Unfortunately, many people that work hard to master their finances throughout the year forget everything they’ve been working hard for on Black Friday.
Of course, Black Friday can be an awesome time of year, but just keep your finances in mind when shopping for deals.
Here are a few general rules to follow when it comes to Black Friday shopping.
You Can’t Afford It If You Can’t Pay For It In Full Today
No matter how good a deal is, you won’t be doing yourself a favor if you buy something you can’t pay for in full today.
You’ll likely end up paying for the purchase for months whether you borrow money from friends or family, which is always a nightmare, or you charge your purchase on a credit card you won’t pay off.
Paying for interest on a deal will normally negate the lower price you paid due to the deal.
If you borrow from friends or family, your relationship will suffer even if you don’t have to pay interest. It simply isn’t worth wrecking your finances and relationships to buy something you can’t truly afford.
Even if you have to pay full price a few months from now to purchase the same thing, you’ll have the great feeling of being able to pay for the item in full.
You’ll know the purchase won’t hang over your head every time you open your credit card bill. That’s totally worth waiting in my book.
The Marketers Have Won If You Weren’t Going To Buy It Before Black Friday
Marketers are the king of Black Friday. They leak Black Friday ads early so people can get excited about all of the upcoming deals.
People talk about Black Friday weeks, if not months, in advance of the day after Thanksgiving. The marketers clearly have won with the general public, but they don’t have to win with you.
Before you even look at a single Black Friday ad, make a list of the things you’re planning to buy anyway. Then, when you look at Black Friday ads and when you shop on Black Friday, don’t buy a single thing that isn’t on your list.
You won’t be saving money because you’ll be buying more than you planned. The marketers will win if you buy something that isn’t on your list. Don’t let the marketers win.
You Aren’t Saving Money Just Because Something Is Marked Down
First off, no one saves money on Black Friday. The act of saving means putting money in your bank account, not spending money on things.
Yes, you’re getting an item at a discount, but you aren’t actually saving any money. You’re spending. Now that that’s clear, there are further hidden costs of discounts on Black Friday.
Just because something is marked down, that doesn’t mean you’re saving money. Many time retailers will mark up the normal price only so they can mark the price down to make it seem like you’re getting a deal.
That’s not the only trick retailers play, either. Sometimes, companies make derivatives of their normal products just for Black Friday, the model numbers of things like TVs, sound bars, laptops and other electronics will be slightly different.
Strange model numbers are a hint that the product you’re buying might be less powerful or less advanced as the normal version of the product you think you’re buying.
These aren’t the only tricks retailers play. Make sure you’re investigating every deal to make sure you’re really getting what you think you’re getting.
Finally, make sure you’ll actually be able to get the deal. If a store only gets one of the TV you want in stock, you’re probably not going to be the lucky customer to get it at that amazing price.
Opportunity Cost Could Cost More Than Any Deal
Another factor very few people ever consider on Black Friday is opportunity cost. Basically, opportunity cost says you could be doing something else with the time and the money you spend on Black Friday.
That something else that you’re giving up, both in time and money spent, is the opportunity cost.
You could be giving up time hanging out with your family in a low stress environment, unlike any time spent braving the crazies at Wal-Mart or Best Buy.
You could easily be giving up investing that money for retirement and letting it compound over and over again for the next 30 years.
Take a few minutes and think about what else you could do with the money and time you’ll spend when you go out shopping on Black Friday. Is it worth it?
Would you rather take the other opportunities available to you, such as spending time with family, investing money for your future or spending time and money for some other goal?
If your answer is doing something else, don’t feel the pressure to waste your time and money Black Friday shopping.
Have Fun And Spend Your Money Wisely
For many, Black Friday shopping is an annual family tradition. It can be a lot of fun. If you stick to your list and only buy things you were going to buy anyway, you can definitely have a successful Black Friday and get some great deals.
Just don’t fall into the trap of buying things you can’t afford. You’ll have a nasty reminder waiting in your mail box each time your credit card bill arrives.
Do you ever go Black Friday shopping? What’s your favorite part of Black Friday shopping? What are you looking for this year? Let me know any thoughts you may have in the comments below.
Photo by: John Aho Text added by: Lance Cothern