Financial Friday: How to Survive Black Friday (and the other holidays this time of year)

Filed in Financial Friday, Relationships by on November 15, 2013 0 Comments

Many of us in America feel that Black Friday is the official start of the holiday shopping season.  I beg to differ.  I believe Black Friday is the second official holiday in the holiday season.  I have friends and family who prepare for Black Friday well in advance of preparing for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  They are looking for deals and doing research early on what stores have the best prices on items normally they would not even consider.  This is the corporate marketing genius and simultaneously the trap of Black Friday.  We are so conditioned to look for great discounts, we often look for things we may otherwise never consider purchasing.  It has almost become a given we are no longer just shopping for Christmas presents for others.  We are looking for deals for ourselves as well.  Marketing experts have spun Black Friday from a one day event to an event that starts on the actual holiday (Thanksgiving) and rolls well into the next week.  The following Monday, Cyber Monday, is the biggest online shopping day of the year.

We have become a nation of consumers, but we can control what we consume.  Even though we see deals we feel we can’t pass up, there are ways we can stay ahead of the game and in control of our finances during this month and a half long shopping spree.

Shopping woman smiling

Save and Prepare

If you have to have that flat panel TV that will be $299 for 15 minutes only and the store only has 40 available, but 200 people will be at the door, save for it.  Start a Christmas fund—in January.  Direct deposit $15.00 per check into your fund.  It’s a savings account, but give it a name so you aren’t pulling from it.  It has one use only…to purchase your TV on which you will be watching next year’s Super Bowl!

Make a List—Early!

Decide who you want to buy for and what you want to buy early in the year.  If you see a great deal or a perfect fit for someone, buy it in April!  Unless you are buying something perishable, it will be just fine on Christmas Day.  It’s also a great feeling to mark someone off of the list in April or whatever other month early in the year.

Set a Spending Limit—and Stick to it!

Money is finite.  There are more people you know than you can afford to buy “the perfect gift” for.  You have to set limits.  It’s your money.  You don’t owe anything to anyone.  It’s important to remember the spirit of the season.  We’re giving gifts out of our own kindness.  We can make reasonable sacrifices to do it, but we don’t want to overspend and then spend all of January, February and March trying to figure it out.  Set a limit.  Decide what you can buy within that limit and then be comfortable with your purchasing decisions.

Don’t Go Into Debt

The holiday season is about giving and spending time with those we love.  We often get lost in the pretty shiny things we see in store windows.  We don’t want to spend more than we can pay for during the holiday season.  In this way, we turn the blessing of the season into the curse of the New Year and that’s not how we want to manage our financial lives.  Think about how many children pull toys out of a box, then would rather play with the cardboard box the toy was in than the actual toy.  This doesn’t mean to buy cardboard boxes as presents, but remember the gift is about who you are giving it to, not what cool thing you think they should receive.  Spend within reason and make the season a blessing for everyone involved.

About the Author ()

Jay Hurt is the author of The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship-for Singles. Personal experience, a liberation through faith and an appreciation for his perspective led Jay to share his insight on relationships. Dealing with challenging topics by confronting them with faith and common sense, Jay aspires to share wisdom to help others become fulfilled and blessed in their relationships. Jay lives in Nashville, TN and has two daughters, Kristina and Jalen.

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