The Hidden Money Dangers of Black Friday
The countdown to Black Friday savings is on, and this year, retailers such as Macy's, Walmart, JCPenney and Best Buy are starting their sales early, opening doors on Thanksgiving night.
But last year in the time period of October to December, credit card debt rose by $20.7 billion. While Black Friday is a great opportunity to save, there are money dangers to keep in mind.
1. Gift card incentives: This can be a great savings incentive, when used correctly. For example, if you were already planning to buy the iPad Mini, Target is offering a $75 gift card and Walmart is offering a $100 gift card with purchase. Love this incentive; however, it's something they will only allow you to apply to future purchases. So go ahead and buy your iPad Mini if it's in your holiday budget; but hold off on the rest of your purchases until you're able to apply the gift card.
2. Electronic accessories: Scoring a great deal on that Apple product, or television, or video game console you've been eyeing for quite some time is always exciting. But the money traps abound once you've decided on your electronics purchase. HDMI cables, phone chargers and all those extras you'll buy to support your electronics purchase will quickly break the bank. Hold off on purchasing these items until you shop around online. For example, a Samsung Galaxy car charger will cost you $30 in-store; you can easily find one online for under $10.
3. Impulse purchases: Well of course you need that video game that's $20 off its regular price, right? Wrong! Don't get caught up in purchasing items simply because they are on sale. If it wasn't on your list, you should walk away. A great question to ask yourself is, "Is this a need, or a want?" If it's a want, hold off until your budget can better support your purchase.
4. Some things are worth the wait: Not everything is a great buy on Black Friday. For example, the deepest discounts on toys generally happen in December.
5. Credit cards: Always plan your budget before you head out to the sales, and make sure you pay in cash, or that you have the cash set aside to immediately pay off your credit cards. While sale prices make it hard to resist shopping, you're not saving money if you end up accruing credit card interest rates over subsequent months.
Have you found yourself overspending on Black Friday? What are your favorite ways to save?