Updated November 18, 2021
The way you feel about Black Friday depends a lot on your finances and your personality. You might look forward to the excitement of Black Friday with gleeful anticipation. On the other hand, the thought of Black Friday deal hunting might fill you with dread.
If you’re someone who loathes Black Friday to its core, this article isn’t for you. After all, if you have no interest in shopping on Black Friday there’s zero chance of Black Friday wrecking your budget to begin with, right?
But if you get a kick out of the hustle and bustle of in-person shopping or the online deal-seeking fun, you need a plan to avoid overspending. And this article can help you create one.
Check out the following Black Friday mistakes to avoid. With the right strategy you can enjoy your shopping experience without having any regrets about bad financial decisions in the morning.
1. When it comes to your shopping budget, trying to “wing it” is a bad idea.
It’s not a good idea to go into the busiest shopping day of the year without a spending plan. A better approach is to figure out how much money you can afford to spend before you visit your first website or step inside your favorite retail store. Once you update your budget and calculate how much you can afford to spend, determine to stick to that number.
Some shoppers leave their credit cards at home and only bring along cash so there’s no temptation to overspend. But I am not a big fan of shopping with cash. After all, if you lose your cash, that money is probably gone forever. Lose a credit card, on the other hand, and you can call the bank and get a replacement right away.
So, if you have the discipline, set a budget for yourself and shop with your credit card. Plus, using a rewards credit card could help you earn extra points, miles, or cash back. Of course, if you think you’ll be tempted to overspend on a card, cash might be a better way to go.
2. Making your list…it’s more important than you think.
Once you determine how much you can afford to spend on Black Friday, it’s time to write down everyone you want to buy a present for during your shopping spree. Shopping without a list sets you up for failure.
Let’s say that you have a budget of $500 for Black Friday shopping. If you are shopping without a list you could potentially spend the $500 on 10 people, only to remember two more people you forgot to purchase a gift for after you get home.
You might also want to consider adding your own name to your shopping list. Putting yourself on the list allows you to have a little self-indulgent fun without going overboard on impulse purchases.
3. Thinking that you can find the best deals on your own is a mistake.
When it comes to Black Friday deal hunting, technology is your friend. There are many apps and programs that can help you stretch your holiday budget to the max. Below are a few examples.
Online Shopping Portals
One of my favorite ways to stretch my own holiday shopping dollars is to use an online shopping portal. Rakuten is one of my favorites, but others like Ibotta, Swagbucks, and more exist. Your rewards credit card might offer an online shopping portal as well.
Price Comparison Tools
The app store on your smart phone or tablet is another place you can find ways to stretch your shopping budget. Apps like ShopAdvisor and ShopSavvy let you compare prices on individual items to make sure you’re getting the best deal. So, if you’re searching for the perfect pair of boots for the fashionista on your shopping list, a comparison tool can hunt down the retailer that’s offering your desired item for the lowest price.
Stack on Coupons
After you find the best deal and use a rewards credit card plus shopping portal to maximize your cash rewards, don’t forget to stack on a coupon if you can. According to CouponFollow, the average coupon code can save a shopper $30. And online shoppers can save $1,465 per year just by routinely adding a coupon code at checkout.
Honey is a popular browser extension you can add to your device to search for available coupon codes when you visit online retailers. And websites like RetailMeNot and others can help you find coupons with a manual search as well.
With a little effort and some advanced planning, you can enjoy Black Friday shopping without compromising your budget. Just remember, there’s no sale or deal that’s worth going into debt over.
Looking for more ways to stretch your Christmas budget? Check out these 7 tips I love!
Michelle Lambright Black is a leading credit expert, writer, speaker, and credit expert witness with nearly two decades of experience in the credit industry. She is an expert in credit reporting, credit scoring, financing (mortgages, credit cards, loans), debt eradication, budgeting, saving, and identity theft. She’s featured in print monthly with brands such as FICO, Forbes, Reader’s Digest, LendingTree, Bankrate, Experian, and more. Connect with Michelle on Twitter (@MichelleLBlack) and Instagram (@CreditWriter).