Thanksgiving is just one day away. With that comes all and food, family and friends, but some are focused on the day after Thanksgiving shopping and getting deals for December’s holiday gifts. Some stores are even opening at midnight this year for their Black Friday sales. With a full long weekend of deals, its easy to become overwhelmed and spend beyond your means, so follow these tips in order to keep within your budget this holiday season.
If you have been reading onesmartdollar.com for awhile you would have read our article a few weeks ago about saving up and planning for your Black Friday shopping trip, but if not no need to worry, we have tips that can help you even though Black Friday is this week. First, make a list of the items that you would like to purchase for yourself or loved ones. Know who and what you are shopping for. Many people get sucked into a bargain and purchase things that they don’t need or really even want. By creating a list, you can stick to and focus on making purchases that were planned instead of impulsive. Remember, you don’t need to buy something just because it is on sale.
Once you have created a list of whom you need to shop for and what you want to buy then create a budget. Creating a budget for each person and item will help you to not overspend. You should make purchases that are within your budget in order to not spend more than you can afford to. Although it may be tempting to buy that big screen TV or laptop that may be a great deal, you do not want to start out 2012 in credit card debt. End this year on a good financial note, and make sure you are not paying off your holiday purchases come the New Year.
Next you should create a game plan. This entails researching deals and reading store advertisements to see what is on sale, when it is on sale and when the sale it. Compare what is on your wish list to what the stores have on sale. If the products do not exactly match, do some research online to see if the products are comparable in price, functionality and quality. If you are planning on going to the stores right at the start of the sale, make sure you know when the doors open and if stores only have a limited quantity of certain dale items. If you really want an item that is on sale and only a limited quantity are available, then know the stores policies for lining up before the sale. Be prepared to wait for these items for a long time and for the chaos involved with purchasing frenzies.
If you want to avoid crowds at the stores, long lines and getting up at the crack of dawn you can also do your holiday shopping online. Some websites are offering deals all weekend long while others will hold off till Cyber Monday for their promotions. On the majority of shopping websites, shipping will be free for your purchases made during the sales. Make sure that you check what the websites return policies are. There is always a risk with online shopping that you may not love the product when it arrives at your house, so know if you can return it, and if there is free shipping on the return and if you will get back your money or just a store credit. If the online retailer has a store near you, you can go to the store ahead of time, check out the products you are interested in purchasing, and if its clothing try it on, or an electronic play around with it and then make the purchase online when the sale starts.
Last, remember you do not even have to shop this upcoming weekend. There are deals out there, but you do not have to take advantage of them if they are not within your budget this year. Shopping for holiday gifts for your loved ones should be a fun event and not stressful. So enjoy your thanksgiving with family and friends and then shop only if you want to and its within your budget. Make a list, create a budget, do some research and have fun with your holiday shopping. Our hope here at onesmartdollar.com is that you get a great deal on gifts for loved ones and you stay within your financial means.
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