The day after Thanksgiving is commonly referred to as Black Friday and is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days, where you can find some of the best deals of the year. For many it signifies the official kick off of the Christmas season, a tradition they wouldn’t miss for the world.
While the term Black Friday was originally used to represent the day in which retailers returned to profitability (“back in the black”), some people also use it to describe the enormous crowds and chaos that ensues every year as people rush to stores to take advantage of big sales.
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding a good deal, but we also need to be cautious about budgeting and saving. It’s not uncommon to walk away from Black Friday with an empty wallet and a ton of stuff you didn’t need.
As Christians, how do we balance a generous lifestyle without going into debt?
If we plan ahead and have self control, we can use these great sales to our advantage and not go into debt trying to save a buck or two.
If you’re planning on joining the crowds this Black Friday here’s some pro tips to help you have the best Black Friday shopping experience:
Plan Ahead & Make a List
Black Friday isn’t the day to aimlessly walk up and down each aisle, hoping you’ll be inspired to find the best gifts. That’s a great way to miss out on the best deals, and a great way to add a ton of stuff to your cart that you don’t really need.
Look online for each particular store so you can determine what they have on sale, and who you’re going to buy it for.
Check the Map
Most stores will provide a Black Friday map that shows you where in the store you can find each sale item. That way you can go right for what you have in mind, and not get distracted with stuff outside of your budget.
Keep in mind, on Black Friday they often move stuff around. So if you’re looking for a specific electronic, chances are they may have it at the front of the store on Black Friday. Check the map so you don’t waste time looking for it. If it’s a really good sale, these items can go quickly.
Download Store Apps for Rewards
Most retailers have their own app these days, and during Black Friday they’ll offer additional discounts available only in the app. Stores like Target also have coupons and rewards that you can apply on top of the sales.
Plan out which stores you’ll be going to, then check out the app for each store. This is a great way to really pile on the savings.
Check the Fine Print
Just because a store says a TV is on sale this Black Friday, doesn’t mean that sale applies to everyone. Most stores have “Door Buster” deals that are only available to a certain number of people. And those people are usually the first ones in line before the store even opens.
If you’re going to a store to get a specific item, make sure you read up on how many they’ll have available and what you have to do to get it. If you’re overly zealous and can get in line early, you can score some really incredible deals.
Check out Clark Howard’s Top 20 Black Friday Deals Worth Waiting In Line For.
Know the Return Policy
Moving quickly and making fast decisions is the key to getting in and out of stores on Black Friday, and is the only way to ensure you get what you came for. If you know the store’s return policy up front, then you can make quicker decisions.
If you grab something you don’t need just because it’s on sale, be sure you can return it later if you change your mind.
Likewise, if something is heavily discounted and you don’t grab it, it may be gone or the sale may have ended if you try to go back for it later. This is why it’s important to plan what you want to buy ahead of time, so you can make these decisions quicker.
Whatever you do, remember that being generous doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead and know your budget.
Here’s to a safe and generous holiday season for you and your family.