Should Black Friday be a part of your annual budget?
Since we're approaching Thanksgiving, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the notorious post-holiday sale… BLACK FRIDAY. Some of us love Black Friday, and others absolutely despise it. With all of the doorbusters and deals, you'd be remiss to not leave your house, stand in long lines, and risk life and limb for discounts...right? Well, as it turns out, the benefit of Black Friday to the consumer isn't quite as straightforward as some mega-retailers would like you to believe.
Personally… I'm not a fan. I don't like crowded spaces, and sleep is precious. No matter which side of that issue you find yourself on, one thing can be said with absolute certainty, and Black Friday is a widely popular way some households attempt to save money when purchasing Christmas gifts.
Coming from the standpoint of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I'm not a fan either. There are all sorts of little things that retailers do to get people in the door and overspend.
Retailers are Smart…
Believe it or not, the people running these multi-million and sometimes multi-billion dollar retail stores are smart. They do everything they can to get you in the door because they know that you're much more likely to buy something once you're in their store. They use little tricks here and there when purposefully designing their advertisements and marketing campaigns to make you believe that the deals you'll get are much better than they actually are.
- Raising the initial price of items, so the discounts appear larger than they are.
- Limiting the number of doorbusters they have in stock, so they sell out faster.
- Excluding price-matching for Black-Friday through Cyber-Monday.
- Including all sorts of LARGE details in SMALL print.
With these tactics, retailers can make their deals much more appealing than they would be when viewed in a more sober light, and a lot of shoppers are totally unaware that they're doing this!
Go Local with Small Business Saturday!
If you want a real deal and want to support local businesses, you're going to find a lot more value in waiting to shop until Small Business Saturday! With Small Business Saturday, you'll likely get as good a deal (or better) than you would during Black Friday, and you're going to be supporting your local family-owned mom and pop stores. With the year we've had in 2020, it's worth pitching in to help. They'll appreciate it, you'll make a more significant impact on their bottom-line, and you'll be doing your part to keep local Small businesses alive!
Cyber Monday - An Online Alternative
Another Black Friday alternative is Cyber Monday! Chances are you're already familiar with Cyber Monday, but if you aren't, it's an online Black Friday. You can find similar deals to Black Friday without having to leave your house! If you or your loved ones are worried about exposure to Covid-19, can't get out of the house (or don't want to), Cyber Monday beats Black Friday.
Cyber Monday, however, isn't without risks of its own. You must be vigilant about shopping at reputable online retailers. Online scams are rampant around Cyber Monday, so be careful and never spend money on a website that you're unfamiliar with.
Budget and Save for Holiday Spending
Think about your wants versus your needs! If you're shopping for Christmas presents that you're going to buy anyway, that's one thing, but it's another thing if you're going out just to shop.
If you're going out on Black Friday, you may find yourself spending money that you didn't plan on spending. Sporadic spending like that may lead to you misusing your credit cards. If you're determined to go out and shop for Black Friday deals, you should make sure that you've budgeted for what you're buying and not overloading your credit cards, which could end up costing you a lot of extra money in interest, as well as unnecessary heartburn.
Financial planning is an essential part of holiday shopping and shouldn't be pushed to the side. For Christmas shopping and everything else, you should plan your purchases, save your money, and stick to your budget.
Risking Your Finances, Life, and Limb.
Mobs, rushes, and lines are synonymous with Black Friday. There are numerous videos and compilations online of shoppers getting trampled, injured, or even dying when Black Friday shopping gets out of hand. Mob mentality and artificial scarcity of merchandise and deals entice shoppers to act first and think second, leading to a lot of inhumane action on the part of shoppers.
It might seem silly, but seriously consider the medical expenses that could come with that. Unplanned medical bills are killer and hurt a lot of families' bottom line. While it might seem fun or goofy to get out and spend hours in line to rush for deals before other people get them, some alternatives are less dangerous and won't lead to you lying in a hospital bed.
Remember What the Holidays are About.
Spending time with family is the best return on investment possible, and everyone deserves that opportunity.
It can be all too easy to find yourself caught up in a materialistic mindset and put yourself into debt to get gifts and presents that you think your family and friends will love. There are, however, other more affordable options that won't lead you out into the crowds right after Thanksgiving. In my blog post, How to make the most of your holidays without breaking the bank!, I talk about some of those options.
Here are a few quick ideas from that blog for how to make the holidays memorable without overspending:
- Baking Cookies and Treats
- Decorating a Christmas Tree
- Family Puzzles
- Visiting with Friends and Family
- Christmas Caroling
Don't rush away from your family for some silly Black Friday deals; soak up all of the family time you can get when you can get it. If you're a parent, your kids grow up fast, and before you know it, they'll be in college, married, and eventually have a family of their own. Make sure that you enjoy the precious moments with your family, children, and friends… spending your time with them is one of the best presents you can offer. If you're interested in talking about holiday budgeting, or budgeting in general, I'd be happy to help!
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Can Help You Develop a Plan to Spend Wisely During the Holidays
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I've worked with clients to create plans and establish budgets. If you or a family member need some guidance in creating a money plan for the holidays, please call or email to schedule an appointment with me.
Until next time...this is Melissa Making Cents!
Melissa Anne Cox CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is also a College Planning and Student Loan Advisor and Financial Coach in Dallas, Texas.