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How to Avoid Overspending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

For many shoppers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the signal to begin their holiday shopping, while it is merely a good time to pick up a few bargains for other consumers. With stores slashing prices on many items, it’s an excellent time to save money. However, it’s also easy to overspend.

This year’s holiday shopping will be different than any other year. With new shelter-in-place and lockdown orders being announced, consumers will all have to change the way they shop. The longstanding tradition of spending all night in line waiting for stores to open won’t be possible this year for many families. And while you may not be spending money in a brick-and-mortar store, overspending can still be a threat to your financial health.

If you want to avoid spending too much money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, use the following strategies to stay focused and keep your expenditures reasonable.

Eat First
One of the biggest mistakes you can make before shopping is failing to eat a good meal. Being hungry doesn’t just make you overspend at the grocery store. It can affect how you shop in general. Hunger makes it more challenging to focus, and it allows your emotional side to take charge. Instead of making rational shopping decisions, you may find yourself buying more than you should.

Access Pre and Post Black Friday Sales
Many stores have already started offering Black Friday sales pricing, while others offer early access to their advertised sales if you sign up to receive their emails. Even if you aren’t ready to shop early, knowing what will be on sale can help you plan your shopping strategy. The same holds for AFTER Black Friday sales— when the prices may decrease even more! If you take advantage of early-bird specials, be sure to review the return policy for each store. You may find a better deal down the road.

Shop at More Than One Store
If you want to take advantage of low prices, you need to research multiple stores. Many online sites and retailers offer a few spectacular deals to entice shoppers into their virtual or brick-and-mortar stores. They are hoping you’ll stay and spend more. If you’re looking for good deals during a one-stop shopping mission, you are more likely to overspend. Instead, incorporate a multi-store strategy that allows you to take advantage of as many inexpensive deals as possible.

Create a List of Bargains and Sale Dates
Before you begin shopping, create a shopping list for each site/store you intend to visit and include their sale dates. Some sales are time-sensitive, so you may need to shop during specific hours. Include those times next to the items you intend to buy. You can save yourself frustration and disappointment if you plan ahead.

Consider Doing All of Your Shopping Online
Retailers know how much competition they have, which is why they offer so many fantastic shopping bargains online. Plus, many retailers offer free shipping during their Black Friday sales. Even if you can’t shop online for all the items on your list, you may want to for as many as possible. Doing so reduces the amount of traveling, standing, and waiting in line that you will have to do.

Be Safe
If you can’t get what you need online, be safe when you venture out to stores. Take advantage of front-desk and curbside pick-up when possible. If you’re lucky, you may never have to get out of your car. Be sure to follow mask mandates and social distancing guidelines set by your county and state. And don’t forget the hand sanitizer.

Set a Budget
Avoiding buyer’s remorse is often more readily accomplished when you either set a single budget or create a bunch of mini-budgets. Once you max out on your spending and hit the self-imposed threshold, you need to stop shopping. It is important not to increase your limit simply because you see additional bargains for the taking.

Shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be expensive. With so many discounted items to choose from, you may get caught up in the frenzy of getting a good deal. If that happens, you are more likely to spend more money than you can easily afford. Create a strategy and follow a few tips to avoid overspending this year during the Black Friday sales.

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