With the cost of living on the rise, a few good deals can really help ease the strain this Christmas. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or trading in a valuable item (like your TV or fridge), Black Friday is your chance to save big.
However, it is also easy to fall into the trap of overspending, buyer’s remorse, and even falling into debt.
Newsweek spoke to three experts about the mistakes to avoid on Black Friday, as well as how to get more for your money this year.
1. Picking the first opportunity you see
We know you don’t want to miss out on a good deal, but by throwing your money at the first deal you see, you might miss out on bigger discounts elsewhere.
said Katherine Cullen, NRF Senior Director of Industry and Consumer Affairs Newsweek that shoppers should take their time hunting for bargains to make purchasing decisions that are right for them.
“Today’s consumers are astute and savvy at shopping to find the best price and value for the products they want and need,” Cullen said.
“Retailers have responded to consumer demand by starting Christmas deals early and, in many cases, offering the same deals both online and in-store.”
said Trey Loughran, CEO of Purchasing Power Newsweek that an increase in stock means shoppers are likely to find better deals in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, rather than on the day itself.
“Over the past three years, we’ve seen breakout buying days stretching over an extended period, from October to December,” he said..
“Consumers should look beyond traditional shopping days to get the best deals that fit their budgets.”
2. No planning and saving in advance
Mat Megens, personal finance expert and CEO of money-saving app HyperJar, said treating major shopping days as a “year-round expense” can help you get the most out of sales and keep you from spending beyond your means.
“Saving money aside each month and naming the specific thing you want to buy at a sale is a great way to keep your spending under control,” he said. Newsweek.
“Psychologists know this trick works – achieving goals that you have named and visualized is much easier than trying to do something without having a clear idea in your head of what you want and how much it will cost.”
Need help managing your budget? We asked a financial expert to share his top tips.
3. Signing credit agreements without considering long-term costs
If money is limited but you want a big ticket, spreading the cost might seem like the perfect solution. However, you may be paying for this item for months or maybe even years. Not only can this have a significant impact on your monthly costs, but you may actually end up paying a lot more than if you bought the item directly.
“In previous years, people had more cash on hand due to stimulus checks and other economic factors, but today many consumers are finding that credit is getting more expensive,” Loughran said.
“If consumers don’t stretch their budgets responsibly, they could find themselves in a chaotic state where they have to resort to expensive credit options, which could mean paying twice the normal price of a product over a very long period of time.”
4. Falling into “Buy Now, Pay Later” schemes.
While “buy now, pay later” options have their place, they can also put you in a financial hole in January. Loughran said it was very important for consumers to understand what they were signing up for, as not paying on time could get you into a lot of trouble.
“Failure to make the agreed payment for a buy now, pay later program can have complex effects – requiring the consumer to pay late fees and potentially affecting someone’s credit score,” Loughran said.
“Ultimately, ‘buy now, pay later’ solutions are just another form of credit, and consumers need to be aware not to overpay.”
If you’re struggling with bills and loan payments, here’s how one mom managed to pay off $50,000 in credit card debt.
5. Impulsively spending money on things you don’t really need
At the moment, this discount may seem unmissable, but in the long run it can lead to regret.
Megens said retailers have many tricks – such as countdown clocks on websites or displaying the number of items left in stock – to encourage consumers to show off.
However, making a list of the “critical” things you need and sticking to it can keep you from spending impulsively.
“Black Friday can be a quick way to get into the red unless you’re careful,” Megens said.
“No matter how deep the price cut is, only buy what you planned on anyway. Don’t fall for the psychological trick of feeling pressured by time.”
6. Not checking the original price of items
You think you have a chance? According to Megens, it is not uncommon for retailers to deceive consumers with “false price reductions”.
“If you have a specific brand or model number on your wish list, check last month’s price to know you’re getting the real discount.
“There are plenty of shady practices out there, so beware. You want to make sure you get a real bargain on an item you care about.”
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