Business

10 Ways to Prevent Racking Up Debt on Black Friday

September 24, 2018, 10:07 AM HST
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Black Friday is only 60 days away—on Nov. 23, 2018. It’s never too early to start planning and preparing for the expenses associated with the holidays.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent $682 billion during the 2017 holiday shopping season.

To help save money, here are 10 strategies provided by TopCashback.com to ensure you have a smooth Black Friday.

Make a list, check it twice and set a budget. Black Friday shopping can be stressful and expensive if you don’t have a strategy in place. To ensure a carefree Black Friday experience, it’s important to set financial expectations and research items in advance. This will help you avoid overspending by nixing any spontaneous shopping. The best way to calculate your budget is to separate your spending into two categories: presents and household purchases, such as entertaining costs. First, make a list of all family and friends you wish to purchase gifts for and set a budget per person. Then, add the individual budgets to create one final price for the present category. Once your presents budget is set determine what household items you need. Don’t forget to research and compare potential household products to ensure you’re getting the best product at a discount.

Create a Christmas Club account. Once you set a spending budget, set up a savings account or holiday fund to avoid any debt. A Christmas Club, for example, is a savings account geared towards helping people save money for the holidays. Whether you look into a local bank or credit union that offers this short-term savings account or you set aside money every paycheck on your own, this will help you deck the halls stress-free.

Check the ads. Familiarize yourself with all the discounts and promotions this Black Friday by skimming through the ads. Check out your favorite stores first, but don’t ignore places you typically skip. Make note of where you can find your desired item for the best price.

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Or follow retailers on social media and sign up for their newsletters. With today’s technology, preparing for Black Friday is easier than ever. Sign up for your favorite store’s email newsletter, rewards program and follow their social media for the inside scoop on all their sales and deals. Pro tip: Retailers often offer exclusive deals to their social media fans that the normal public won’t see.

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Maximize credit card rewards. If you love a bargain and receiving rewards simply for shopping, consider opening a credit card—or even a debit card version—at your favorite store. The Target REDcard, for example, gives users a 5% discount on all purchases and free shipping online. Don’t forget to check your forgotten credit card reward points and cash in on a gift card as a present or to a retailer to purchase gifts or stocking stuffers. Often, reward portals will host discounts and specials on gift cards. Redeem your points and save the gift cards for the holiday season.

Have a game plan. Don’t make the rookie mistake of plunging into Black Friday shopping blindly. Craft a game plan to help you strategically shop. Prioritize retailers that have the best deals for your most wanted items. Jot down store hours and how long the promotions will run for—doorbusters usually have a limited quantity.

Start your holiday shopping early to help you better plan spending and steer clear of racking up credit card debt all at once. You don’t have to wait until the last minute to start shopping for gifts. Instead, get a jumpstart on planning and shopping early so you have a few months to purchase gifts instead of waiting until the holiday season. Take advantage of the end of summer sales and stock up on the hottest items for a discounted price.

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Shop smart by bundling coupons and savings. The easiest way to save money is to shop using deals, coupons and cashback sites such as TopCashback.com. TopCashback.com has a variety of popular retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Walmart, Target and more.

Cut unnecessary costs. Take a hard look at your monthly expenses and narrow down where you’re overspending. Whether you perform a subscription cleanse or start carpooling to save money on transportation, there are endless ways to cut costs and save money. Any money you “save” by cutting costs can go towards your holiday savings fund.

Declutter to create revenue for your holiday fund. Fall cleaning is a great time to declutter and free your home from unused items. Deposit the money you from selling your unwanted goods towards your holiday fund. If you don’t have time to host a garage sale, consider online selling tools like eBay, Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace to sell items locally and conveniently! This is a great time to take inventory of what you have and note down what items need updating. Whether your washing machine is acting up or you’ve outgrown your favorite boots, Black Friday runs specials on just about everything.

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