During the 1950’s Philadelphia initiated the term “Black Friday” to describe consumer traffic during the Holidays. Since then,Thanksgiving dinners have been cut short so everyone could do their annual mad shopping spree. Retailers depend on Black Friday each year to spin them out of The Red, and provide end of year profits. Since 2005, on-line retailers have introduced Cyber Monday in their attempt to catch stay-at-home shoppers. Most of the online shopping technology has been in response to Amazon.com’s huge lead in providing lowest prices and free shipping to consumers. As a result, last year Cyber Monday Sales exceeded $1.5 Billion from items purchased on internet and mobile devices.
To fuel the momentum for this year, retailers are introducing a Hot Toy Scanning capacity to encourage shoppers to purchase Private In-Store sale items with Free Shipping. Out of Stock items? No problem! Special In-Store sales are being “Show Roomed” for purchase by iphones. Consumers will capture the item and barcode, purchase it, and have it shipped free to the address of their choice. They will spend thousands and leave the mall empty handed, their gift list completed. If all devices work properly, Retailers are projecting $96 billion in online sales this Holiday season. (National Retail Federation)
Though these strategies have great advantages to seniors, physically impaired, and even single parents, are they here to stay? The Black Friday event has “consumed” the entire Thanksgiving weekend: not necessarily a good thing. When is it “enough” shopping? Too often, we grab sale items in an attempt to make them fit our list. This often leads to excessive spending and impulse buying. With the increase of Gift Cards some of the Black Friday bling has been tainted. Still, people rush the stores to use new debit or prepaid cards to the max.
For the sake of Your Credit, there are several things to monitor this coming weekend! Keep in mind:
Credit Utilization:the amount of credit available within your approved limit.(Impacts 1/3rdof your credit score) Maxing out your cards will temporarily peak your Credit Score, when they are calculated AFTER the 15th of the month (Now). Your balances should be 25% less than your approved credit limit. You may want to make multiple payments during this month. Ideal percentage is below 10%.
1st: Copy Warren Buffet.
“Spend LESS than you earn.” Determine ON PURPOSE to QUIT SPENDING MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE! Print out a Gift List Spending Plan. Fill in exactly what you REALLY have. Plan your spending on what is really left…Period!
2nd: Revisit the Reason for the Season.
Review with family members what you gave last year and what you received.(Can you even remember? Major “wake up call” if you can’t.) Discuss what the Season traditionally means to each family member. Gifts should be special, personal, not pricey. Working two or three jobs to pay for expensive gifts does not replace spending time together decorating, working holiday puzzles or baking. Create memories and laughter as your gift, not stress, anxiety and clutter.
3rd: Plan your gift list.
Start with people you are very close to that you will actually see before the Holiday. You may have a long distance or “shut-in” relative or friend that you need to buy for early. List in priority those you want to exchange gifts with and set your Spending Balance Sheet out with a calculator. Take the very maximum $$ amount you will have and write the dollar figure in at the top of the balance column: gift items under $20, or $10.00 that each person would actually like and use.
Name /Relationship/Description of Gift/Expected Cost/Actual Cost / $$ Balance
Expect to find the very nicest gift at the best sale price. Do an On-line Search at a discount store for Gift Ideas under $20. or $15.00. Be sincerely serious. Just for this year find the best appropriate gift that is LESS than your expected cost. Better yet, set a maximum dollar amount and draw names in your family, friend,and work groups. You will be surprised how many will be relieved if you take the initiative to start these exchanges. Very few people in this new “normal”economy have extra cash this holiday; and “charging” beyond their income is giving for the wrong reasons.
4th: Every Dollar On Purpose!
All the effort you’ve done to get out of debt last year can spin into a financial Holiday On Ice in 45 short days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! Physically, emotionally, socially, or financially, you simply cannot afford to lose one inch of ground on disciplined actions you achieved last year. Last minute impulse buying tends to slide you off your plan. Whether you use your iphone, online, checkbook, debit card, or cash, DO NOT SPEND $1 more than you have cash to cover. Stay the Course!
To your Credit, space your shopping over the next few weeks. Stay the Course!! This time next year, to Your Credit, be Paid In Full!