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Shopping Responsibly on Black Friday

by Ryan Guina

Black Friday is right around the corner, which means lots of crowds and big savings. Now is the time to start planning – not necessarily for the deals you will seek, but how to shop responsibly.

Shopping responsibly on Black Friday

Set a budget. It’s easy to get swept away in the spur of the moment by all the “deals” you will find on Black Friday. But you aren’t really saving money unless you were planning on buying that item at a higher price. Make a list, set a budget, and avoid overspending this holiday season.

Plan your shopping trip in advance. This goes hand in hand with your budget. Make a “to buy” list and a “wish list” and only fill the “wish list” after you fill your “to buy” list, and only if you have room in your budget. It also helps to plan which stores you will visit and when.

Determine if the deals are really deals. Most stores only have limited numbers of the premium items, so your best chance at getting the doorbuster deal that you want is to get there early – sometimes hours before the store opens so you can be first in line. If your time is worth the savings and inconvenience of waiting several hours in line, then the deal is worth it. Be sure to factor in your time when deciding how much money you are actually saving.

Use credit cards wisely. To avoid high interest finance charges, don’t spend more than you can pay off this month. The best rule of thumb is that if you can’t afford to buy it in cash, don’t put in on your credit card.

Watch out for store credit card promotions. Saving 10% on your first purchase sounds like a great deal, but not all credit cards are created equally. Opening store credit cards can actually be worse than opening a standard credit card – they count differently against your credit score and they often come with higher interest rates, making them a more expensive long term option if you don’t pay them off immediately. Instead, consider using cash rewards credit cards, which are often a much better deal than store credit cards. Some of them even offer cash bonuses for new accounts, which are often worth more than the 10% you might get for signing up for a store credit card.

Shop online. If you prefer to avoid the crowds on Black Friday, then you can do your shopping online (this is my preference). You may miss out on some of the “doorbuster deals” if you shop online, but you probably wouldn’t have been able to get them anyway unless you were willing to stand inline for hours before the store opened. Again, shop with a budget and avoid putting too much on your credit cards. A good way to avoid credit card debt is to shop online without a credit card. You can pay for your online shopping through your bank account with eBillme, and you even get a 1% rebate on future purchases. It’s similar to a rewards credit card, without the credit card.

Have fun and remember the reason of the season. Black Friday can be a busy and stressful day. So take a step back and remember why we celebrate the Christmas season.

Here are more tips for shopping responsibly this holiday season:


Published or updated November 23, 2009.
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miranda

Thanks for including my Moolanomy article!

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2 Rick Francis@PonderingMoney

>But you aren’t really saving money unless you were planning on buying that item at a higher price

I guess great minds think alike, I came up with the exact same point for my post today! How else could “Saving” thousands make you broke?

-Rick Francis

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3 Craig

Online may help but there is something about the whole shopping experience, especially during holiday times. Deals can be great, get there early and stick to exactly what you plan on getting.

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4 Ken

The store credit card offers are endless…always having to say no that temptation.

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5 Anaida

I agree with you Craig. I suppose online shopping is a better option to save dollars as well as get rid of crowd and queue. And, cash back websites like AAfter Search, BigCrumbs and ShopAtHome are the hottest and most lucrative trend of these days.

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