Here Are the Top Six Mistakes to Avoid on Black Friday

With the cost of living going up, a few good deals can make Christmas a little easier. Black Friday is your chance to save a lot, whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or replacing a big-ticket item like a TV or refrigerator.

It’s also easy to end up overpaying, having buyer’s remorse, or even going into debt. Newsweek talked to three experts about what to watch out for on Black Friday and how to get the best deal this year.

1. Choosing the First Deal You Come Across

We know you don’t want to miss out on a great deal, but if you spend your money on the first deal you find, you might miss out on a better deal somewhere else.

Katherine Cullen, senior director of Industry and Consumer Insights at the NRF, says that shoppers should take their time when looking for deals so they can make the best choice for them.

“Consumers today are well-informed and know how to compare prices and value for the things they want and need,” Cullen said. “Retailers are responding to customer requests by starting holiday sales early and, in many cases, running the same sales online and in stores.”

CEO of Purchasing Power Trey Loughran says that a rise in inventory means shoppers are more likely to find better deals in the weeks leading up to Black Friday than on the day itself.

Over the past three years, “milestone shopping days” have been spread out over a longer period in October and December, he said. “Consumers should look for the best deals that fit their budgets on days that aren’t traditionally big shopping days.”

2. Failure to Plan and Save Ahead of Time

Mat Megens, a personal finance expert and CEO of the money-saving software HyperJar, says that treating major shopping days like “year-round expenses” will help you get the best deals and not spend more than you can afford.

“Putting money aside every month and choosing the exact item you want to buy during sales is a great way to keep track of your spending,” he told Newsweek.

Here Are the Top Six Mistakes to Avoid on Black Friday

“Psychologists know this method works: it’s much easier to reach goals you’ve thought about and written down than to try to do anything without a clear idea of what you want and how much it will cost.”

Do you need help making a budget? We talked to a financial expert to find out what we should do.

3. Entering Into Credit Agreements Without Thinking About the Long-term Cost

If money is tight, it can help to pay for a big-ticket item over time. You might have to pay for that thing for a long time. This could make your monthly payments more expensive than if you just bought the item outright.

“Back then, people had more cash because of stimulus checks and other economic factors, but now it costs more to get credit,” said Loughran.

“Consumers who don’t make the most of their money may have to use expensive credit, which could mean paying twice as much for a product over a long period.”

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4. Believing in ‘buy Now, Pay Later’ Schemes

“Buy now, pay later” options can be useful, but you might still be in debt by January. Loughran says that customers need to know what they are getting into before they sign up because not paying on time can get you into a lot of trouble.

“Not making an agreed-upon payment for a buy-now-pay-later plan can have cascading effects,” said Loughran. “The consumer may have to pay late fees, and it could hurt someone’s credit score.”

Here Are the Top Six Mistakes to Avoid on Black Friday

“At the end of the day, buy-now-pay-later options are a type of credit, and consumers should be careful not to take on too much debt.” Here’s how one mother paid off $50,000 in credit card debt while trying to make ends meet.

5. Spending Impulsively on Something You Don’t Need

At the time, that discount may seem too good to pass up, but it could be a mistake. Megens said that businesses use a variety of tactics to get people to spend money, like putting countdown clocks on their websites or showing how many items are left in stock.

But if you make a list of “essential” things you need and stick to it, you won’t spend money on things you don’t need. “If you aren’t careful, Black Friday could put you in the red quickly,” Megens said.

“No matter how big the discount is, you should only buy the things you were going to buy anyway. Don’t give in to the trick of feeling like you’re running out of time.”

6. Not Checking the Original Price of Items

Think you’re getting a good price? Megens says that “fake price drops” are a common way for stores to trick customers. “Check the price from last month if you have a specific brand or model number on your wish list to make sure you’re getting a real discount.”

“There are a lot of shady things going on out there, so watch out.” You want to make sure you’re getting a good deal on the thing you want.”

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