There’s a lot to love about the end of the year as we approach the holiday silly season. But with that comes some reckless behaviour which should be kept under control especially with so many sales pitfalls coming your way. For example, be careful not to overspend particularly during the biggest shopping weeks of the year which kicks off with Black Friday.

What Are Black Friday Sales?

Black Friday Sales are getting bigger and better every year as South African retailers fully adopt this American custom. From clothing stores to supermarkets, there is an ever-growing list. With so many retailers getting involved and the amount of money spent on marketing, it is guaranteed to have consumers in a shopping frenzy.

For a complete list of all stores hosting Black Friday Sales, you can find it here

So with all these chips stacked against you, how do you survive Black Friday without smashing your precious piggy bank to bits and splashing your hard earned savings and leaving yourself thin for the remainder of the year? We’ve come up with a few helpful tips.

1. Ignore the hype

Don’t fall for marketing campaigns that make you feel as if you’re getting a great deal when you’re really not especially when it comes to buying on credit like buy it today – pay for it tomorrow. Retailers love to make it sound like the holiday season offers the greatest deals of the year. Sometimes that’s true, but other times it’s not really as great as it sounds.

2. Don’t get caught up in the moment

From the lavish store decorations to the music playing in the background, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. If you find that your shopping cart is overflowing, step back, regroup and make sure you can really afford everything you plan to purchase.

3. Keep gift giving to a minimum

There’s no shame in telling people that this year will be a lean holiday season when it comes to exchanging gifts. For close friends and family, keep it to one or two gifts. You don’t need to purchase everything in the store. There are plenty of ways to let people know how much they mean to you or that you are thinking of them at the holidays without spending a lot of money.

4. Let logic be your guide

There are good deals to be had on Black Friday, but be mentally tough to know when enough is enough. Leave your emotions at home and let reason be your guide.

5. Budget in advance

Allocate a certain amount of money for each person you plan on buying gifts for and don’t overspend by even a dollar. People think that a few dollars over budget are no big deal, but a few dollars here and a few dollars there quickly adds up.

6. Don’t pull out the plastic

Don’t even think of using a credit card unless you are 100% sure you can comfortably pay it off at the end of the month. By constantly putting new purchases on these credit cards, you’re not only responsible for the cost of the item, but also the interest charged if you can’t pay it off at the end of the month.

7. Think of the future

Ask yourself if you would rather have the short-term satisfaction of expensive material possessions, or the long-term results of financial freedom and abundance. Thinking of the future will help you make smart decisions.

8. Learn from the past

Did you overspend last Black Friday or some other year? Remember how it set you back financially? Remember how bad it felt when you opened up your credit card statement and realized you couldn’t pay it all? Really revisit that pain and how miserable you felt before you head to the mall this year.

9. Limit charitable giving

While that might seem like it goes against the spirit of the season, until you’re financially comfortable yourself, you can’t give what you don’t have. A little leftover change is one thing, but those who try and support every cause known to man but can’t afford to are doing more harm than good.

10. Kids learn by example

The little ones are always watching. Even parents who have failed to reach their financial dreams can still teach their kids important lessons about money during the holiday season. If for no other reasons, think of your kids and the lessons they’ll learn from watching you.

11. Secure your online shopping cart

It might be tempting to use your phone to shop online or transfer money while you’re waiting for your venti mocha, but using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions is like putting up a billboard emblazoned with your credit card and banking information.

Buy only from sites that encrypt your data. To check whether sites are secure, look at their URL, which should start with https — the “s” at the end is crucial. There also should be a tiny padlock icon in the menu bar. Otherwise, don’t enter your credit or debit card information.

12. Lock down your shipping location

If you plan to do a lot of your shopping online and have packages delivered while you’re not home, consider having them sent to your office or asking a neighbour to take in your boxes. That could thwart thieves who carry off packages left by delivery trucks.

13. Be smart with your smartphone

Not all apps are created equal — or even legally. Beware of deals that ask you to shop using a certain app, it may be ferreting out personal information and sending it to the developer. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your phone, download apps only from legitimate sources such as the Google Play store or Apple’s App Store.

14. Read the fine print

Doorbuster deals can be misleading, so double-check the ad before you set the alarm for 5 a.m. Does the price involve a mail-in rebate? Does the store carry more than one or two of the items you want to buy? What is the time frame on the deal? Before you waste a day on a deal that was really too good to be true.

15. Make sure the deal is real

That new cashmere tracksuit may seem like a steal, but not every Black Friday deal is actually discounted. Retailers are notorious for changing pricing throughout the season, so check several sources for benchmark prices and competing brands to determine if you’re getting the best deal before you buy. A well-researched gift will be the best bargain.

Don’t let Black Friday Sales leave you in the red

When it comes to Black Friday and holiday shopping this year, try to restrain yourself,  be smart and remember your January paycheque is very far away and there are plenty of holidays to cover as well as back to school expenses. It doesn’t mean you can’t still thoroughly enjoy the holiday season it just means you don’t end up breaking the bank to do so.

Should you want to know more about being blacklisted check out our post – The Consequences Of Being Blacklisted In South Africa

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