The deals. The doorbusters. The catchy television commercials and ads that land in your email.
Yup, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among the biggest shopping events of the year. According to a Coinstar survey released last year, at least 30% of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday or take advantage of holiday deals and 70% expect to go over budget.
So, how can you avoid getting lured in by all these offers? Take a look at our top 5 ways to avoid overspending on these two major spending holidays:
Stick to Your List
Holiday wish lists aren’t just meant for kids to tell Santa what they want. The whole family should be making these lists as this will help you control who you are buying for and how much you’ll spend.
You can also refer to your list when scanning ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as this will help you resist the urge to make extra impulse purchases. If you stick to your list and plan your shopping trips carefully, you’ll be more likely to spend less overall.
Keep Up with Your Transactions
If you’re using a debit card to shop, it’s a good idea to track your transactions as this will help hold you accountable. It’s easier to blow your budget when you spend freely and don’t really keep up with where your money is going.
If you’ve ever had a busy and expensive weekend, you can probably relate. Say you went out of town and splurged a little. If you didn’t check your bank account to review your transactions, you had zero accountability for your mini spending spree. The same thing can happen with holiday spending. It’s easy to make one too many purchases on Black Friday or Cyber Money.
Here’s a pro tip: Instead of manually logging into your account to check your balance and review your transaction history, Chime can send you instant transaction alerts whenever you use your Chime debit card – attached to your free bank account. This way, you can stay motivated and stick to your spending plan.
In addition, if you have mobile banking with Chime, you can easily see your account balance simply by using the Chime app.
Only Choose One Day to Shop
Is it just me, or does Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to last for several days? Originally, these events took place on one day. Now, Cyber Monday has turned into Cyber Week and Black Friday often starts the night of Thanksgiving and carries into the weekend.
I’ve seen some retailers offer special deals each day of the week to entice customers to come back and keep shopping. This is a marketing trick and if you play along, you’ll give yourself more opportunities to overspend.
Instead, choose only one day to do the bulk of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Get what you need, then put your money away. When you’re done shopping, unsubscribe from email lists, skip commercials, and avoid all the buzz for the remainder of day (or week).
Retailer loyalty may or may not be the most important thing when shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many stores offer the same products – possibly even from the same brand.
This means you should compare pricing to make sure you get the best deal. As an example, when I bought a PlayStation 4 for my son on Black Friday last year, I saw the same exact item at three different stores. I chose to purchase it at the retailer with the lowest price. If I didn’t shop around first, I would have spent money unnecessarily.
Some stores even price match in an attempt to beat out competitors’ deals. So, make sure you check to see if the store you prefer has a price matching policy.
Aside from prioritizing the best price offer, you can also consider other aspects of the deal that may save you money. For example, some purchases comes with a mail-in rebate, whereas some stores offer gift cards with certain purchases.
Don’t Buy Something Just Because It’s On Sale
It can feel great to score a deal, but you only truly win if you need the item or were specifically looking to buy something in particular. There’s no point in buying something just because it’s on sale.
It’s tempting when you come across deals that seem like they’re unbeatable, but try to shop and spend mindfully while sticking to your values.
Take a page from my book: When you come across a great deal for something not on your list, ask yourself how you’ll feel about that item in 30 to 90 days. Would it end up stuffed in the corner of your house somewhere? In other words, do you really need to spend the money on that item?
If you truly feel like purchasing something, see if you can swap it out with something else on your list so you’re not overspending.
You Can Still Get Great Deals Without Going Over Budget
Holiday spending can be great as long as you have full control over your spending habits. Even with all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, it’s important to get clear on what you want and spend wisely. With this in mind, you won’t move into the new year with added debt – or guilt.