It’s approaching that time of year when the Black Friday fever grips the nation. As one the most anticipated days of the year for shoppers across the country, Black Friday is a prelude to the holiday season where shoppers get a head start on Christmas shopping for gifts, and other consumer items they need for their households. In Canada alone, $4.6 billion is expected to be spent in 2021, with the Retail Council of Canada’s survey of 2500 Canadians finding that average spend is expected to be $792 per person! These numbers not only illustrate the importance of the day to retailers, but also represent potential financial risks to consumers in the absence of sound financial habits. In this article, we therefore discuss how you can buy the Black Friday items you need without taking on unsustainable financial burdens.
Am I really saving money on Black Friday?
Before we explore good financial practices, it’s worth understanding whether you actually do save money on Black Friday by buying discounted items. The answer is that it depends! It may depend on what retailer you shop from, as 6.2% of Canadians think that some retailers inflate prices before Black Friday, making the ‘discounted’ price meaningless as it is a return to the normal price.
However, more importantly, it depends on how disciplined you remain as a shopper. If you are shopping online, e-commerce sites often display other smaller items at the time of checkout as “you may also like” or “other shoppers also bought this” messages. Adding these items to your cart increases your spending, which may increase your shopping bill, regardless of the discounts on the items. If you are shopping in-store, browsing through various items before finding the one you want may cause you to pick up something that you didn’t necessarily come for. These are all casual habits that can add up to a larger bill. As such, we will talk about a few ways you can avoid these temptations below.
The Importance of Budgeting
We start with the fundamental building block of personal finance: budgeting. By having a clear understanding of your cash inflows (your income from your job, investments, side gigs, etc.) and cash outflows (expenses including rent/mortgage, food, transport, etc.), you have a better view of your capacity to spend on Black Friday. Ideally, you don’t want to spend more than what you bring in each month, so make sure you track your pay stubs and expenses closely to be precise in your budgeting.
Some other tips for budgeting include:
Draw up a list of things you need and rank them by order of priority. On Black Friday, use that list to pick up the items you need first before moving on to the ‘wants’ on your list (provided your budget permits, of course).
Shop online if you can. That way, you can track your expenses side-by-side with each purchase you make instead of having to keep a running count in your head, or on your smartphone, as you shop. It will also save you from the temptations of buying that ‘just one extra thing’
How can I save the most money on Black Friday? By researching in advance!
Now that we have talked about the importance of managing your money prudently on Black Friday, let’s talk about how you can save the most money by obtaining the best deals. In this regard, some time and research beforehand go a long way in helping you identify where the best deals are. About a month or two before Black Friday, examine the items you’re looking to snap up on the day and list their prices down in a spreadsheet. On Black Friday, go on to the sites again to see the difference pre- and post-discount. This helps you compare and understand the exact dollar value of savings you stand to gain.
Rewards and Cash Back: What to Look Out for
Using a credit card that offers rewards or cash backs, you can earn some money back by using the right card in the right quantities. While there are hundreds of different credit cards available, it is best to pick one that fits your lifestyle and spending preferences and use it responsibly.
Some things to look out for in a rewards card include the rewards earned on eligible purchases, the options you have to redeem your rewards, and the annual fees charged for holding the card. On a cash back card, you primarily want to look at the rate of cash back you stand to earn on purchases.
The holidays are a time for joy – don’t put undue stress on yourself by taking on credit card debts that you cannot handle.
If you find that after using all of the above tips, you are still falling somewhat short on your income as compared to expenses, taking out a small loan to help you cover the debt may be an option, as these loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards.
However, please ensure that you work with a trusted lender, and read the terms and conditions carefully. Our team at Magicalcredit.ca will be glad to assist you in finding a loan personalized for your unique needs.