Shopping on Black Friday has become as much a Thanksgiving tradition as a turkey dinner. To make your shopping experience fun and financially sound, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Beware of special credit card offers-Credit card issuers try to tempt consumers by offering incentives such as no interest balance transfers, extra perks when meeting certain spending levels, and increased cash back in specified categories. No deal is a good deal if you can't afford it. Responsible shoppers will commit to spending no more than what they can repay in full when the bill arrives, regardless of how many bonuses are tacked on.
Know what you currently owe- review all existing debt obligations, tallying what you've already spent and committed to repay. This reality check may put a temporary damper on your holiday mood, but that's better than digging the financial hole even deeper.
Create a plan- Knowing who you're shopping for, what items you hope to find and, most importantly, how much you intend to spend is critical to a successful shopping day. Commit in advance to stick to your plan, enlist a shopping buddy if necessary to keep you accountable. It is very easy to be caught up in the excitement of the moment and get off course.
Find the best deals online first- Shop from home before heading to the stores. Compare prices online, as well as local ads you receive. Be aware of time restrictions, as some prices may only apply during certain time periods. Once you actually start shopping, you can go directly to the store you want and save on time, gas and frustration.
Remove all unnecessary cards from your wallet- Spreading purchases across multiple credit cards makes you feel as if you're charging less and can trick you into overspending. Choose one card for your holiday spending and remove all others from your wallet. This will help you stay within your budget.
If you need assistance learning how to budget and live within your means, reach out to CCCS of Rochester where you'll find legitimate help through a trained and certified credit counselor. Call our office at 585-546-3440 to make an appointment to speak to a counselor in person or by phone.