Long lines, discounted everything, and even longer receipts.
The infamous Black Friday is around the corner and you know what that can mean– shuffling around credit cards followed by some Holiday not-so-cheer decisions.
Which begs the question: Is there a way to get the best of both worlds, like the flat screen while keeping the savings intact? Here are some ways Black Fridays doesn’t darken your financial goals.
How can you avoid getting caught up in the Black Friday sale excitement?
This year is going to be interesting because of the combined effect of post-pandemic re-openings, supply chain issues, and stimulus checks. Americans’ savings have rarely been this high, meaning people have money to spend.
On the flip side, we are having supply chain issues, so inflation and fear of losing out on a hot holiday item are going to hike prices. I still remember the Cabbage Patch kid madness in 1983 where a $25 doll would be sold by opportunists for $150.
The best way to combat madness is to set a budget and set realistic expectations for what you will and will not spend on gifts.
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Do you recommend clients to budget a little ‘mad money’ for holiday spending, or no?
I advise people to follow the simple rule of living off of 70% of their take-home pay. The other 30% is divided between giving, investing, and paying down debts.
Depending on your situation, you can either budget your holiday spending within the 70% of ordinary monthly spending or, assuming you have no other debts, use the 10% allocated towards debts towards gifts.
What you need to avoid during the holiday season is the temptation to buy a bunch of gifts on credit without a clear plan to pay off the debt.
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If it’s too late to have a great spending plan for this year, what would you suggest clients do to prepare for holiday spending in 2022 and beyond?
I know people love to spend money on gifts and other festivities during the holiday season. It is never too late to establish a spending budget and it is never too early to begin your shopping.
It is much easier financially to spread out spending than to concentrate it all into one short time period after Thanksgiving.
Yes, there are great deals on Black Friday, but if the cost of “saving money” by buying something you cannot afford is more than the savings, you are better off passing on the purchase. Imagine you were given a gift by someone who ended up putting themself in financial peril because of the purchase. You would not want that, so why do it to yourself?
The best advice is to create a spending budget and stick to it no matter how crazy the holiday season becomes.
Any tips on using credit cards during holiday shopping?
I am not a big fan of debt, but I am a big fan of points. If you are disciplined enough, I think credit cards are fine for purchases so long as you can pay them off within the payment cycle to avoid charges.
Keep in mind that credit card companies have spent millions on consumer psychology and know what buttons to push to get you to spend and keep a balance on your card.
If you start feeling slightly out of control or have a strong emotional desire to spend, it is time to go back to your budget ground yourself. Marketers are good, but budgets are better.
Yes, there are great deals on Black Friday, but none should be at the cost of buying something for yourself or your family that you cannot afford.
You can spend money on gifts, but do so with a game plan.
Have a dedicated budget and even better than expectations, have a plan.
Avoiding impulsive purchases might be enough to grab that sweet deal and still walk out a winner.
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