The holiday season is a time of mirth and merriment, but if people want to spend New Year's with a cheerful disposition, developing a strong financial plan before going shopping could help their bank accounts substantially. There is a tendency in the United States to spend with reckless abandon during the holiday months, but there's no reason why Christmas or Hanukkah should put consumers into debt when the credit card bills start to arrive in January.
Just like with regular budget plans, there are easy tricks to ensuring that people don't overspend this season. Here are some good financial tips to stay in the black on Black Friday.
•Shop online – If consumers want to buy big-ticket items and not break the bank doing it, going through internet vendors is key. This strategy saves money by allowing people to compare prices from different sellers without ever leaving home, ensuring the best deal possible. There are also a plethora of online-only sales this Black Friday, according to The National Retail Federation, which also advised shoppers to avoid special holiday financing offers from card companies.
•Shop like a Santa – Make a list and check it twice, Citizens Bank recommended. Writing down all the people who needed presents and noting the dollar value spent for each will help shoppers keep a level head at the checkout counter, ensuring they don't buy multiple items for the same person or spend more than they originally intended. There can be pressure to give everyone a "wow-factor" gift, but as long as it's a considerate item or something the recipient specifically asked for, the amount isn't what matters.
•Shop early – Instead of rushing out at the last second and scrounging for whatever hasn't been bought yet, starting early in the season can ensure consumers don't wind up lost in picked-over department stores, Bankrate wrote. Especially with many stores starting Black Friday sales earlier than ever on Thanksgiving, there are more deals than ever for consumers to pick from. Retailers will be offering plenty of incentives to get people buying before traditional sale times as well, so as long as consumers are willing to put down the turkey and grab the car keys, there will be plenty of opportunities to get holiday shopping done before December.