How to shop Black Friday while keeping your spending under control

How to shop Black Friday while keeping your spending under control
(Image credit: Getty)

Even the savviest shoppers can get lured in by Black Friday, as retailers everywhere attempt to persuade you that you’re saving money when often you’re still spending big. If you have the financial means to do so, then the best Black Friday USA deals 2020 are undoubtedly the right time for you to buy your Holiday gifts and whatever else you might need or want.  

But if the purse strings are a bit tighter in your household, trying not to overspend is a must. The best credit cards might tempt and the endless Black Friday adverts draw you in, but some people quite simply need to stay strong. Making a list of all that you need, and thinking carefully before you buy, can both help ensure that you’ll only buy what you can afford and at the best price. But of course, the real challenge is to try to resist the type of “buy one get one half price” deals that can see you unnecessarily end up with an oversized TV for that spare bedroom that never gets used. Here’s some tips that might help:

Work out a budget

Rather than setting out to buy items as you spot them, take the time to make a budget prior to starting your shop. Use a pen and paper, find that budgeting app on your phone, or load up the best personal finance software - however you like to manage your money, now's the time to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend. 

The difficult part, of course, is sticking to your budget. To ward off temptation, it’s usually best to prioritize what you want to buy. So if you’re searching for Holiday gifts, start with those who are most important to you and on whom you’re likely to spend the most. Then if you do find your budget isn’t going to stretch as far as you thought, it’s usually simpler to compromise on the smaller gifts intended for those that you’re not quite so emotionally attached to as your very nearest and dearest.  

How to shop Black Friday while keeping your spending under control

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Check for other deals 

The Holiday sales have definitely started earlier this year, and that’s good news, as it means you’ve got more time to check between retailers and make sure you’re getting the very best deal. Even if you see exactly what you want in a sale with one retailer, take a second to load up your phone or open another tab on your laptop, and quickly check that you definitely can’t get it cheaper somewhere else. 

And if you’re looking for something in particular, keep an eye on websites that will do the hard work for you, and highlight the very best deals around, as we’re doing with certain items. As well as our main Black Friday hub, we’ve got pages specially dedicated to keeping you up to date with the very best deals on each of the following areas, doing all the hard work of researching so that you don’t have to:

Cash over card… and stay strong

If you’re someone who buys on impulse, then perhaps the best way to stay on budget is to take away your ability to overspend. This means heading to the stores armed only with cash and not a credit card. Of course, this won’t work when you’re shopping online, so the golden rule here is to keep tabs on what you lay out on your debit or credit card, and be strong when you’ve spent all that you’ve budgeted to spend. 

Use a credit card for rewards… if you can pay it off

When it comes to a choice between a debit or credit card, the latter usually has more to offer. Use a credit card wisely and it can help boost your credit score, without having to resort to the best credit repair services to do so. A rewards credit card, where you can earn cash back or points to exchange for future rewards, are also worth considering for the extra benefits they can provide. 

The important thing to remember here, however, is to only use a credit card for your Black Friday shopping if you know you’ll definitely be able to pay it off. If you’re thinking you’ll pay back what you owe two or three paychecks down the line, using a credit card probably isn’t for you.  

How to shop Black Friday while keeping your spending under control

(Image credit: Getty)

Financing options

If you need to make a big ticket purchase, a range of financing options are usually available too. Many work similar to the best personal loans online or are simply credit cards, but there can be other finance options that might tempt on the surface but require more careful consideration underneath. These guides might be specific to certain products, but contain useful information that can be applied to most form of financing:  

Be sensible and prepare for next year

Some people might be tempted by a personal loan or even a payday loan to fund their Holiday spending, but these are not the types of borrowing that should be widely considered for every day spending in this way. If you only spend what you can afford, hopefully you’ll enter the new year in a decent financial position from which you can prepare early and maybe start saving for Black Friday 2021. 

And finally, if you find your finger hovering over the ‘Pay now ‘button on something you really can’t afford, remember it’s best to stay strong now rather than having to consider the merits of the best debt consolidation companies to help you out of a financial hole that you didn’t need to dig. 


Tim Leonard

With over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Tim has spent most of his career working for a financial data firm, where he was Online Editor of the consumer-facing Moneyfacts site, and regularly penned articles for the financial advice publication Investment Life and Pensions Moneyfacts. As a result, he has an excellent knowledge of almost areas of personal finance and, in particular, the retirement, investment, protection, mortgage and savings sectors.