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7 Simple Ways to Prevent Over-Spending on Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the best days to shop to get fabulous deals and discounts but it can also be the worst day for your budget.  Armed with a few plans ahead of time, you can prevent buyer’s remorse and huge credit card debt that you will have to pay off in the New Year.

This list will help you prevent overspending on Black Friday by analyzing your needs, wants, and how much you should buy to stay within your budget.  It is very easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy of the holidays, but just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it is necessarily a great deal for you.

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From the time I was very young, Black Friday was a family shopping day.  We went to the store armed with our lists of who we needed gifts for, picked up the free donuts and hot chocolate at each store, and walked around with things hidden in our carts.

It is one of my favorite things!  The excitement of getting just the right thing at a deep discount has always been exciting for me!  My mom often tells me that she has never known anyone who could pinch a penny tighter.  So really, what could be better than Black Friday shopping?

7 Simple Ways to Prevent Overspending on Black Friday!

When you get in the moment of shopping and there is an urgency to the sale (doorbusters only available until 10 am) it is very easy for the best shoppers and budgeters to overspend on Black Friday.

Knowing this, taking some time to plan ahead and prepare will help you make wise decisions on Black Friday rather than making impulse purchases that you regret later.  You may not regret the things you purchased, but you may regret having to pay off your credit card bill next year!

Is it Worth Going Shopping on Black Friday?

You may


  • Take Inventory

Take some time before Black Friday to make a list of who you need to get gifts for.  Remember that stores often have socks, towels, Rubbermaid containers, pjs, and other daily use things on deep discounts as well.

Does your family need new socks?  Does your husband need a new pair of fleece pj pants? Do your kids need some new sweaters or sweatshirts?  How about boots?  Boots are always on a deep discount at department stores on Black Friday.

Think about the gifts you need for co-workers, your own family, extended family, neighbors, or anyone else you typically give a gift to.  Write their names down on your list.  Now, think about the gifts you already have stashed away.

Pull them out and write them down next to the names that they were intended for.  Your list of needed gifts should now be shorter.

  • Prepare Your List

The next step in preventing overspending on Black Friday is preparing your list is to take a few minutes to brainstorm about what items each of these people on your list might appreciate.  Are there people on your list that you could make something for instead of a store-bought gift?

Could you give them a coupon for the gift of time to help with a project or bring them cookies once a month?  Once you have determined who and what is on your list, this then becomes your shopping list.  Remember to keep this list hidden away if you have others in your house who like to sneak a peek!

Help your kids make a list of any items they might need.  Then help them with their Christmas gift list as well.  Have they made any gifts for anyone?

Do they have a stash of goodies they have saved for Christmas gifts for their grandparents, cousins, Dad, or friends?  Could they make a coupon book of things they’d like to do for you or their dad or grandparents?

This process takes some time ahead of the shopping day, but it will save you so much money when you actually start shopping because you will know exactly what you need to buy.

  • Check for Sales on Black Friday

Armed with your lists, look through the ads, and decide which stores you need to stop at and what time the sale starts and ends.  More and more stores have online sales as well, so you want to note that as well.

Is this a doorbuster sale that starts at 4 am in the store, or is this an all-day sale that is online.  Make detailed notes so that they are easy to follow when you’re ready to walk out the door on Friday morning.

  • Make Hard Choices While You’re Preventing Overspending

You’ve made your lists, checked it twice and now you’re ready to make the hard choices.  Does everyone on your list need to be on your list?  Are there people on your list that you feel obligated to give a gift to, but in reality that is your only contact with them throughout the year?  Perhaps this is a family member or someone at work.

Take some time to think about why you feel like you have to give them a gift.  Perhaps a card with a picture would be adequate.  Or perhaps a plate of cookies would suffice the gift guilt.

A few years ago, we realized that we had been feeling the gift guilt for a couple of names on our traditional gift list.  We realized that over the years, we had felt obligated but the gifts didn’t seem to be appreciated or reciprocated.

Not that we only give gifts to get gifts, but we realized that it had become an obligation that left us feeling frustrated and unappreciated and quite simply, was unnecessary.  If you struggle with this type of pressure, Reducing Gift Guilt During the Holidays offers suggestions and advice on how to do this in your life.

You may find that you have someone on your list that fits this category and perhaps this is the year to take that obligation and guilt off of your list.

