Black Friday is already here. Not the day. But the sales.
Historically, Black Friday sales were on, well, Friday. But now, the sales are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…you get the idea. Black Friday is now more of a season than a day. Which means you have an even greater opportunity to find yourself in January with a little bit of Christmas debt and a lot of Christmas regret.
So how do you avoid being one of those individuals who spends more than they should this year? You need a strategy. And here are some ways to do it.
- Look at your 2018 giving total. Remember that financial health is founded on generosity. And debt is a generosity-killer. What you were able to give (or not give) in 2018 relates to how much was spent. Limiting your spending now frees you up for future generosity.
- Set your budget. Set your budget. And set your budget. If you don’t know your limit, you will overspend. Justifying the extra purchases are too easy. There are two budgets you should know—your household and your Christmas budget. Your Christmas budget should fit within your household budget. Do not establish your Christmas budget without considering how it impacts your household budget. Once you have determined how much you can spend this Christmas in light of your household budget, stick to it.
- Get rid of your feelings. I know, this sounds very Grinch-like. But your emotions can play a role in overspending. The excitement of the sales can feed emotions that lead to irrational purchase behavior. Enter the stores and websites with ice water in your veins. Get in, get what you need, and get out.
- Identify who before what. Figure out exactly for whom you will purchase gifts before the shopping begins. Write down the names.
- Put your blinders on. Horses will often have blinders placed on the side of their eyes. These blinders ensure that the horses can only see that which is in front of them, so that they don’t get distracted by everything else going on around them. During the Black Friday season, put your blinders on. Sale items are everywhere. Don’t get distracted. Stick to your plan.
- If you think you may return it, don’t get it. Don’t justify a purchase by saying “Well, I can always return it.” Those items rarely make it back to the store. Don’t test your ability to resist opening up that box containing a brand-new flat screen. It is likely you will fail that test and regret it later.
The Black Friday season is here. Don’t allow this season to destroy your budget. Be strategic. Avoid purchase debt and regret. Giving and living generously in 2019 starts today.