The holiday season is a time for spending. According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, the average person will spend $804.42 on the holidays, of which the majority is on gifts for family, friends, and co-workers. The deals and discounts offered on Black Friday are the biggest draws to shopping on this day. According to the NRF survey, 74.7 percent of shoppers decide where to shop based upon the discounts. The temptation to save with these deals on Black Friday can lead to actually overspending. However, you can keep your spending in check so that you are not still paying off your debt come spring.
Calculate How Much you Can Spend
The incredible deals and savings offered on Black Friday do not mean you need to put yourself into debt to pay for them. One of the best ways to not overspend is to create a budget. According to a survey by Accenture, most people do set a budget for the holiday expenses. However, 46 percent surpass their budget. To avoid overspending your budget, take time to research and create your budget so that you will not be tempted by other items.
The first step is to calculate how much you can spend, total, on the holidays. This total amount will include any food for any family feasts or parties, gifts for everyone, decorations, travel costs, and any other potential expenses you do not normally have. It will also include any amount you plan to spend on yourself, such as taking advantage of the Black Friday 2014 deals on BFads to finally get that HDTV you have been eyeing. To calculate your available cash, budget your income and expenses for the month to see how much disposable income you have. If you plan to use a credit card, make sure you can pay it off quickly; otherwise, you might end up paying more on interest than you saved.
Decide How to Spend your Money
Now that you know your magical number that you can spend, it is time to decide how to spend it. Make a list of the items you want to buy, including gifts for friends, family members, co-workers, and yourself. Then, including expenses you believe you will have for traveling, parties, food, decorations, and other expenses. Create a rough estimate based upon what you spent last year and what you expect to pay this year. See if that rough estimate is within your budget. If it is not, go through and prioritize your list. Delete anything you do not need to buy. You can also see if there is a way to reduce your normal expenses to give you more money to spend on the holidays.
Find the Best Deals
Black Friday has some of the best deals on a variety of items, which is why it is such a popular shopping day. With your list of items to buy, look through all the ads to find the best Black Friday discounts or deals on the items. This will help you to decide where to purchase the times. The discounts may also let you add items to your shopping list, but do not be too tempted. According to Ellie Kay from an article on Bankrate.com, people can go broke by saving money by being too focused on the deals and discounts, not on how much they actually spend. Therefore, always focus on the bottom line. The more research you put into finding the best deals, the better chance you will have of sticking to your budget.
Even with all your research and calculations ahead of time, you are still at risk of being tempted and overreaching your budget when shopping on Black Friday. While you are searching for an item, you might find another item that seems like a great deal and throw it into your cart, or you might be bored waiting in line and find something to add to your cart. The stores have put these items in these locations just for that purpose. You do not want to fall into this trap, as this will destroy your budget. Therefore, be vigilant when shopping by following your list and game plan. If you feel you will be easily tempted, take a shopping buddy with you that will stop you from buying something.
You can stay on budget this holiday season, even when shopping the amazing deals on Black Friday filled with temptation. You just have to put in the time and effort ahead of time to calculate your budget and decide what you are allowed to purchase. Then, you need the willpower — or the help of a friend — to keep you on budget. If you stick to the deals on items you want and need, then you will avoid overspending and incurring more debt than you can handle.
A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on Black Friday, the “busiest shopping day”, dropped from last year.
Holiday shoppers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the US this Black Friday, down 1.8% from last year, according to a Saturday report from the Chicago-based retail technology company ShopperTrak.
Those lower in-store sales figures were apparently impacted by hundreds of thousands of shoppers hitting stores on Thursday (Gray Thursday) evening after filling up on turkey and stuffing.
“Black Friday shopping continues to expand into Thanksgiving Day and will impact the way we look at all of the <<Black>> weekend results, since more shopping hours allows for more shopping visits and a smoothing of sales across all of the days,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.
Big chain outlets including Sears, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart opened their doors as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
A sharp rise in online shopping likely added to the drop in spending at brick-and-mortar stores this year.
E-commerce sales rose 17.4% on Thanksgiving and 20.7% on Black Friday, compared with last year, according to a recent IBM survey.
A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on 2012 Black Friday dropped from last year
Still, ShopperTrak said Black Friday foot traffic increased 3.5% this year to more than 307.67 million store visits – a sign that more people were browsing store shelves, if not making actual purchases.
“Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail,” Bill Martin said.
“This year, though, more retailers than last year began their doorbuster deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that’s usually meant for Friday.”
ShopperTrak estimated that foot traffic increased the most in the Midwest, up 12.9% compared with last year.
Foot traffic in the Northeast increased the least compared with last year, up 7.6% in regions that include those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.
ShopperTrak, which counts sales numbers from 25,000 retail outlets across the US, had forecast that Black Friday sales would grow 3.8% this year.
A separate survey from the National Retail Federation says holiday spending on both days combined will likely rise 4% this year.
Some positive signs of spending growth have been in the news in the past few months. U.S. consumer confidence rose to 72.2 in October, its highest level since February 2008 and up from 40.9 a year ago.
Yet many consumers are still worried about the slow economic recovery, high unemployment rates and a looming fiscal cliff.
The name of the Christmas shopping game for the next 11 days is pre-Black Friday.
No longer just a term to describe the days when consumers are waiting for Black Friday, pre-Black Friday has its own official space on the 2012 retail sales calendar, and the biggest U.S. retailers like Amazon (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Kmart (SHLD), and Aeropostale (ARO) are trying out some promotional moves in an effort to define the pre-Black Friday dance for the entire industry.
