How Are You Paying for Black Friday This Year?
After Thanksgiving, the holiday gift buying season officially begins with Black Friday.
Since Black Friday is right around the corner, you may be already mapping out your purchases.
Once you’ve made this list, the next financially sound step would be to check it twice to decide if you can afford the gifts for each of those on your list. No matter how small or large the purchase is, you need to have a plan in place to know if you can afford it and what’s the best way for you to pay for it.
Build Your Black Friday Budget
To make your Black Friday itinerary, you might want to tally up how much you expect to spend in each store. Start with a budget. Determine how much you want to spend for each person on your list. See if the total amount you will spend fits into your expendable spending money and thus within your budget.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Then, once you have determined you can afford those purchases, make an envelope for each store with the amount you expect to spend there. This will help you be able to make your purchases in cash instead of charging the items. You may even consider buying a gift card for the store to avoid overspending while shopping. This could help to curb your urge to impulse shop!
Consider Alternative Payment Options
With larger financial commitments, you may want to consider alternate options for purchases. Remember that paying something off in full means no monthly bills and avoiding interest charges which would make the initial purchase price higher by the time you paid it off. Don’t leave yourself short on an emergency fund or with an empty bank account. If you simply aren’t able to do your holiday shopping on cash budget, consider these options:
If you can’t afford to pay for a purchase outright, you may want to consider a layaway option. Some retailers offer a layaway option during the holiday season. Before choosing this method make sure there are no fees or interest rates applied. If there are, weigh them against the interest rate of your credit card.
Create a Holiday Spending Fund
Even if you realize one month before the holidays begin that you know you won’t be able to manage your student loans and holiday shopping, you still will have enough time to save. Consider creating a holiday spending fund for Black Friday shopping or have a No-Spend November. That way, you’ll have just enough money in time for the great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
This comes with the massive caveat that paying for holiday gifts with a credit card is only helpful if you can pay off the balance in full by the end of the month. Or, alternatively, if you know you can afford the interest and manage the hit your credit score will take for carrying a balance. While certainly not the ideal way to pay for your holiday gifts, a credit card could provide some folks with a fairly reasonable alternative in a pinch.
Pick Up a Side Hustle
Picking up a short-term side hustle is a great way to acquire the cash you’ll need to pay for gifts. Consider joining a focus group, sell some of your artistic creations on Etsy, or offer your time and tutorship on care.com. There are tons of ways to pick up extra cash in your free time. Check out my guide to finding the perfect side hustle for even more ideas.
Whichever plan you pick, make sure it is a manageable financial option. Experiment with your budget. Make sure that you will be able to afford any payments on top of your usual monthly expenses. If it is too tight for comfort, forget about buying it! There will be other sales and you can think of more affordable ways to gift your loved ones! If you create your holiday budget and notice that your living on a “very tight budget,” then you might want to speak to a debt attorney or financial advisor to help you better manage your money. Consider speaking with an attorney at Tayne Law Group, P.C. to guide you in the right direction.