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How to Save Money This Black Friday!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there are many things to look forward to, one of which is a big Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Then there’s spending time with loved ones, and for the sports fanatics, sitting in front of the TV all day watching football. And oh yeah, then there’s shopping.
With each passing year, the Black Friday craze seems to be getting bigger and bigger, with stores like Walmart and Best Buy opening their doors at 6pm Thanksgiving Day! With the seemingly endless list of deals, along with the rush and anticipation of purchasing gifts, Black Friday is the type of concoction that can send anyone into a shopping frenzy. To prevent from going overboard this year, Aimee Helling, co-coordinator of the Inside Track, gives you tips on how to not go home with an empty wallet.
1. Create a Spending Plan
Before hitting the mall, set aside some time to figure out what how much you are looking, and can afford, to spend. Helling believes writing out a spending plan will help you visualize exactly how much you want to spend on each item.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in the impulse buying, so creating a spending plan will absolutely help you stay on task,” she says.

2. Only Use Cash
When going shopping with a debit or credit card, it is easier to buy something on impulse because you’re probably thinking, “I have some money on my card, I can definitely buy this.” But if you keep thinking this throughout the day, you will most likely spend more than what you were planning.

If you buy purchases with cash, you can see the number of bills that are leaving your wallet and it will be easier to control the amount you spend. A good idea to use when shopping with cash is saving the receipts for each purchase you make and putting them into separate envelopes.

For fellow shopper Helling, carrying envelopes really is helpful.
“What I did, because I love going out on Black Friday, is kept an envelope for each person so I knew how much I was spending. And it actually helped me. The year before that, I just spent frivolously and then I went home and I had way too much for one person than the other. I spent too much money.”

3. Shop Thrifty
As a college student, spending money is very limited, especially when you need to put gas in your car, buy textbooks, and pay bills. But what if you just want to squeeze in a little Black Friday shopping?

Instead of going to more upscale stores like Macy’s or American Eagle, try shopping at discount or thrift outlets. If you love designer brands but cringe when you see the price tag, try Burlington Coat Factory or T.J. Maxx. For shoppers who are not interested in name brands, make a stop at stores like Rainbow, Five Below, or Plato’s Closet.

4. Or Don’t Go Shopping At All!
Yes, Black Friday may be a good way to buy Christmas gifts for your friends and family, but there are also the cons: long lines, crowded stores, or out of stock items. If you do not have the time or energy to shop on Black Friday, opt to go the mall another day. Avoiding the mega event altogether will definitely save you money, and you won’t be tempted to shop on impulse.

Buying gifts is not your only option. Bring out your creative side and make your own! It can be fun, artistic, and it lets the receiver know how much you really care about them.
Blankets, T-shirts, and stockings make great homemade gifts, as well as Helling’s personal favorite, jewelry.

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