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Financial Resources

Holiday Shopping 101

The official kickoff of the Holiday Shopping season, Black Friday, is almost here.  Black Friday is fast, furious, and sometimes dangerous. It’s dangerous because Black Friday is a day when stores give away great deals on certain things, but also try to trap you into buying full-priced items.

To buy what you want and still keep a few dollars in your pocket, here are a few things you should do:

Prepare for Black Friday

First, create a plan of action.  Make a list of the stores you want to visit and what you want to buy—and stick to it!  Grab that huge stack of ads from the newspaper to help make your search for the best deals a little easier.

Second, do your research.  If you know a product that you want to buy, find out the details by reading reviews before you go shopping. Do not buy sale items just because they’re cheap.  Think about it – do you really want to put those king sized sheets on your queen sized bed just because they’re on sale?

Third, create a spending limit. Decide the amount you are willing to spend and make sure you do not go over that limit.  If you do need a little extra wiggle room in your Christmas budget, know that you can always see SIU Credit Union for a Holiday Loan.  Apply early so you have the cash ready for your shopping excursion.

Bonus tip. To make sure you get the products you want, you might want to go to some stores on Thanksgiving. Get up from your tryptophan-induced slumber and get moving. Most large retail stores, like Best Buy, open around 5:00 PM on Thanksgiving.

Consider the alternatives

Despite the great deals, there are reasons not to shop on Black Friday:

  • You usually have to wait in long lines, sometimes in the cold, to get inside the store.  And then after all that time invested, you’re not guaranteed that what you want will actually be in-stock.
  • Support local businesses by participating in Shop Southern Illinois throughout the holiday season.  Several Southern Illinois Chambers of Commerce have joined together to do what they do best – support local businesses.  By taking the pledge to shop local you could even win great prizes like new carpet or a diamond pendant!
  • A lot of retailers let you shop online—from the comfort of your home—and still get great sales.  Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving, is a great day to shop for clothing or shoe deals.
  •  In addition, a lot of great sales happen before Thanksgiving and right after the holidays.
  • You can shop at stores that have discounted prices all year round, like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, so you don’t have to wait for Black Friday.
  • Don’t want to fight any of the crowds or get online? You can always stop by any SIU Credit Union branch location and pick up enough Visa® Gift Cards for everyone on your list.

But you really want to do it don’t you?

Even though Black Friday can be a lot of work to plan for and all the shopping can hurt your feet, it can still be fun and save you a pretty penny.  As long as the stores offer amazing deals, shoppers will continue to line up waiting for the doors to open.  Me?  Not really my thing, so I’ll just be sitting back enjoying another piece of pumpkin pie and a nice cup of coffee.

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