I’m not a big shopper. And recently, I’ve been trying to shop more ethically and locally. Keeping money in the hands of female creators and local businesses is one of my core beliefs, and something I use Bravely to do.
Still, a girl needs underwear.
I’m in a love/hate relationship with Black Friday. I definitely find it pretty gross in a lot of ways. The mindless consumption, exploiting of retail workers, and creating a panic around literal things is pretty gross.
I also use it as a tool to help me save the most money I can on things I’d have to buy anyway. It’s a ‘hate the game, not the player’ situation. I don’t blame myself or anyone else who participates. But I wouldn’t mind if we ushered it out as an annual ritual. Like I said, love/hate.
Still, while it’s here, let’s save as much money as we can! Here are my top pro tips for you to be a Black Friday babe.
Do your research beforehand
You simply cannot head blindly into Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Even if you stay online! You’ll die in the onslaught of sales banners, pop-up discounts, and the sheer amount of stuff that is for sale.
You’ll stumble your way through the store or through the pages online and wind up with that black lace dress that you tell yourself you’ll wear on New Years and to weddings, but of course you just leave in the closet because it’s too damn short and always was, even if it was a gazillion percent off. Some things are not worth buying.
So take the time beforehand to go in with a plan and know what you’re even looking for. To do that, take an hour and sort through your closet.
Answer these questions:
What do you love and wear the most and want more of?
What is wearing out and need replacement?
What are the upcoming events that you need special clothes for?
That’s the beginning of your shopping list. The hour you spend in your closet also allows you to try on things and see if your size has changed at all, or the sizes you need to look at for certain brands. (I have everything from a size 0-6 in my closet, because lady clothing sizes are a total joke.)
The next step, if possible, is to try things on beforehand. I waltz into stores all the time to try things on, and then order them online. Only when I know what I want and what size actually fits do I finally open my wallet.
Collect Those Coupons
I come from a coupon family, and I will coupon till the day I die. Why pay full price ever!? In the days before the madness begins, visit the sites of the stores you plan on shopping and see what they’re promising.
Lots of stores send out email coupons, so hop on their email list today. You can also check sites like Retail Me Not, to see if there are any other coupons or discounts you can apply. Finally, spend some time on the stores social media feeds. Sometimes those sneaky bastards release different codes to different audiences. Snap up all the codes and coupons you can for yourself!
Set a Budget
It’s all too easy to get swept up in the frenzy of Black Friday. They literally design it that way! All the companies out there want you to feel pressure to buy RIGHT NOW and to buy A LOT. This is a great deal! This deal is going away soon! Get it now!
Set. A. Budget. You don’t need to replace everything in your closet. If you never hike, it doesn’t matter what percent off those hiking boots are. You’ll never use them.
Be honest about your shopping needs and how much you can afford to spend. Literally the last thing we want is for you to go into debt during Black Friday. You can download our free budget template here and plug in your numbers to see where and what you’re already spending.
Budgeting is sexy and it’s freeing. You’ll see how much free money you have, and that’s where you start with your spending budget.
Get An Accountability Buddy
This one might seem a little weird, but give it a shot. Get yourself a shopping accountability buddy. Reach out to a friend or family member and tell them exactly how much money you plan on spending. Ask them to check in with you when the weekend is over.
Knowing that you’re going to have to explain those impulse purchases to someone will act as a buffer in some capacity. I promise. There’s nothing worse than having to explain to someone why you didn’t do the thing you said you’d do. Oh god, I hate it. Just thinking about it is making me uncomfortable.
I use Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to stock up on staples each year. It’s a habit I developed while I was deep in debt payoff mode and it’s one I’ve continued because it’s just good financial sense.