Prevent Overspending on Black Friday

  • Stretch Your Dollars to Keep from Overspending

Sign up for Rakuten!  If you are shopping online, be sure to sign up for Rakuten before you do any shopping!  This is a great site to click through first before heading to your favorite online store.  You will receive cashback for each purchase.  This year, I have received almost $300 in cashback from the shopping I do anyway.  Who doesn’t love free money?

I purchase office supplies for my office, shop on Amazon, and many other sites, and receive cashback for each of those purchases!  Right now, if you sign up through this link, you will receive a bonus of $40 between now and December 25, 2020.  Once you have signed up, you can share the love and link with your friends as well.  This time of year, stores often have a higher cashback rate during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Watch for buying bonuses.  Many restaurants and some department stores offer great rewards for purchasing gift cards this time of year.  In the past few years, stores like JC Penney have offered a $25 gift card when you purchase $100 in gift cards.  If you know you are going to be spending this much, this is a great way to stretch your money!

Stores are hoping you will come back in to shop in the next few weeks, so make you have your plan in place so that you simply use the gift card bonus and don’t overspend because you have free money.

Restaurant gift cards can be great gifts and often they will allow you to purchase the four $25 gift cards and receive the bonus.  This allows you the freedom to spread out the gift cards to several people on your list in addition to the bonus gift.

  • Restock School Clothes

Black Friday is the second part of school clothes shopping in our family.  This is when we disperse the second part of the clothing allowance for our kids.  Boots, socks, scarves, sweaters and sweatshirts and you name it are all on huge sales.  You can read about our Back to School Shopping strategy here.

Help your kids take inventory of their clothes as well.  Do they need longer pants, new socks, hats, and gloves, or longer snow pants?

This is almost the mid-year mark for school clothes and often they are wearing out or getting too small by the end of November.  Department stores have amazing sales on clothing items at this time of year.

  • Know Your Budget

Now that you have your list of people, list of ideas and needs, you’ve looked at the sales and you have a plan, you need to also know what your budget is.  The best way to prevent overspending on Black Friday is to know your budget!  Shopping can quickly snowball into a buying frenzy on Black Friday.

When you are standing next to the display of $9 blenders and people are trying to get those last two, it can create a bit of a frenzy in your mind that might tempt you to purchase things you don’t really need.

Just because you’ve seen 10 people walking out of the store with a new TV doesn’t mean you need one – unless it’s on your list.  If an item has a rebate, be sure to plan to pay the original price in your budget in case the rebate doesn’t come through.

If you have $200 to spend on gifts for extended family members and you have 10 people on that list, then you really need to spend $20 or less per person in order to stay within your budget.

If you purchase $50 items for four of those people, you won’t have anything left for the other six.  This sounds a bit like an elementary school story problem, but you need to plan your budget before you get to the store or your equations won’t add up to your budget.

Before You Leave the House on Shopping Day

  • Eat breakfast!  Many people head out to shop during the wee hours of the morning.
  • Be sure to take along some snacks and water so that you can think clearly.
  • Be prepared to be patient with yourself, your kids, and others.
  • There will be lines in most stores and this could provide you with some opportunities to be kind to someone else.
  • Put a blanket in your car to cover your purchases if you don’t have a trunk.  If you are shopping at several stores in the same area, plan to move your car to a new location in the parking lot after you unload a bunch of items.  This can help to prevent your car from being broken into and theft of your shopping treasures.
  • Make sure you have your list, your money, and your ads or coupons.
  • Wear something festive.  This is the day that many people start planning for Christmas and thinking of others.
  • Wear something that makes you feel joyful and will remind you of why you are standing in line for 2 hours for that great deal for Aunt Sally!

Try it out for your family this year.

I’d love to hear about your Black Friday shopping traditions.  How do you prevent overspending on Black Friday?  Take a minute to drop a comment in the box below!  Don’t forget to sign up for Rakuten to get your $40 bonus!

You might also enjoy these posts…

15 Gift Ideas for the Vegetarian Cook

15 Ways to Not Spend Money on Groceries

Reducing Gift Guilt During the Holidays

5 Easy Ways to Save Money This Week

73 thoughts on “7 Simple Ways to Prevent Over-Spending on Black Friday”

  1. These are some great tips. The only black Friday shopping I ever do is online and I make sure it’s only for things I really need. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the deals. Every year I look at the ads and salivate but thankfully I never buy but then I again I don’t buy gifts for anyone.

  2. You’ve got some great tips here. Personally I take Black Friday’s as a way to avoid the world, but for those who enjoy shopping on this day, these are very helpful!

