The day after Thanksgiving, also known as “Black Friday”, is the first of the holidays’ shopping big waves. It is the time of the year where retailers and online stores push their products to next levels. “Cyber Monday” was originally created to make additional offers to employees returning to work. Today, with more home computers, tablets, and smartphones, consumers do not have to wait until Monday to start getting the cyber deals. Last week we were even able to dig into all newspapers’ flyers online before they were in the streets. These waves also bring “sharks” closer to us. Scams, misleading offers, and increases in credit card debt are also part of this shopping “cybersea”. Here are some tips to survive these holidays’ shopping waves.
1. Be a smart shopper. Don’t buy things that you don’t need, with money that you don’t have to impress people you don’t know. Value your money and your time. I saw people spending days camping outside stores since Tuesday to save money. This could be a saving if your productive time is less valuable. If you know how to buy the things that you really need, you do not have to expend time outside a store. You search, search, and save until you find the exact deal that works for you. I saw people waiting days in a tent to then get a laptop what was not what they expected.
2. Plan your shopping well in advance. If you know what you really need, you can plan ahead of time and search for the right product and the right deal. Make lists of things you really need, not things that you just want. Narrow your list and you will discover that you already have something in your list that it is hidden in the clutter in your garage or your closet. Most of my neighbors park their expensive cars in the driveway because their garages are cluttered with stuff they barely use. Be generous and give away things that you do no use. Prosperity is about flowing and giving to others. Be familiar with your favorite stores and learn when they have special sales or clearance racks. Everyday could be a “black Friday” if you are a good explorer.
3. Avoid the holidays’ debt tsunami. The most difficult part of surviving holidays’ shopping waves is to control your credit cards. Many people start the new year complaining about their increased new credit card debt. Controlling new debt requires a lot of discipline. It takes several years to break these habits. However, you do not have to wait for a loss of income to control this tsunami. Extra expending is just an emotional gratification. Controlling what you expend can be done by planning ahead. If you plan well in advance, you may save money and use them avoiding credit card use. Giving is an art that should be a way of life. When you give your time, talent and money to others, prosperity will follows. However, expending money that you don’t have to buy expensive gifts is not the essence of giving. You can reduce your list of gifts and buy symbolic gifts that have more meaning and emotional value than a gift that will be returned to the store after Christmas. Remember the reason for the season. Enjoy the season by starting a new year without new credit card debt. Credit cards should be used for real emergencies.
In all cases, marketers will do the effort to keep us in the shopping waves all year. After Christmas, and New Year sales, we will bombarded by Valentine’s day, Spring, Easter, Mothers and Fathers Day, Summer, Back to School, Fall, and Halloween to start listening to Christmas songs again before Thanksgiving. Plan and control your expenses to be prepared to ride all the shopping waves. Enjoy the journey.