November. The month of turkeys and shopping. In just under three weeks, the unofficial start of Christmas gift-buying season will start with Black Friday. This is a day where all the retailers put up their best deals. Signs and advertisements about these are starting earlier and earlier with Early Black Friday sales. It has taken on a cultural life all of its own now. Online shopping makes taking advantage of this most consumerist of events easier than ever. In one sense this is good. More people are able to make their lives easier for less money and find more things to give as gifts. There are many positives about Black Friday. Today though, I want to reiterate a point to help you own your Black Friday experience instead of it owning you. Do you have an idea of how much you want to spend on Christmas gifts? What about for new kitchen appliances or utensils? Has your clothing budget been expanded to accommodate any new additions to your wardrobe? American households in 2020 had an average of over $6000 in credit card debt. Black Friday is a huge temptation to make that average bigger through purchases you "just have to have." With the early deals starting even now, perhaps it is better to exercise shopping twice and spending once. Find the things you want for yourself or as gifts. Read the reviews. Find where it will fit in your budget. Consider the impact of the gift for the person you buy it for. Let all of this consideration take you away from the impulse purchase. Sleep on it. The next day, you can engage in the entire endeavor again. Having the fun of shopping a second time. Does the purchase still fit? If so, you can purchase it with more confidence. Knowing you have made a considerate decision instead of an impulsive one. You may find yourself turning down certain offers that don't fit your situation after all. If so, that's wonderful! You've helped save yourself from increasing your debt possibly from a purchase likely to give you buyer's remorse. Then, you can repeat the process over for a new idea, person, or need that must be filled. This November, I encourage you to exercise purposeful spending. Black Friday may only be for this one month, but you can still own it instead of it owning you.
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