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Black Friday Doesn’t Have to Be a Financial Black Hole

by Karen Wilhelms, Financial Wellness Educator
Laptop and holiday shopping scene

Black Friday sends me into a panic just knowing that the biggest gift-giving event is right around the corner! This year I am making a plan to do something different – avoid Black Friday and the gateway to overspending.

I have set some realistic goals for this Christmas. I have made a list (and checked it twice) of those whom I would like to show my love and gratitude. With two kids in college and retirement saving in full swing, I need (must have) a budget. I have set a few rules for this year that I have not set in the past.

  1. I will not charge anything that I do not have the cash on hand to purchase.
  2. I will stick to my limit for my kids. They don’t have to have everything on their list!
  3. I will not feel guilty and rush out to quickly reciprocate for someone who thought of me and who I left off my list. I will send a sincere thank you though.
  4. If the item on my list for someone is out of my budget, I will get creative!
  5. Gratitude is the name of the game! I want those who make my world a better place to know what they mean to me, and I don’t have to do it by spending money.

Create your own financial goals for your Christmas gift-giving. If you must shop on Black Friday, start with a few of these tips to control your holiday spending.

  • Set a realistic budget. Only spend what you can truly afford and can pay off completely.
  • Consider a lay-a-way plan for your spending. Save the money first, then go purchase.  This is extremely important for those high ticket items.
  • Check prices online, as well as look for coupons and discount codes when buying.
  • Stick to the list! Remember, it’s the thought, not the amount.
  • Skip the stores and shop online to avoid temptation.
  • Save your savings! Nearly everywhere you go the cashier will tell you how much you saved. Put that amount in the bank by using a mobile banking app. There is no reason to wait.
  • If Black Friday shopping is a tradition, plan ahead to stay within spending limits or don’t spend at all (you’ll skip the lines and still have the fun).
  • Be creative and look for alternatives. Homemade is in! Reuse, recycle, repurpose.

These are just a few budgeting tips for spending during the holidays. Create your own holiday shopping budget using a budget tool.