For many, Thanksgiving is a chance to be with friends and family, some of whom may not be seen any other time of year. Delicious food, great conversation, and warm moments highlight many of the gatherings that create good cheer and lasting memories. It’s also a prelude to one of the most frenzied shopping times of the year.
Black Friday will be here in a few short days. As those sales roll through brick and mortar stores and across the Internet, keep one thing in mind – you don’t need to buy items just because they’re on sale.
Businesses will do their best to lure shoppers into their midst through glittering advertisements – tantalizing consumers’ sense of thrill, adventure, and wonder. These ads tease shoppers with incredible sales on everything from televisions, computers, and smartphones to clothes, watches and jewelry, parading these items across the pages of an ad or website hoping to draw in buyers eager to snap up these irresistible deals. It’s a time when most retailers claw their way into the financial black, or immerse themselves deeper into it. It’s also a time when shoppers dive into the financial red to purchase these incredible offers, or far deeper into the red than they already find themselves.
As enticing as these deals may be, resist the urge to splurge.
Not only do shoppers spend money they don’t have on items they hardly need during Back Friday, but they also pay far more for them than they realize. Purchasing items on credit ultimately lead to finance charges. Over a prolonged period, these charges can easily amount to the cost of the items or greater depending on the terms and conditions of the credit used to purchase them. A great sale is hardly worth it if a person ends up paying double, or more, to possess the item. Buying unneeded items during a sale also drains cash that could be used to build savings, money that could make the difference between enjoying a comfortable retirement someday and toiling away at work until the body eventually gives out from extreme wear and tear.
Buying items you don’t need is one thing, but what about items that should be replaced? This shopping season, make a list of items you need before spending a dime. Is the microwave on the verge of implosion? Is the washing machine making a noise that sounds like elk competing for a mate in the woods? Are the keys on your keyboard so worn that even spell check can’t correct the mistakes you make typing an email? This might be a good time to replace these items, but only if you can afford it.
Shopping sales for gifts to give to others is a noble gesture, but not at the cost of your future. If you have the extra resources to purchase gifts for others, doing so during a sale period is a good way to increase the cost-to-value ratio. The more value you get for each dollar spent, the greater the number of gifts you can share with others. If you have to use debt to purchase these gifts, try to find an alternative that doesn’t give a financial company a claim to your income. Becoming a debt slave is no way to celebrate a joyous time of year.
A good way to avoid the temptation of overspending this coming week is to make a list of items you’re looking for and can afford to purchase, and then sticking to it. If spending anything outside of necessities this week is beyond your budget, then avoid reading retail ads or visiting shopping websites. Steer clear of temptations and you’ll have less of a chance of falling prey to alluring offers.
Only you have the power to restrict your spending. Take the steps necessary to avoid increasing bad debt or decreasing savings, and you’ll have a greater chance at enjoying the holidays while also preventing your financial situation from becoming more problematic.