  3. I love to buy things I really need on Black Friday instead of gifts. Like this year I really need a flat iron. I hope I find a good deal.

  4. Love black Friday sales – but will only jump on a sale if I really wanted it and if have the money set aside! No impulse purchases! We always leave early in the morning, hit Starbucks for some fuel and hit the malls. Stocking up on clothes for the kids always works out during the sales!

    1. I know I can get caught up in the frenzy if I’m not careful as well! I love your concept of more experiences and less stuff! These are things that create the lasting memories as well.

  5. These are all great ideas. I don’t do black Friday shopping because I can’t stand the crazy people that are willing to hurt each other for a discount. I shop online which helps me stay on budget and I can think about something before hitting the purchase button.

  6. I love the idea of going out prepared! I live in Canada and although many of our retailers here participate in Black Friday sales, it’s not as lucrative as it is in the states. Our big ‘shopping day’ is Boxing Day or the day after Christmas. The same rules apply though. Go prepared and be kind!

  7. Thank goodness I’m not a shopper as I could easily overspend when presented with a good deal. Thanks for sharing these tips for those who do!

  8. Good advice for people partaking in black friday! I can’t make myself do it no matter how much money I would save on electronics, etc. Shopping on a quiet day gives me anxiety lol

  9. These are all such great tips! Making a list now before all of the craziness beings is a great way to make sure you are only buying what you need. Creating (and sticking to) a budget is a must as well!


  10. Such a great Black Friday check list! I really liked how you addressed ‘gift guilt’… I’ve never really thought of it like that but it’s true! Gifts should be form of love not another ‘should’. Thanks for all the great tips!

  11. Really good tips! Planning ahead is huge – I really like the idea of actually writing lists out, and also taking inventory of the kids’ clothes and taking advantage of the sales.

  12. Great tips. And, you’re so right…the gift guilt can be real. We stopped buying into that several years ago. Immediate family members, our parents, and the kids in the family are all we buy for anymore. And, no one is upset about it either!

  13. I went shopping on Black Friday exactly one time and will NEVER do it again. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. LOL
    Your ideas for those who like to do that are good, practical ones.

  14. Excellent advice. Especially the part where you need to take a serious look at who really belongs on your list! I’m willing to bet that even having a conversation with half your family members would cut down that list as well (it removes financial pressure that’s for sure). Adults don’t need gifts, we have jobs, besides the things I want are generally way over the allotted agreed upon family budget; and then it’s just stuff I don’t have space/need for.

  15. I do not like the crowds on Black Friday. It makes me very anxious, so shopping on that day is not an issue for me. BUT…. being very clear on a shopping list for the season does not always happen and this post was a great reminder! Happy shopping!

  16. You know this is great info. I simply don’t participate in it any more. It just seems like a trap and takes away the meaning of holidays for me.

  17. I don’t do black Friday shopping any more but I wish I had these tips when I did shop. I have heard about Rakutan before but haven’t signed up. I think I will sign up and do some online shopping. Thanks for the link!

  18. It’s so easy to overspend with all the great deals! I love your tips for helping keep it all in check and on budget. They were very practical and helpful.

  19. Great advice! Have a plan in place. With all the sales and deals of the day it can be easy to get caught up in purchases. At the end of the day you don’t want to find yourself in massive debt or with items you could totally do without.

  20. These are great tips! I do most of my Black Friday shopping online now, which makes it even easier to overspend. I’ll keep these tips in mind when I’m shopping this year!

  21. I love your tip about taking inventory before you head out shopping. I often fail to do that and end up buying duplicates. Last year I made myself some printables to help keep my purchases/budget organized. It is a fun day to shop,but so easy to overspend if you aren’t careful!

  22. I think one important tip is to not buy gifts for yourself! I have a tendency to do that – all too often when that is not the reason I have out shopping!

  23. Great ways to control spending! I used to use tactics to make my dollars stretch as far as possible. With my kids grown and even my grandkids in their teens and preteens, I simply give cash gifts. Sure makes it easier and they buy want they want or save funds for bigger purchases.

  24. More people need to read this! O think these guidelines apply to everyday shopping experiences as well. Too much overspending and not enough responsibility.

  25. Pingback: Reducing Gift Guilt During the Holidays | Savoring Each Moment

  26. Great tips!! I already have my lists. Black Friday is usually when I buy appliances that have worn out, towels and sheets, and winter gear.

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