I love everything about Thanksgiving weekend! I look forward to the turkey, trimmings, parade, and football. I also love Black Friday shopping. Growing up, my grandmother, mom, aunt, and I donned Christmas sweaters and headed to the first mall. Then, we’d have burgers and eggnog shakes before we headed for the second mall. After we were home, we’d unpack our treasures and end the day with open-faced turkey and gravy sandwiches on white bread. It was the best.
I still love shopping the day after Thanksgiving. This year, my aunt and I will probably only hit one mall, and the big dinner is mercifully at my granddaughter’s house, so cooking is much easier. But on Friday, I’ll still wear my Christmas sweater and get my eggnog shake!
I know many people dread Black Friday, and although they blame the crowds, I also think that holiday shopping can be very stressful. I can’t help with all your shopping woes, but I can give you some financial tips to make the activity easier.
First, don’t wait until the last minute to do your shopping. You don’t need to go out over Thanksgiving weekend, but you probably shouldn’t wait until Christmas Eve. Procrastinating won’t give you time to compare prices, and you will typically buy anything you see without even considering the cost.
Next, shop with a list, and don’t get lured in by fancy “End Cap” items you don’t really need. If you can’t resist and make an impulse purchase, try to fit it into your list and cut out another item.
Additionally, use coupons and look for online discounts. Take the time to cut them out or download them onto your phone. Also, check for promises by merchants for refunds if the item drops in cost before New Year’s. Even saving ten percent can help.
I know we want our kids and grandkids to have wonderful holidays, but don’t rush out to buy something the minute children or teens express interest. Wait a few days or a couple of weeks to see if it’s a recurring request or just something they thought was cool. It’s also okay to tell them that you (or Santa) can’t bring everything, so they need to let you know what they want the very most.
The holidays are also an opportunity to teach our children to be generous. Let them donate canned goods or help serve a holiday meal for the less fortunate. It’s also nice if they can purchase small gifts for siblings or friends. Dollar-type stores often have many fun items at low prices.
To help with next year’s costs, track your holiday spending this year, and remember to include the price of meals. Then, create a savings plan for 2024. If you can’t save enough in ten months, you might want to spend less.
Finally, remember that the real joy of the holidays is spending time together, not buying things. Create memories—even if it’s as simple as drinking hot chocolate while you drive around and look at lights. Better still, revive old family traditions. If you don’t have any, make some. You and your family and friends will treasure them forever.