Let’s push pause for a minute, okay?
Black Friday is two weeks from today! Every other post you will read in this newsletter today — and for the next two or three weeks — is going to be filled with deals. Great deals.
In many cases, the best deals I’ve seen on a particular item in a year or longer.
Finding those deals is a big part of what I do here at KOAB. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer my annual disclaimer: No matter how great the deal is, it’s never a bargain if you can’t afford it, right?
Not sure if the deal is right for you? Here are four questions I recommend you ask yourself (I ask them of myself all the time!) before you shop the Black Friday deals.
#1. Was I planning to purchase this item anyway?
Impulse purchases aren’t necessarily wrong. I may not have been planning to buy something, but when I see it, I remember — oh yeah, we’re out of ____, and this is a great price, so I’d better pick it up. But impulse shopping can often be a red flag to something else going on — and it’s a good thing to be in touch with that BEFORE the credit card comes out.
#2. Do I have the money in my budget to pay for it?
Whether a purchase was planned or not (#1), I still need to make sure I have the money to pay for it. And not just that the money is in my bank account, but that it’s BUDGETED. You see, just because I have $2000 in my checking account, doesn’t mean I have $2000 to spend on Black Friday deals. That two grand may have already been budgeted for other purposes (in fact, it probably was) – since we spend & save all of our money on paper at the beginning of each month.
#3. Can I make do or do without?
Even if there’s a real need, that doesn’t mean that I have to make a purchase right now to fill that need. Sometimes I can make do with what we already have, or even do without for a while — especially when money is tight.
#4. If I decide to make the purchase, am I getting the very best price I can?
#4 is where I come in. And this time of the year? No doubt about it – there are some of the very best prices we’ll see all year. But these aren’t the only deals we’ll see all year; long-time readers of KOAB know that there are still plenty of bargains in February and May and September. So if the money isn’t there right now, it’s okay to wait – when the money IS there, you’ll still be able to find a deal. And then that purchase will be blessing rather than a curse.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, I don’t ask myself these questions with every purchase. If I’m out picking up a gallon of milk or a pound of ground beef, I just assume it’s a need, that I can’t make do or do without — and yes, the money has been budgeted. If/when I feel an impulse purchase coming on, however, these four questions keep me honest.
I’d love to know how you balance scoring great deals with being a savvy budgeter during the Black Friday season?