A new episode of The Rachel Cruze Show is here! Watch Now
A new episode of The Rachel Cruze Show is here! Watch it here.
About the Author

Real Life On A Budget

7 Ways to Stay Sane on Black Friday

When it comes to Black Friday, most people seem to fall into one of two groups.

Some people love the thrill of looking for a good deal, being one of the few who find a $300 LCD TV, and even standing outside in the cold at 4 a.m. Others think the whole idea of Black Friday is overhyped, materialistic or just pointless.

I think there’s a middle ground somewhere.

Should you look for a good deal? Absolutely. Should you become obsessed with finding a good deal and bust your budget in the process? Absolutely not.

With Black Friday upon us, I know some of you are tempted to get crazy with your hard-earned cash. So here are seven tips to help you keep your sanity:

1. Make a shopping budget.

If you plan on participating in Black Friday madness, then you absolutely must make a budget before you hit the first store. The moment you read the last word of this article, pull out a notepad or hop on your computer and get down to business. Based on your income and expenses, come up with a reasonable amount of money to spend on Christmas gifts this year. Once you reach that dollar mark, you are done!

2. Do your research.

You can easily overdo this, so don’t spend your entire Thanksgiving Day scouring the newspapers looking for $5 off a coffee maker. But make sure you have a sense of where the best deals are so you don’t waste your time standing in line for something that sold out two hours ago.

3. Shop online.

Cyber Monday is the Black Friday of the internet world and occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving. You can find a lot of good deals without having to camp out in a parking lot all night or get run over by a lunatic parent looking for an Elmo doll. If you’re over the crowds and the madness of Friday, then Cyber Monday might be a good option.

4. Relax.

Seriously, just relax. Remember, this is just stuff. Ask yourself this question: Two years from now, will I even remember what I’m buying? Better yet, will the person you’re buying this item for still be using it? Perspective is your friend. If you don’t get that computer, television, or that game console, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t get so caught up in shopping and finding a deal that you lose sight of why you’re shopping and giving gifts in the first place.

5. Don’t spend money you don’t have.

This might seem like common sense, but a lot of people just don’t get it. You can’t afford an item if your only option is to put it on a credit card. What might seem like a good idea in December becomes an awful idea in January when all the bills start rolling in. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford!

6. Venture out later in the day.

All the heavily promoted items will probably be gone, but you can still find pretty good deals while avoiding the crazy crowds that pile in when the doors open. If you’ve watched the news in the last few years, you know it can get pretty dangerous when the doors open at some of the larger retail chains. If you choose to go first thing in the morning, wear a helmet and be ready to throw a few elbows.

7. Don’t shop for yourself.

This should really go without saying, but it’s amazing how many people go out to do some Christmas shopping and end up buying something for themselves! Really? Is that what Christmas is all about—buying a scarf for yourself?

Bottom line: Stay inside your budget and have fun! If you can’t have fun thinking about ways to give stuff to other people, then maybe that’s a sign that you’re too focused on the stuff, not the people.

If you’re determined to venture out into the chaos of Black Friday, then make a plan and stick to it. If you go out there without any idea of how much money you should spend, then you’ll probably walk away with a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

If you play it right, you can save some money without getting trampled by the crowds and without wasting too much time and effort.


  • Sara @ Beauty and a Budget

    Totally on the same page – I just wrote about this a couple days ago! http://beautyandabudget.com/surviving-black-friday/

  • CEthridge

    I’ve only been out twice on Black Friday – one year my sister and I decided it would be fun and we had a blast – got up in the middle of the night and picked a couple stores to go to. It was fun spending time with her. We didn’t care about being first or grabbing a limited deal.nnThe other time was funny – we were living in Philly at the time and my hubby and I woke up on Black Friday and noticed it had snowed 4-5 inches. We decided to go out to breakfast and noticed NO ONE was out. No one. In fact, several stores were closed. It was the weirdest Black Friday ever. nnThis year – I have no plans to go out. Honestly, there isn’t anything we are interested in enough to go through the craziness. Oh wait. I’ll be running over to Costco to get my free cookbook (love their cookbooks), but that is all I’ll be doing that day outside the house.

  • Bill

    Stop Shopping.

  • chdoctor

    These are sound tips. Tip #7 coincides with Baby Step #7 from FPU. If we want to develop a mindset of giving like no one else, then we ought to remember that any extraordinary effort we put into Black Friday would be more worth it if we’re giving rather than getting (Jas 4:3).