Black Friday is here and you know what that means – the holiday shopping season has officially begun!
In between back to back sales and special promotions, crazy deals here and there, this time of the year can definitely wreck your budget if you’re not being smart and savvy.
There’s nothing wrong with embracing the holiday spirit and enjoying shopping for your wishlists and gift list. So to avoid getting wind up in deep debt by the end of 2017, here are a few major holiday shopping mistakes to avoid this season:
Mistake #1: Not having a budget.
Setting a holiday budget and making sure you stick to it are the keys to a debt-free holiday. Before “Shopping Day 1” begins, take a moment to assess your current financial situation to determine how much you can really spend this year and from that, plan out how much you want to spend on every category – gifts, wishilists, decor, food, etc.
Mistake #2: Not maximizing your credit card and loyalty rewards.
Now is the perfect time to check your credit card reward points and loyalty cards, and use that in exchange for gift cards or merchandise. Most companies also run special holiday promotions for loyalty card holders, so it’s best to look at those in order to increase savings.
Mistake #3: Getting lured by crazy deals.
Looking out for deals will save you lots of money but at the same time, could do the opposite. Sometimes, you can get blinded with all those crazy deals and promotions that you end up buying things you don’t actually need and just waste your money. That’s why you need to have a plan on what you really need to buy. Make sure you only purchase sale items are on your “shopping list.”
Mistake #4: Not comparing prices.
Take time to search for the best value of things you want to buy. Look around, in-stores and online, and compare prices. Using price matching sites or apps like PriceGrabber is perfect to compare prices and track consumer product pricing trends.
Mistake #5: Not keeping your receipts.
Never lose your receipts and make sure to get a gift receipt for every returnable purchase. This isn’t just for accounting purposes, you’ll also need these in case you need to exchange stuff or want your money back for whatever reason.