It's coming! In less than two weeks the single day all shopaholics have circled in red on their calendars will hit us. It is, of course, Black Friday. Even for those of us who live in Canada, and are close enough to the border with our southern neighbours, Black Friday has taken on a life of it's own. I have co-workers who book the Thursday and Friday off (a year in advance) so they can stay in a motel in the U.S overnight on Thursday - shop their brains out on Friday - and bring back more stuff duty-free because they've stayed a 24 hour period. Wow!
So what are my thoughts on Black Friday? Truthfully - I have to say that I see it as a good opportunity to practice smart money thinking on everyone's part. If you see a store has something you really need, or a gift you plan on getting for someone for Christmas anyhow, at a really good price - go for it! But ONLY IF you can work it into your already pre-determined budget. Don't spend the electricity payment on that 42" LED-HD TV if it will set you back a month on your bills. Also - do not rack up the credit card because then you're just adding interest to the whole equation. But if you've got money saved, this may be a good chance to save a few dollars on already planned purchases.
The key is to be smart about it. I hope everyone knows by now that stores will put just a few items on major price slash to get you in the door. Other items are then only slightly discounted or at regular price but 'labelled' as sale items with an inflated original price. Do your research between now and next Friday and figure out exactly what you are going to buy and stick to your list. It's the impulse items which end up breaking the bank as you walk around the store with your prized purchase already in the cart.
The Black Friday Freakout doesn't have to end up putting you in dire financial straits heading into the holidays. Use it as a chance to set yourself up with a few gifts in the closet and a few dollars saved still in your bank account at the end of the day.