The holidays are right around the corner, and lingering nearby are the throes of commercialism, waiting to take advantage of antsy shoppers. Many big companies (and some small ones, for that matter) don’t give a second thought to their overpriced goods or in-your-face advertising.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a great example of this phenomenon. Although it boasts sales, these days still encourage excessive spending.
Maxed out credit cards? Piles of debt? Sellers don’t care- it’s no skin off their teeth as long as they are not the ones suffering.
Ads and commercials around this time of year advertise that bigger is better. They suggest that paying top dollar for “nice things” will ensure you and your family the jolliest holiday you’ve ever experienced.
Before labeling me a killjoy, hear me out. I love shopping during this time of year. I love swapping gifts and browsing store windows and all of that fun stuff.
What I’m trying to convey is that there are ways to preserve all of those traditions without succumbing to the dangers of mass merchandising. As long as your cautious, Black Friday can remain a harmless day to initiate the holiday season.
Considering these tips and tricks can keep you on the right track and away from the pitfalls of overspending:
Come up with an idea in your head of what you want your holiday shopping to look like. Is there a specific budget you must stay within? Do you already have general concept in mind of what your purchases may be like this year? Maybe you want to make gifts this year in lieu of buying anything at all.
Give these things forethought before you’re stuck in the checkout line with a cart full of goods you had no intention on buying. Your thoughts are very powerful if you choose to allow them that power- therefore if you set your sights on a specific shopping strategy, you should be able to stick with it despite all the Black Friday chaos.
2. Make a list
And check it- twice. Knowing exactly what you want before you head to the store will make you less likely to pick up impulsive nonessentials. It’s the same method they tell you to use when grocery shopping and it really works. This practice is also an effective way to avoid buying repeat items or purchasing for someone you already got a gift for. It’s easy to forget, so write everything down!
3. Put others first
Focus on what you want to give rather than what you want for yourself. Although buying for others can add up just as easily as for us, we tend to plan in advance for these purchases. As for personal splurges, the extra costs can come as quite a shock.
4. Don’t fall victim
Don’t let marketing ploys fool you. Be a cautious consumer to avoid dastardly traps such as faux deals (where a company marks up an item just to mark it back down as a “sale”). Similar techniques are used to counter the costs of “free” online shipping and even your beloved Black Friday doorbusters.
Take this as a rule of thumb: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research, folks. Scout out deals elsewhere, compare prices, and think before you charge. Retailers want customers to think that their alleged bargains are fleeting so that purchases will be made quickly. In reality, many items can be bought at other times for just as cheap (and sometimes cheaper) than the price you see them on Black Friday.
With that being said, here’s the most important tip of all: go out and enjoy your Black Friday experience, whatever that entails for you. As long as you remain mindful of your goals for the season, you are sure to have an enjoyable and wallet-friendly time.
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Photo: Kaiyan via Flickr