for fans of We’re the Millers) this shopping season. And if you’re looking for more Black Friday shopping tips, check out this article from my friend Rachel Cruze.
Bonus Challenge: Make it a social affair! Send this article to someone you wouldn’t mind tackling Black Friday and Cyber Monday with. And who knows, maybe your chosen sidekick will have their own strategies to share. No gatekeeping here, folks!
* George Kamel is a personal finance expert with a counter-cultural approach to money. He is the host of The Fine Print and EntreLeadership podcasts on the Ramsey Network. Since 2013 George has served at Ramsey Solutions where his goal is to help people spend less, save more, and avoid consumer traps, so that they can make the most of their money. Follow George on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or find out more about him online at ramseysolutions.com/personalities.
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