Retailers seem to have collectively come to the unspoken agreement that there’s really no fiscal logic behind waiting until the day after Thanksgiving before offering Christmas holiday shopping deals. So each year retailers dangle Christmas deals in front of online and in-store shoppers at earlier and earlier dates, to see just how soon Christmas shoppers are willing to put on their shopping shoes and join in the pre-Black Friday dance.
So, what hot deals and creative promotions do retailers have to offer to 2012 Pre-Black Friday shoppers who are willing to accept the new Pre-Black Friday shopping schedule? As is true for everything retail this time of year, the Pre-Black Friday promotions are announced often, and change quickly. But here’s some of the latest news from two of the biggest pre-Black Friday players, Amazon and Wal-Mart.
Free from any kind of brick-and-mortar history, Amazon was a notable first to disregard the Black Friday tradition, and because of that, Amazon is the retailer to beat for 2012 Pre-Black Friday sales. Amazon knows this, and is employing aggressive marketing innovations to maintain its Christmas sales lead. The mega Internet shopping site isn’t just sticking its toes into the pre-Black Friday sales pool. Amazon is jumping straight into the deep end of discounts right away.
Amazon Pre-Black Friday Deals
Amazon’s Pre-Black Friday deals so far include:
77% Off Kingston 16 GB Class 4 MicroSDHC Flash Card
60% Off SanDisk Extreme SSD 120 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s2.5-Inch Drive
Up to 70% Off Men’s Watches
60% Off Fishing Rods & Reels
Up to 60% Off Diamond Rings
Up to 60% Off Android Apps
Percentage-wise, there are very few retailers that are even coming close to Amazon’s pre-Black Friday Black Friday Deals Week.
Amazon is also using every technology and social media outlet available to communicate with and offer Christmas holiday shopping season deals to its virtual customers. That’s part of the mastery of Amazon – being able to build strong relationships with virtually no person-to-person interactions.
Black Friday is a day of huge sales at many chain stores. Consumers can get especially good deals on electronics, appliances, and sometimes even cars. Clothes, too, are often steeply discounted.
10 Tips for Smart Black Friday Shopping
Try to get Friday off work. Thanksgiving Thursday is a federal holiday, and public and private schools are closed on Friday. Still, many people including healthcare providers, retail sales clerks and restaurant workers will have to report into work on the day after Thanksgiving. So if you’re hoping to get big bargains on Black Friday this year, arrange beforehand to get that day off work. Note: In 2011, some retailers started Black Friday on Thanksgiving evening. In 2012, some started the week before Thanksgiving.
Avoid impulse purchases. The best way to do this is to make a shopping list before you set out, with some idea of what you want to pay for each item – and stick to it. When there’s a shopping frenzy all around you, having a list in hand is the best way to avoid making purchases you’ll regret later.
Scope it out first. You can’t be in two places at once, alas. Will you go to an individual store, like Century 21, or a mall? In Brooklyn, New York, you’ve got a growing choice of malls: the Atlantic Center Mall? Kings Plaza? Macy’s and the stores in the Fulton Mall? Or Gateway Mall?
Prioritize the most expensive items first. You won’t be able to get everything on your list, so you might as well save the most money on the largest items.
Make sure your credit or debit card is ready for Black Friday shopping. There’s nothing worse, or more embarrassing, than standing in line for an hour only to discover that your credit card isn’t accepting the charge.
Decisions, decisions: Are you a solo shopper? Or do you like company? For some, the motto “he who travels lone travels fastest” applies to shopping. Others like to bring their spouse, sister or friend. If you’ve got your eye on two very different big ticket items, like a TV and also a car, then you might need to enlist your family members or friends to help shop so you can get the best bargains early. If you’ve got young children, it’s wise to leave them with a babysitter; this is heavy-duty shopping, and kids won’t find it all that much fun.
Be prepared to wait outside or in. Wear comfy shoes, travel light and bring a snack. Wear weather-appropriate clothes, like a jacket or rain coat if you’re going to get to the store super early and wait online outside. Wear super comfortable shoes, too — and outer wear that won’t be bulky if you end up taking it off inside an overheated, crowded store. Bring snacks like an apple or energy bar, a bottle of water, and your patience. Lines can be long.
Work out your transportation: Figure out how you’re going to get to the store, and back. If you’re going very early, check the mass transit schedules or the parking situation. If you plan to buy a huge item, like TV, either drive or have the phone number of a car service handy.
Charge your cell phone or smart phone the day before so you can stay connected.
Even if you don’t arrive at 4 a.m. try to get there as early as you can. Some stores have limited quantities on the best bargains. Some end their sales when you might normally be enjoying your second cup of morning coffee. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm.
Ten Tips for Smart Black Friday Shopping
Or … Stay home instead! Have a bagel, stay in your pajamas, and shop online. See www.DealsofAmerica.com or just check your favorite online sites.
Brooklyn shoppers — whether you’re visiting for Thanksgiving or live in Brooklyn — have more than a few choices. You can go to the local Brooklyn stores and malls, which offer a good selection. Or, head to Long Island or upstate New York to the discount malls. And, of course, you can always head to Manhattan, a shopping Mecca.
Tip: Some experts suggest that consumers can buy an item in advance, and then bring it with the receipt to adjust the price on Black Friday. This strategy carries the obvious risk that the stores will say no.
Black Friday is the retailers’ way of enticing shoppers to start spending for the big Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season. Happy hunting!