If your wallet could talk, would it blacklist you from Black Friday shopping?
Before you get swept up in the dizzying deal frenzy this Nov. 23, here are three tips from financial experts about how to stay on budget — and stop yourself from buying things you don’t need.
First, be realistic about how much you can afford to spend and any tendencies to overspend you may have, recommends Neal Frankle, a certified financial planner and founder of Wealth Resources Group.
“Spending is fun,” Frankle says. “Saving and investing is less fun.”
“If you’re just spending money to enjoy yourself and if you end up spending money that you cannot afford to spend, it’s going to be a very expensive joyride.”
At least a week before Black Friday, create a budget, Frankle says. Then, make a plan to hold yourself accountable so you won’t exceed that amount. Take someone with you to the store or hang on to receipts to show them after you get home.
Have a goal in mind
Next, shop for a reason, says Shane Sullivan, a CFP with WealthOver50.com.
Otherwise, it’s easy to purchase things you don’t need. “The lighting, the music, the pricing — everything in that store has been designed and bundled to get you to spend more money or take you off course,” Sullivan says.
Sullivan recalls falling victim to Black Friday temptation. He once researched prices and fought the crowds to get a great deal on two large, flat-screen TVs. While at the store, he saw midsize screens for $100 each and bought two of those as well, even though he didn’t need them. They both went unused.
To prevent this from happening to you, Sullivan recommends keeping your “wishlist” in mind when you shop. That might include appliances for a new house, baby furniture for a new child or travel for a future vacation.
“Have a list of what you want,” he says. If that’s travel, for example, there’s likely no need for you to ever set foot in the big electronics or department stores.
Skip it altogether
Finally, if you feel susceptible to overspending on Black Friday, remember the shopping event is totally optional.
Consider not going, even if you pay a little bit more on a different day, Frankle says.
While you may spend more on a specific item, you likely won’t make as many extra purchases simply because things are super cheap.
“You will probably end up spending less overall,” he says.
If you absolutely can’t miss Black Friday, consider implementing safeguards, such as paying with cash instead of a card. Physically parting with cash adds a psychological element to shopping, according to Sullivan.
He says the “pain” of giving the cashier your money will help you focus on buying the things that matter most.