With the holidays just around the corner, and Black Friday a week away, you’re probably starting to thinking about all the holiday shopping you need to get done. From holiday gifts to big ticket purchases, this is the most popular time of year to go shopping (especially with all the deals being offered by top retailers). But, if you’re trying to save money, it’s also the most challenging time to stick to your budget.
How To Save Money & Be a Smart Black Friday Shopper
To help you save money this holiday season and be a smart Black Friday shopper, today’s guide features 9 must-read tips from personal finance experts and money-saving consultants.
1. Steve Siebold, the author of How Rich People Think and a psychological performance coach who is based in Atlanta, Georgia recommends setting a 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 is no big deal, but a few dollars here and a few dollars there quickly adds up.”
2. Wall Street veteran Carla Dearing is CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service designed to be simple and affordable. In addition to having a budget, she suggests you “Break it down. Knowing your total budget is one thing, but you also need to set spending maximums for specific items on your list. Work backward from your overall budget and plan how much you are spending on each person. Prioritize as needed; if you know airfare is a necessary expense, you may need to reduce your spending on individual gifts. And if you think this takes the ‘spirit’ out of things, remember that sick feeling you’ll have in late December when you realize that you’ve spent too much. Don’t let worry about disappointing your family force you into spending decisions you’ll regret. Instead, share your thinking about the budget with your family beforehand so that you have support for the decisions and choices you’ll be making.”
3. Kerri Sherin is a savings expert at Offers.com, a leading online savings destination. To help you save money while shopping this holiday season, she recommends that you “Buy discounted gift cards. If you know you are planning to shop at specific stores, plan ahead by buying discounted gift cards to those retailers. This tactic can typically save you an extra 3-5% on top of holiday savings.”
4. Kyle James, the founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com has been educating his readers about shopping hacks, frugal living, and unique ways to save money since 2001. During Black Friday, he says that the best deals are on “3rd tier televisions, clearance apparel, and budget laptops. Many of your door-buster BF deals are on 3rd tier HDTVs, also known as “off brand” televisions. Last year saw some pretty crazy deals, such as 42″ HDTV’s in the $150 range. But be prepared to settle for brands you have never heard of in most cases. Retailers really start slashing their fall clothing lines every Black Friday weekend. We are talking like 65% to 75% off at stores like Old Navy, American Eagle, and Macy’s. Last Black Friday we saw quality budget laptops from Dell ($150 at Best Buy) and the 14″ Chromebook for under $100. Look for similar, or better, deals this year.”
5. Leslie H. Tayne, Esq., is a consumer and business debt-related attorney and advisor who also founded Tayne Law Group, P.C. To help you stay debt-free while tackling Black Friday shopping this year, she says, “Make sure to track your spending and keep your receipts. You might want to take a look at this the following year and make it a goal to spend the same amount (if it works for your budget) or less.”
6. As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and seasoned communicator, Rachel Cruze helps Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She recommends that you “Shop online. Cyber Monday is the Black Friday of the internet world and occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving. You can find a lot of good deals without having to camp out in a parking lot all night or get run over by a lunatic parent looking for an Elmo doll. If you’re over the crowds and the madness of Friday, then Cyber Monday might be a good option.”
7. Speaking of shopping online, Sacha Ferrandi, an expert in finance and real estate, and the Founder of Source Capital Funding, Inc., shares an ingenious shopping hack that leverages web tracking to save you money. “First register for the website (provide your email address) and create a cart filled with the things you are thinking about purchasing. Then click out of the window before finalizing your purchase. This will almost always trigger an email response in a day or two from the website asking you to complete your purchase. Many websites also include a special discount code to entice users to get back into their cart and complete the purchase. Another way to leverage this web tacking is to spend a lot of time on the website, fill your cart, and do not checkout. Go back and click around on more pages. If a user is spending a lot of time on a site, this will sometimes trigger an interstitial advertisement (aka popup) with an additional incentive or discount to complete your purchase.”
8. Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert, as well as a national news contributor. To score you bigger savings on Black Friday, she says, “With prices advertised at all-time lows, consumers are easily convinced that coupons and other discounts don’t apply. However, it’s important to read the fine print and use a deals’ site like CouponSherpa.com to seek out extra savings.”
9. Aside from Black Friday shopping, another way to save money during the holiday season is to slashing your existing bills. Micah Pratt a financial consultant for Obrella, an insurance agency says, “Most people don’t realize, but the holiday season is one of the best times all year to re-evaluate your monthly and yearly expenses. Typically, companies are running holiday specials, offering additional discounts, and more, but because these expenses are typically ongoing we don’t think about them. Take for instance your insurance. Consumers can save hundreds of dollars by re-evaluating their insurance policy on a yearly basis.”
Sign-up for “The Haute Spot” to Save Money
Make sure to sign-up for The Haute Spot from Inspirations & Celebrations. This e-newsletter shares coupon codes, sales announcements, and deals from top retailers including Nordstrom, ASOS, RevolveClothing.com, Sephora, and more. By subscribing, you’ll save big on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and during the holiday season.