Black Friday, with all its mind-blowing specials can seem like a shopper’s paradise. However, if you are not careful, it is your budget that will be blown away.
Black Friday is an American invention that South Africans have embraced wholeheartedly with specials that often last for the whole weekend, not only Black Friday. This year, the day falls on Friday, 25 November and soon retailers will start bombarding us with their Black Friday offers.
With so many special offers available – in stores and online – the temptation to buy more than your personal budget allows, will be strong. And when everyone around you is on a mad shopping spree, the fear of missing out (FOMO) can be real, which is neither good for your mental health nor your bank balance.
Here’s what you can do to keep your budget safe:
Make a list of things you need, or really want and start looking around to see what options there are and what they cost. By the time Back Friday comes around, you are prepared to take advantage of the special offers. While you are making your list, take note of prices. You don’t want to end up paying the same – or more – for “specials” just because it’s Black Friday. Some retailers simply put a red dot or black sticker on items without actually cutting the prices, and in the heat of the moment you may not notice that you are being taken for a ride.
Know your limits
Work with your budget to calculate what you can afford to spend. It is a bad plan to pile purchases onto your credit card until it is maxed out. Even worse is to take out a loan in preparation for Black Friday – that is just looking for debt trouble. Unplanned debt can become difficult to pay off.
Know your money
Know how much you earn, how much goes out of your account, your monthly expenses and your balance. Check your bank statement every month to make sure everything is correct and that there are no unauthorised transactions. When you get into the habit of checking your finances regularly, you become more involved and aware of your spending. Then Black Friday will be less of a temptation.
Be a clever bargain hunter
The key to bargain hunting without breaking the bank comes down to a simple yes-or-no question. Were you already planning to buy the items you now have in your hands or your online shopping basket?
If the answer is yes, then getting those items on Black Friday is a win. You probably already budgeted for them and now, instead of paying full price, you get to keep some rands in your pocket.
However, if your answer is no, the retailers have got you. When you buy something on Black Friday that you didn’t plan to buy in any event, you’re going outside of your budget. You’re using money you intended to spend elsewhere, which could either mean you can’t spend as much on groceries or going out this month, or you’ll exceed your spending limits. Neither is a good option.
Never go bargain hunting just because it’s Black Friday. Rather focus your savvy-shopper skills on the things you were planning to get already. In this way, Black Friday can put you in the black instead of the red, and reduce your financial concerns instead of adding to them.