Black Friday – Money Saving Dream or Budget Busting Temptation?

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Black Friday, the day the retailers look forward to all year long. The Friday after Thanksgiving gives all the retailers a chance to celebrate or suffer, as it frequently sets the tone for the holiday’s profits or losses. Last year saw a drop in holiday spending as the recession took hold, the first drop in years. What does this holiday season of spending look like? Those of us on the other end of the professional marketers’ spear, who have to do our best to avoid over-spending during this day are in the crosshairs. We will be bombarded by advertisements, and recommendations for who has the best prices.Unfortunately this sort of hype works. Who can forget the video shots of those riots a couple of years ago, where someone was killed by a horde of shoppers. So how do we prevent over-spending, while still enjoying the traditions of shopping on Black Friday?1. Make sure you have a spending limit and stick to it. Maybe carry your money in cash (safely of course), leave credit cards at home-similar to what some gamblers do to keep from over gambling. You can only spend the money you take.2. Make sure you have a list with prices of your planned purchases. Part of the fun of this day, is the excitement of finding something you were going to buy, at a better price than you had planned to spend!3. To find the best prices, and decide where to shop, do your due diligence. Scan the shopping ads, and do your online research. Check sites on the web for comparison shopping. See this question at Cash Commons, a great new site for personal finance questions on this subject.4. Frequently the best buys are early in the morning-you can’t be everywhere at once-so pick your battles-based on the amount of savings on items you have on your must-buy list.5. Enjoy the company of friends and family, make the day an adventure, and don’t feel left out or depressed if you are not sliding that credit card through the slot every few minutes.So let the fun begin. Have a great day, shopping and hanging out with your friends and family. Just remember, any purchases made on your credit cards, will come back to haunt you next month while you are finishing up your holiday shopping. Don’t let Black Friday, lead you into a Black January when your money runs out before your bills do.