If someone mentions the last weekend in November, what comes to mind? The arrival of snow? The Holidays? American Thanksgiving? For a lot of Canadians, the answer is Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become known for their big discounts and limited-time deals on must-have items. Did you know, Black Friday gets its name because many retailers have traditionally made enough sales to put them in the black (making a profit) for the remainder of the year?
We’ve all been flooded with ads for amazing deals and one-time offers leading up to this weekend and it’s easy to get excited about the doorbusters or massive discounts that these two days will bring. But, at the end of the day, is Black Friday really worth it? How will we feel when the bills come in and the holiday season ends? Will our purchases hold true on their promise of excitement, entertainment or contentment after this weekend?
In our current state of pandemic-related uncertainty and fatigue, we may be even more susceptible to these offers and the fear of missing out (FOMO). So, let’s avoid those feelings of discontent and added stress over spending too much.
The goal doesn’t need to be spending zero dollars, but rather whatever works for your budget and your family. A possible answer to finding that balance? Avoid these common holiday shopping myths by creating a Black Friday / Cyber Monday Survival Kit.
What do you need in your survival kit?
Item #1: A Shopping Road Map.
A common myth when it comes to Black Friday/Cyber Monday is that you should buy something because it’s on sale. To avoid making unnecessary purchases and spending more than you can afford, have a plan in place or a “road map” before you go shopping. Your road map should include:
- Your budget. If you saved during the year knowing you wanted to take advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, great job on being prepared! However, most people haven’t saved for this weekend. If you haven’t put money aside, look at your budget and determine how much you can spend and how much you can afford to spend on each item on your list.
- A list of the things you need to buy. Only include the necessary purchases on your list. Having a physical checklist of the items you need to buy will help you stay focused on the task and help you avoid making unnecessary purchases.
- A list of only the stores that you need to visit for the previously mentioned items. Do research beforehand and only visit the stores you know where you’ll find the things on your list. If you tend to overspend at certain stores, avoid them for the weekend or set yourself a time limit for how long you can spend shopping there.
- A timeline for how long you are going to shop. Just like it is important to know your spending limit this weekend, it’s also important to know when you need to “shut off” from shopping and refrain from going in-store or online. Once you have purchased everything on your list, try to un-plug for the rest of the weekend to avoid any promotional emails, ads, or social media that could trigger your FOMO or desire to shop.
Item #2: Cash, Gift Cards or Prepaid Credit Cards
Another common myth is that you’ll know when to say “no” to a sale. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this isn’t the case. Shopping sprees, especially during big sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, can cause urgency which leads us to spend more money without a second thought. It also creates the mindset of “I saved so much with that last item, so now I have money to buy this”.
To avoid overspending don’t just set a mental spending limit, create a physical one by only using cash, gift cards or prepaid Visa/Mastercard gift cards for your purchases and leave your credit cards at home. This way you will need to really think and plan out each of your purchases and once you are out of money, that’s all and it’s time to go home.
If you are only partaking in Cyber Monday sales, don’t worry, most online stores accept debit, gift cards and prepaid Visa/Mastercard gift cards as currency, so you won’t need to rely on your credit card for online purchases.
Item #3: A Shopping Buddy to Keep You Accountable.
A final myth is that everyone will be excited to spend, spend, spend during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is susceptible to the lure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you are excited about hitting the stores this weekend, find a friend or family member who isn’t a shopper and ask them to tag along for the weekend, whether that be at the mall or next to you on your couch. Share your road map with them – including your budget – and ask them to hold you accountable. There is no shame in asking for help and bringing a buddy can be a great way to keep you accountable for your spending.
When choosing a buddy, however, make sure you are choosing someone who won’t encourage you to spend more than you can. It might sound like fun to go sale shopping with your best friend or favourite sibling, however, if they cheer on your spending, entice you to buy something outside of your list, or you feel you need to keep up with what they’re spending it could lead to trouble and you should find someone else to join you
There are many reasons why you might want to shop the sales this weekend – and you’re not alone. In 2021, a survey from Finder.com showed 31% of Canadian adults, an estimated 9.6 million people, plan to spend money on Black Friday. The same survey conducted in October 2020 revealed that of the remaining “non-Black Friday Shoppers” 57% could be swayed to purchase with a discount of as little as 5%.
The above statistics combined with the fact that people have been staying home more in the last 20 months and perhaps saved some money, make the appeal of this weekend even greater.
To best prepare, yourself and your wallet for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, arm yourself with a spending survival kit for you and your family. Again, the goal isn’t to spend zero dollars or not partake in Holiday shopping, rather it is to find a way to participate that works for your budget and your family.
To learn more about budgeting for the Holiday season, or budgeting in general, check out our blog page. To get help with budgeting or managing your debt, reach out for a free no-obligation consultation by filling out our online form or by calling 1-844-4GT-DEBT.