Contributed by Bob J.

Black Friday Sale

Black Friday – a day of joyful shopping or a day of angry crowds?  It all depends on how you look at it.  The stores are full of deals, some of which are too hard to resist.  But with all the crowds, people grabbing and shoving and stores opening at 12 am or earlier, how can you survive?  Here are four ideas that can make a difference:

Make a budget. Look at your finances realistically and see how much you have available to spend.  Do you feel pressure to spend a lot? Ask yourself why.  Tell yourself that you don’t need to spend more than you can afford.  39% of Americans don’t finish paying off their holiday debt by the following holiday.  First figure out your budget, next ask yourself how many gifts you can afford to buy, then make your list of gift ideas.

Make a list.  Who are you buying for?   What do they want? What do they love?  Remember you do not need to buy for everyone.  You can also give an assortment of homemade cookies to those you feel on the fence about.

Make a plan. Check the ads in advance.  Check to see who has the best deal.  Prices can be different in the store than online for this weekend so paper fliers and newspaper ads may be a better bet than checking online.  Make a list of which stores to visit and map out your route so you don’t get frustrated by having to backtrack.

Avoid the hype.  You are going to see a lot of stuff on sale. It will all look good. After all if you buy something on sale, you are saving money. But if you buy something on sale that you do not need, you are wasting money. Stick to the plan, the budget and the list. By the time you get home, you will have forgotten about all of those bargains.

What is your holiday shopping plan? We invite you to comment in the box below.