Black Friday and Cyber Monday…it’s upon us!

Black Friday Image
KJ: It’s that time of year again: Black Friday & Cyber Monday are just around the corner. As a kid, I never participated in the Black Friday craziness, but in my adult life, I have come to enjoy the tradition of waking up early (surprising, but it’s really not much earlier than when I wake up for work…), and braving the crowds at the stores. Fortunately, the crowds just aren’t that thick in most of the places we choose to go which means I’m not waiting in line or pushing through crowds, but I’m willing to sift through racks to find a good deal. In fact, most of the last few years we’ve used Black Friday as our main shopping day for clothes and items we’ve been meaning to get that we just haven’t had the time or budget to pursue. It’s almost as shocking to write this down and make this comparison as it is to actually participate, but Black Friday has some eerie parallels to building a good budget and getting on the right financial track:

Plan ahead
KJ: The last thing you should do on Black Friday is to just randomly go to a store and hope to find what you are looking for. It takes careful, strategic planning of which store(s) you’re going to and what product(s) you are going to grab. Know the layout of the store and what time you need to get there to get the product. Some items you are looking for may not be what others are really coveting, so be aware of the locations that won’t be an issue getting the item(s) on your list. Just like building a good budget and sticking to it, you have to make a plan, and follow-it. Don’t get side-tracked by any little thing that crops up, and instead keep your eye on the prize. Knowing how to plan for the deals and avoiding those quick, impulse buys are more than half the battle!

AJ: Getting a good deal while shopping is the jelly to my peanut butter. It is the key to success in our holiday spending and the necessary day to our overall desire to give to others. Making the effort to purchase items on Black Friday ultimately means we’re able to give more for less which is really what we’re all about in our family.

Know the deals
KJ: Do your research and know all of the fine print of the deals you’re getting. Use sites like to do your research ahead of time and know what’s available.

AJ: Finding deals earlier than Thanksgiving day used to be a real challenge, but that’s no longer the case. Most companies provide sneak peeks to loyalty club members and specific media outlets up to two weeks in advance. If there’s something you’re interested in specifically, search broadly for the item as opposed to looking only at specific stores. Even small shops offer incredible deals on Black Friday.

Create a list
KJ: The last thing that can derail a plan are unexpected expenses or impulse buys that crop up, so know what it is that is on your list (maybe it’s something for the house or presents for the family) and stick to it. The last thing you need to do is buy a bunch of things you think you “need” or “just have to have.” Creating a list will give you that extra will-power to say, “I can’t get that, it’s not on our list!”

Plan for down time
KJ: I feel like half of the fun of Black Friday is getting to come home at 9 or 10 in the morning, feel like you’ve spent all day running around, and wind down on the couch watching TV. Be realistic, and plan for a nap to break up your day…your work-self will thank you come Monday!

    Do you participate in the craziness of Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
    What are your top picks for this year?
    Tell us what you do to save a few bucks!

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