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Black Friday on a Student Loan Budget

A college girl online holiday shopping in front of a Christmas tree

Now that November is here, we can finally say that Black Friday is quickly approaching us, and chances are, you're not ready for the day where you can drop thousands of dollars buying gifts for your friends, family, and self, nevermind the crowds of people all acting in a frenzy trying to save the most money. And to be honest, we get how totally discouraging that is.

The good news is, there's no requirement in participating in Black Friday. The bad news is, all the best deals really are during that weekend so if you are doing any holiday shopping that's probably your best bet to score all the savings.

Before you make your decision on if you are going to brave the masses of people on Black Friday, consider these helpful tips as you navigate your holiday shopping as a whole. Maybe you'll be inspired to take a different path this year.

Don’t forget Black Friday is November 29th, 2019!

1. Share the truth

We're talking the straight facts here...you're in college and anyone who is anyone around you knows that. Chances are if you disclose to the people you usually buy gifts for that you're trying to be smart with your money this year, no one will bash you for it, in fact, they will probably support you and think that's a great idea.

2. Reframe the idea of gift-giving

The holidays are not just about receiving gifts, in fact, that can be pretty unfulfilling. Giving gifts is just as fun as getting gifts! You can still give gifts even keeping your budget at bay! Here are some fun ideas you can consider:

  1. Setting a budget for everyone and not going over it - this can be really fun and actually a lot more thoughtful than spending what you normally would! You can even tell everyone how much thought you put into it being on a budget
  2. Make a gift! Pro tip: check out Pinterest for some DIY gifts you can make for everyone adding a personal flair to each one. This will help you save money on materials and have a lot of fun customizing whatever it is you make
  3. Plan an activity to look forward to that you are entirely in charge of. This can be something as simple as an "after holidays dinner party." Anything that you can host and invite all the people you care about to. During the holidays hand out the formal invitation and make sure you mention this is in lieu of any gifts this year. Give people ample time to plan and they are sure to be excited to have something to look forward to as the holidays die down.

3. Get a seasonal job merely for the discount

Okay, so you can't get the idea of giving out of your head. That's okay! Actually, the cool part is a lot of retailers hire seasonally and give you discounts to make up for the long holiday hours. So what does that mean for you? Extra spending money...and a deep discount! Score! Check out stores that have something for everyone like Target, Dick's, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, American Eagle, Michael's, and much more!

4. Suggest a Yankee Swap

If you have a group of friends or even a lot of family members, suggest that you do a Yankee swap this year and cap the gift amount at $20-$30. Yankee swaps are way more fun anyway. Everyone gets to participate and you can drastically decrease how much money you spend!

5. Hit the outdoors

If you usually go shopping with a group of friends and that your "thing." Change it up! Do something outdoors like go for a hike or to a place you've wanted to go for a while but haven't had the chance to. This is a favorite because everyone is usually at the mall so anything you decide to do will probably be pretty lax.

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     6. Set a hard budget per person

    If you do decide to go Black Friday shopping. Set a budget that you absolutely can't exceed for each person you're shopping for. You can still participate in the fun and be much more strategic about how you spend your money! Try it out, this will keep you conscious of how much money you're spending and allow you to get in on the fun of Black Friday shopping.

    7. Bring cash only

    Yup, that's right, forego your credit cards, the best way to stick to your budget is by limiting yourself to only a certain amount of cash and sticking to it.

     

    Conclusion

    So there you have it! 7 tips to help you navigate the holiday shopping guilt and the thrill of Black Friday. These tips aren't limited to a college budget either, try and carry this way of thinking with you in your years to come even after you graduate. Happy holidays!

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