SOS Mom Saver: Black September

For those who don't know, Black Friday is the massively huge shopping day held the day after Thanksgiving.  It got its term because it used to be the first day of the fiscal year (which starts in July) that retailers finally got "in the black" or made money.  Every other day until then had been a "red" day...they had lost money.

As many of you know, what started out as a ONE day shopping affair has now turned into a 5 day affair with many "pre-sales" starting Wednesday at midnight, sales being held Thanksgiving day, and of course...the weekend after Black Friday as well.

So what's the big deal?  This doesn't start until Thanksgiving!

First...for many of us (myself included) it actually starts in a couple of weeks.  The ads start coming in as well as "unofficial" ad drafts.  I am one of those who watches the ads like a HAWK!  I have learned over the years that there are some things which you can guarantee will be a good deal while others...won't be much cheaper than you'd find at any "regular" sale.

The problem, though, is that far too many people don't plan for Black Friday.  They get overwhelmed and often buy too much &/or things that aren't a good deal.  Many will also get so lost in the excitement that they don't watch their budget...and swipe a card (or several) without even stopping to think about what they're doing.

If you plan NOW then you can be prepared and prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed.  I highly recommend that you sit down with your husband or wife NOW and plan (if you haven't already) what you plan on getting/needing for Christmas &/or the coming year.

Once you've made that list, do a quick internet search at Wal-mart, Target, or to get an idea of what you can expect to pay for the item at regular price.  If you see a sale price, mark that down as well.  Figure out what your "buy" price is.  Is this something you NEED and are going to buy anyway?  Or is it something that you will ONLY buy IF it gets to your "buy" price.  Determine that NOW and save yourself stress later!

This way, when the ads come, you're not just randomly see what's a good deal.  You're looking specifically for the items on your list...and ONLY for the items on your list to see if THEY are a good deal!  Make sure that you at LEAST have the money aside for the items you NEED.  You've got another 2 1/2 months before then.  Figure out how much you need to put aside between now and then to have the CASH (not a credit card) available for that purchase.  (Our philosophy:  If we don't have the cash, we don't but it!  We don't even HAVE credit cards so no cash is a deal-breaker for us!)

In the coming days, I've got some more tips on how to make your Black Friday less stressful should you decide to partake.  I'll also let you know what items you can generally expect to get "buy now" sale prices on...and which items you'll usually get just as cheap (or cheaper) another time of the year.  To top it off, I've got some ideas on how to make sure you DON'T go over your budget (It is possible!) as well as tips on how to get access to the ads early!

Today, though, I'll leave you with one more Black Friday don't actually have to go in the store!!!  That's right!  MOST of the time, you don't have to actually go into a store to get a Black Friday deal anymore!  Most stores will now let you order the EXACT SAME DEAL online!!  And to sweeten the pot, some stores will "unofficially" open the deals on their website at midnight even though their actual (brick & mortar) store doesn't open until 3 or 4 am!

Do you usually shop on Black Friday?  What have you bought in the past?  What are you hoping to buy this year?  Will you shop online, in the stores, or both?

As always, I love hearing from you!


Unknown said...

I have only ever shopped on one Black Friday. It was for a tv that, as it turns out, was completely in-stock several hours after we participated in the buying frenzy.

This year I will take your advice and plan with dh what we will be buying for the boys for Xmas (wink). If I happen to see something for a good deal, then I will take advantage of it either before or after the dreaded day...or online (even better).

Kim said...

You know that I LOVE the fun of shopping on Black Friday! This year we are looking for a laptop and "techy stuff" Like you we do not have credit cards, so because we plan ahead for Black Friday I can have fun spending money and shopping without the feeling of over spending or doing something wrong! Plus, it's just so fun to get a really good deal! :)