By Crystal Paine
Author of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and this year, retailers are readying their Black Friday sales earlier than ever. Here’s how you can be sure you get the best bargainsand finish your holiday shopping without breaking the bank.
1. Create a master list and budget. Take an hour over the next few days to jot down a master list of all the things you need and/or hope to buy on Black Friday. Then, look at your bank account to determine how much money you have to work with.
Take your master list and scour the Black Friday ads online to see which stores have the best deals on the items you need to buy. Use the free downloadable Black Friday Shopping List to record the prices and track the sales.
2. Prioritize your items—with your budget in mind. Once you’ve made a list of all the sales and items you’re interested in, circle those items that are the best deals and prices. Pare down this list until all items you plan to purchase also fit into your Black Friday budget.
Prioritize your list based on needs first. If you have extra wiggle room in your budget, you can also splurge on some fun things, too. But remember, no matter how low the price, it’s not a deal for you if you don’t have the money to pay for it.
3. Make your shopping plan. Take your prioritized list of purchases and use it to make a detailed Black Friday shopping plan of what stores you need to stop at in which order. Use these Black Friday Printable Shopping Lists to help you stay organized.
When making your plan, be sure to check what time each store opens, when their door-buster sales are, and also consider which items will probably sell most quickly. This will save you the frustration of showing up when a store is closed or driving 10 miles out of the way to discover a store is already sold out of everything you planned to buy.
Happy Black Friday shopping!
Crystal Paine is a homeschooling mom of three and the founder of MoneySavingMom.com, one of the top personal finance blogs on the web. Pre-order a copy of her first book, The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget (out Jan. 10). For more of Crystal’s tips, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.