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Andrew K. Johnson
Communications Manager/GreenPath Financial Wellness
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Budgeting Tips from GreenPath
(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – November 23, 2015) As we start the 2015 holiday shopping season, here is some money management advice, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“First, try and keep it in perspective when it comes to shopping,” said Katie Bossler, GreenPath Financial Wellness personal finance counselor. “While some people like to get all their shopping done at one time, rushing through it can cost you, especially if you don’t have a game plan for the two biggest shopping days of the year.”
Bossler shared a few timely tips to get through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as the rest of the holiday season.
Black Friday. Have a strategy. “If you plan to head to the stores in the pre-dawn hours the day after Thanksgiving, come up with a plan before you walk out the door,” said Bossler. Know who you are buying for, what you want to buy and how much you are willing to spend. So often we buy things because they are such a good deal, but it really ends up a waste of money. Don’t be tempted to buy more than you need, just because it's a good deal.
Cyber Monday and online shopping. Your inbox will be bursting with “TODAY ONLY!” bargains. Internet flash sales can be a great way to get a bargain, but, like Black Friday, before you start online shopping, take time to make a plan and stick to your list.
Many online sales encourage you to buy more than you need. Discounts or free shipping often are based on a minimum purchase. This can encourage you to spend way more than you planned and buy more than you need. “Sometimes, it makes sense to pay for the shipping and forgo the discount,” said Bossler.
“Don’t buy something just to get free shipping, thinking you’ll gift it to someone. Odds are, it will stay with you.”
But I deserve it! “There are the sales at every turn, you see stuff you want, and you buy for yourself,” said Bossler. “If you are trying to keep your spending in check, keep the focus on your list. Remember, someone is likely shopping for you, too.”
Kids are the reason for the season. We all want to make sure that the little ones on our list have a good Christmas, but how often is the box your gift came in their favorite thing? Think back to your childhood Christmas. What made them special? There is much more to making holidays special to kids, besides what you buy them. “How about a special afternoon listening to Christmas music and decorating the Christmas tree, watching holiday movies together or decorating Christmas cookies,” says Bossler. “Making memories can be just as important as what is under the tree.”
Lastly, in looking at the entire holiday season, separate your budget into smaller sections, making it easier to control your money. “Inside decorations, outside decorations, sending cards, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, cooking and baking can add up,” said Bossler. “Dedicate a certain amount to each category and stick to it.”
As for some final encouraging advice, Bossler says: “Focus your time on the things you like most. Keep it all in perspective and enjoy the holiday!”
For more information on GreenPath, or if you need help in setting up a budget, log on to www.greenpath.org or call (866) 648-8122.
GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit credit counseling and education organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt, student loan debt, and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 60 branch offices in 16 states. They also deliver licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). The organization has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. For more information, visit www.greenpath.com.