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Are Black Friday Sales Worth the Hype?

Contributed by Ruth-Anne Klassen 

Black Friday is November 26th, the day when people crowd the stores for rare deals on holiday gifts or other splurges on bigger-ticket items like appliances. Sales on electronics, clothing, home décor and more can certainly save you tens or hundreds of dollars off their combined full prices. So is it a good idea to take advantage of Black Friday deals? Here are some things to consider: 

Your spending plan 

You can make decisions about Black Friday spending by looking at how much money you aim to spend, based on a budget for holiday spending, monthly spending, or other another goal. Automatic saving apps like QUBER can help you to set a shopping limit and set aside that amountOnce you know how much you would like to spend this holiday season on gifts (or gifts to yourself), then divide that amount for each person(s). This is your spending limits and guideline for each person. Write down your spending guideline and put it in your wallet.  Remember that even if you save big-time through sales, the amount that you spend may stop you from achieving other financial goals. If you are saying yes to something, what are you saying no to? 

“If you are saying yes to something, what are you saying no to?”

Your spending priorities 

Retailers attract consumers into stores with “must-have-can’t-miss” offers; for example, for deals on a new microwave or a nice sweater, you might step into the store. Once you’re in the store, however, items that are not on your shopping list, like flashy headphones or fun throw pillows, might catch your eye. Only you, as a smart consumer, can decide what counts as a high needs and priority purchase, and what can wait or be forgotten about. Use your spending plan or budget to help you to decide where to direct your dollars. 

The money you save 

Don’t just assume that you’re saving a large amount on Black Friday! Some sales are better than others. If you’re saving less than 30%, for instance, you may be better off waiting for other sales. Many retailers hold Black Friday “week” or Cyber Monday sales, so don’t only look at Friday deals. Beyond the percentage savings, the dollar amount of an item will help you determine whether it will fit into your spending plan. 

Here is a formula I use on my phone’s calculator or in my head to find out the cost and savings on an item before reaching the checkout line: A 30% discount is $30 off every $100, $3 off every $10, and 30 cents off every dollar.  

The quality of discounted items 

Items that seem like a great deal may be low-quality models or last-year’s low-selling product. Although they may cost less than their full price, they may break sooner, leaving you to pay and replace them earlier than you would have liked. That’s why it’s helpful to plan ahead of Black Friday and do research on which items are worth buying. Many retailer websites have a customer reviews section, and a Google search on “….product reviews” will show you other people’s experiences with what you are about to buy.  

“Although they may cost less than their full price, they may break sooner, leaving you to pay and replace them earlier than you would have liked.”

Time you spend shopping 

Apart from money you spend or save, Black Friday shopping can involve waiting around in packed traffic, finding a parking spot, lining up outside stores, struggling with crowds, and waiting again in checkout lines. Some love the thrill of Black Friday shopping, but you might prefer to spend a Friday evening at home with your family or a good tv show. Online offers Black Friday season deals for premium at-home shopping, but the closer we get to the holidays and Christmas, the greater the risk of shipping delays and product shortages. 

Black Friday/ Cyber Monday week events are certainly a rare opportunity to get great savings, and such sales may help you spend less on nice purchases. However, if you are trying to improve your financial situation, you may want to keep your spending rules and your guidelines written down on how much you want to spend, and what purchases are a priority for you. With a little thinking-ahead, you can practice making wise decisions around holiday shopping, and your future self will thank you! 

Your future self will also thank you for jump starting your savings. Want to make saving money easier? Join the Momentum Savings Challenge. Get cash rewards for saving money and tips on how to budget, every month. Learn more here 

 

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