#StayInTheBlackFriday: Mindful Tips & Useful Apps

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Black Friday

I’ll be the first to admit it, I used to be an epic Black Friday shopper.

I’d have no issues hopping out of bed at like 2 or 3 am and then getting in line at my chosen store to catch a good doorbuster sale. Is that me anymore? Hell no. I’ve usually worked the day after Thanksgiving for the past several years and this one is no different – so I’ll be working bright & early in the morning. I’m excited to not be working in retail or restaurants today, but I’ll still be plenty busy at a different venue. Keep an eye on my Instagram over the next couple of days – it’s about to get wild.

Black Friday has some serious spending going on. In 2016, over 150 million people did some shopping during the Black Friday Weekend (source). To put that in even more perspective, only 129 million people voted in the 2012 Presidential Election (source). How does that make you feel? It kind of drives me insane because I love the voting process, but I’m weird, and I digress. Lots of people are “opting out” this Black Friday as a way to “stay in the black.” Those “opting out” are choosing to spend time outdoors, participate in runs/walks, biking, or avoiding shopping altogether. However, it’s pretty common that most people will spend some time shopping. It’s the holiday season, after all.

Even though we’re all bombarded with ads about sales and what not for today, I’ve come a long way from the shopper I used to be. I’m mostly a minimalist these days, working to not acquire possessions that aren’t meaningful to me. I’d much rather spend the extra day relaxing and seeing friends. That said, if I’m going to be doing any type of shopping, it would be from my laptop for a few specific things. I’ve already completed most of my holiday shopping, I need to pick up a little something for the best man in my life – my nephew! He’s got some specific requests, so I want to get it right!

Instead of spending myself into oblivion this Black Friday, I’m hanging out at work. Instead of rushing out to buy gifts or shop for life’s necessities for great deals, I’d rather spend my time on something that’s more productive. Whether that’s working, sleeping in, watching movies, or just hanging out in my apartment, there’s a lot more I can do than spend myself into the hole on one specific day of the year! I don’t need new TVs or appliances or anything so badly that I want to deal with crowds at 5 am. My time and yours has more value than that.

As someone who is a pusher for mindful spending, ESPECIALLY during the holidays, I always plan to #StayInTheBlackFriday. I always approach this day with a specific list of things I’m looking for – for gifts, for myself (a new winter coat this year), and so on. Approaching this day with a list helps EXPONENTIALLY when trying to spend more mindfully. Below are some of my favorite tips that help me “stay in the black” when I’m taking advantage of all these deals.

Think about it for a minute

Seriously. Take the minute to STOP and THINK about why and who you are purchasing this item for. Will you/they use it? Would they/you rather have something else? Don’t throw it in your basket (online or in person) and buy it “just because.”

Buying it for looks or really as a gift

Consider whether you’re buying this gift because you actually want to and can afford to buy it. Or, are you buying the gift because it “looks good” to the recipient? Are you buying it because you genuinely want to add value to someone else’s life or your own?

Keeping to the Budget

Think about whether or not you’re getting the best deal for your money. Is there a cheaper alternative that gets you what you want and need? Is the store or brand one you already trust? Can you pay in cash or can you pay off the credit card balance when the bill comes? If you can’t, think again about why you’re buying this gift.

Still Buying All the Things?

If you’re still gung-ho on buying things this Black Friday, I STRONGLY encourage you to seek out cash back opportunities! Some of my favorites are below!

  • Ebates
    • Always start with Ebates! Find the online store you want to visit and see what kind of cashback you can get on your purchase! I’ve seen anywhere from 1% – 10% cashback depending on where you are shopping. You can use any debit or credit card that you wish with Ebates. You can also use the website or the app for just about any store – Amazon, Target, Macy’s, or basically any other retailer that you can think of.
  • Ibotta
    • I love Ibotta for in-store purchases and online purchases. For example, you can use Ibotta to get a reward for taking an Uber! I particularly like this one for when I’m going to the grocery store as there are always deals on produce and then specific brand items. Sometimes, they’ll give you a dollar or two just for uploading a receipt, so it’s worth checking out when making your shopping lists. Again, using any card you wish and you could even make your purchase with cash for some stores – you just have to upload your receipt.
  • Discover Card Rewards
    • I prefer to use my Discover Card for large purchases since I get cashback on ANYTHING I purchase. I’ll use my Discover card with one of the above apps and BOOM – double cash back! Add on Discover Deals for some purchases and it’s a triple whammy. Seriously – best card ever.

Sending you lots of luck this holiday shopping season and wishes for staying in the black and avoiding holiday debt hangovers!

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

What are you doing this Black Friday? Shopping? Resting? Planning to #StayInTheBlack? Still celebrating?

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