Budget Your Black Friday

By Rosana Torres, Editorial Assistant

Turkey Day, Dia de Accion de Gracias, Action de Grâces or whichever way you refer to Thanksgiving Day, is right around the corner. That means so is Black Friday.

While Thanksgiving is exciting for the cooking enthusiasts like myself out there, there are some precautions we should take, because according to Red Cross, more than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving. Even though students are on break, firefighters will not necessarily be.

Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to giving thanks for what we are fortunate enough to have. Black Friday is a day dedicated to buying the things we think we need–at a lower cost–in the wee hours of the morning.

With this economy, many retailers have begun labeling Thanksgiving Day as Black Thursday. Shockingly enough, the usual Black Friday shoppers will skip out on Thursday night’s dinner to catch the sales. My concern is for the workers who will have to miss out on this special time with family. As a retail associate, I am personally opposed to having to work on a federal holiday.

Just like cooking comes with precautions, so does the event of shopping, whether it lands on Thursday or Friday. I’m not talking about the kind of carefulness shoppers should exercise when it gets crowded. No, I’m talking about the money aspect. A lot of people tend to overspend on this day, but by following these five simple tips, you can save lots of moolah on the day many retailers expect to make the most money.

1. Have a plan:
Follow a list of who you are shopping for, what your budget is for each person and stick to it!

2. Limit credit card use:
Remove all credit cards from your wallet and limit your use of credit to one card–the one with the lowest rate if you carry a balance on it.

3. Beware of special card offers:
Many retailers will offer special coupons and deals for opening an account with them–don’t do it! Many people will, which is why the total consumer credit card debt is close to $2.73 trillion. If you can’t afford it, then you can’t afford it!

4. Use layaway:
Take advantage of holiday layaway programs to buy yourself some time to pay for some of your Christmas gifts–there’s no shame!

5. Get creative:
If you are indecisive like myself, give gift cards and make something personal to go with them. You can also give special dates like a nature hike or spa day!

So, there you have it. This Thanksgiving break, make sure to spend time with family as well as take precautions while cooking and shopping for the holidays. After all, we have been working too hard this semester not to!