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Keep your green on Black Friday

By Kemberley Washington ·
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Posted: 10 am ET

It is that time of the year again, where many of us peruse the Internet,  research a sale or two, and stand in long lines to save money this Black Friday.

But are you really saving money? Don't let this Black Friday put you in a black hole!

Last year, I shopped for a pair of shoes a few days prior to Black Friday. In hopes of saving money, I  put off my purchase until Black Friday. But to my surprise, the shoes actually cost more on what is supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year.

To add insult to injury, the retailer conveniently advertised the shoes as if the price had been reduced.

Do your research

It is important to do your research before you begin holiday shopping. Many times, retailers increase the original retail cost, thus misleading consumers into believing they are getting huge savings. But in reality, the consumer is not. Here are some steps to take before heading out to hit the sales:

  • Make a list of items you expect to purchase.
  • Compare the costs via the Internet.
  • Use shopping smartphone apps, which allow you to find the lowest costs in your area.
  • Get an idea of what an item sells for so you are not a victim of the Black Friday traps.
  • Stick to your budget.
  • Get an idea of the total amount you expect to spend. Also, list the amount you expect to spend for each item as well. This way, once you find the item you desire, you can make a well-informed decision about whether to purchase it.
  • Try to stay away from credit cards or other loans when holiday shopping.

Remember, there is life after Christmas. So it may not be a good idea to still be paying for this year’s iPad around this time next year!

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and teaches at Dillard University in New Orleans. She writes a personal finance blog at Follow her on Twitter @KemWashCPA.

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