A Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney familiar with how many people get themselves into debt, OakTree Law is proud to offer tips to help you stay debt free this holiday season. Believe it or not, this is possible, even as Black Friday approaches. Consumers can easily rack up $1,000 or more of debt during this time. By shopping smart, you can make decisions that avoid adding to your debt and which ultimately enable you to save.
Black Friday originated as a time when retailers with finances in the red could turn their loses around into financial gains (or move into the black). They would and still do start to offer consumers deals such as sales, discounts, and special offers. While these make it seem like you are saving, big sales incentivize you to spend more but, if you follow these Black Friday shopping tips, you can stay ahead of this psychological tactic.
Set a Budget in Advance
Don’t wait until the shopping season kicks off to think about how much you can afford. Create a budget that includes gifts and also transportation costs, food for family gatherings, holiday cards, postage stamps, decorations, wrapping paper, and anything else you can think of. Make a list of who you will buy gifts for as well. By creating shopping lists, you can compare prices in different stores and avoid last-minute decisions when stores are sold out or something is overpriced.
Stick to Cash
Setting aside cash reserves for holiday spending enables you to know exactly what you can afford. You can plan each purchase and avoid overspending. If you use credit cards, make sure you have the cash to pay them off. Store cards can be convenient if you frequent that establishment, but high interest rates can set you back on payments. Opening a store card can save you initially, but the inquiry alone can drop your credit score, and interest will raise your balances later, so you won’t be saving much.
Avoid Black Friday Deals
Do you really think the price of those jeans is 50% less than they’re worth? Deals are posted to attract shoppers, but stores offer deals year-round. They’re often a reduction of the sale price from the markup posted just before the sale. Besides, sales often tempt people to buy more. You end up spending much more cash than you would have if it looked like the merchandise was being sold at top dollar.
Take Your Time
The day after Thanksgiving, shopping is the first thing on many people’s minds. Then again, you’ll find stores are competing for your business in the days ahead. And there will be plenty of deals in the weeks before Christmas, and even afterward as stores look to sell their inventory. There are many opportunities to save if you know where, and when, to look.
Rethink Your Financial Plan
If affording all the holiday extras is a problem, you can try:
- Creating a debt repayment plan or mapping out your available and emergency funds.
- Cutting back by eating out less, carpooling, or renegotiating insurance bills.
- Earning additional cash by finding part time work, dog walking, cleaning houses, etc.
Call Your Los Angeles or Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney
OakTree Law provides solutions to those who find themselves in debt and cannot afford to repay it. We offer several different bankruptcy options, and can help you make the best decisions based on your situation, assets, and financial goals. Learn more by giving us a call or requesting a free evaluation online today.