Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and once your plates are cleared of all the delicious food, there’s only one thing left to do: get ready for Black Friday!
In the past, my family and I would get up really early on Black Friday, stand outside in frigid temperatures, and wait in line until the doors opened to one of the biggest sales of the year.
We would all take separate parts of the store and divide and conquer. We’d all meet back at the front of the store to assess all of the deals we got our hands on before we went to checkout. I’m a little embarrassed to say that some years we’d need more than one shopping cart and even more than one car to transport all the gifts we “needed” to buy.
Now that I’m older, I look back on these memories fondly. I was a kid and teenager for most of these years up until we stopped doing Black Friday in this way. We still talk about these each Thanksgiving, and we laugh about how ridiculously adamant we were on those traditions.
Now that I’m older and have my own family, Black Friday feels different to me. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, my mindset shifted from a focus on gifting to a focus on experiences, making memories, and an abundance of family time. So, this year when Black Friday rolls around, I want to be more intentional with what, if anything, I decide to purchase. I know in past years after I swiped my card to pay for my gifts, I felt a little guilty about how much money I spent on things that I didn’t even know if anyone really needed.
This year, if you’re wanting to do things differently for Black Friday, I welcome you to join me in shedding the guilt and making a new tradition. Create an intention for one of the biggest shopping days of the year and move forward with a plan. Here are a few things to do before you head out to shop the sales:
Set a spending limit
You get to the checkout lane and see a three-digit number pop up on the screen. Yikes! Avoid feeling surprised at the amount you spent by setting a spending budget before you even enter the store. I recommend really sitting down and looking at your finances rather than choosing a number at random. How much money are you OK spending on gifts this year? Who all do you need to buy for? How much would you like each individual gift to cost? Having clear answers to the questions before you go shopping will help you know what to look for, when to find a better deal on certain items, and when you’re getting close to reaching your spending limit.
Ask people what they want for Christmas
Do people still make Christmas lists or is that just my family? While searching for the perfect gift can be fun, it helps to have a few suggestions in your back pocket to rely on. Take a moment to send an email or text and ask your friends and family to give you a few ideas for gifts they’d like this year. This will save you time and energy. Plus, with a list in hand, you have a better chance of sticking to the budget you set for yourself because you already know the price of the item.
Check the deals ahead of time
In the past, the Black Friday deals were kept secret until the day of. These days, you can find out what’s on sale weeks in advance. Take advantage of this shift in the tradition and look at the deals before you start your holiday shopping. Especially if you’re looking for electronics, you’re going to want to see who has exactly what you need and at what price. (Remember, spending limit!) Not only will you feel more prepared, but many stores also offer price matches, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal for everything you buy.
Speaking of comparing prices, make a note of the different prices you see for certain items. Many stores price their products pretty similarly, but on Black Friday, there is usually an excess of coupons and discounts that can be used. While this may seem a bit tedious, the process is actually quite easy. No matter if you’re shopping online or in a physical store (people do still shop in physical stores, right?), show customer service where you found the better deal, and they’ll likely honor it. You may only save a few dollar, but unless you like paying for something unnecessarily, this is worth your time.
Consider an experience over a traditional gift
As I mentioned above, the holidays have become more about creating long-lasting memories rather than about an abundance of sweaters, gadgets, and technology. A fun way to add this to your holiday tradition is to give the gift of an experience. Going to see a Broadway show, taking a cooking class, or going on a road trip are all great ideas! Plus, many of these companies like Expedia or Airbnb offer Black Friday deals as well.
Black Friday doesn’t have to break your budget or put you into debt. As cheesy as it sounds, and even with a few gifts too, the holidays truly are about making memories.
So tell us, what Black Friday deals are you looking forward to shopping?