Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

5 Huge Holiday Shopping Mistakes to Avoid This Black Friday

By Keith Noonan - Nov 25, 2019 at 11:21AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Dodging these missteps could help you avoid headaches and heartbreak this holiday season.

Black Friday can be a great opportunity to score some tremendous deals, but it can also be easy to fall into holiday shopping pitfalls. Thankfully, many of these potential problems can be avoided given proper recognition and planning.

Approaching Black Friday and Cyber Monday with an understanding of some common missteps will help you take advantage of the best deals on offer in an informed and intelligent manner. Read on for a look at major holiday shopping mistakes to avoid this season. 

Neon lighting making a shopping cart and the text 'Black Friday.'

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Spending more than you can afford

Staying within your budget might sound like obvious advice, but shoppers can easily convince themselves that they're able to spend more than is financially prudent. A survey from Bankrate found that over 60% of Americans felt pressure to spend more money during the holiday season than made sense for their budget. That kind of pressure, combined with the fear of missing out on big discounts or disappointing loved ones, can easily lead to purchases that put you in an unnecessarily difficult financial position and put a damper on your holiday spirits.

2. Misusing credit cards

Every year, millions of people turn to new or existing credit cards to fund their holiday shopping. If the interest rates aren't favorable or the balance isn't paid back within a reasonable time frame, that means the expenses can wind up being significantly higher than the attractive sticker price on that hot holiday item.

Signing up for new credit cards can also lower your credit score, which can have implications down the line that significantly ramp up the real cost of your holiday spending. What's more, many retail credit cards tend to have high interest rates, and signing up for store credit cards to fund your gift buying can dramatically raise your real costs if you don't quickly pay back the principal amount. 

If you have favorable cash-back deals and low rates, it's possible to make credit cards work in your favor, but be careful not to let you're spending get ahead of what you can quickly pay back.

3. Thinking a low price equals a great deal

Just because the sticker price looks like a screaming deal doesn't mean you're getting great value. Checking product reviews and making educated estimates about which products actually offer appealing value is a must.

Think of it this way: If you buy a piece of electronics because its price looks super cheap relative to similar offerings in the category, but it winds up breaking within the next year or has serious performance issues, is that a good deal? There are enough bargains and discounts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday that spending a little bit more for quality can work to your benefit over the long term.

4. Failing to shop around for the best deals

If there's a retailer that's offering an especially enticing deal, it can be tempting to do all of your shopping at that one location. That might seem convenient, and the amount of time that you spend traveling to different stores and shopping is something you should take into account, but surveying the field can also pay off in big ways. Familiarize yourself with the best deals at each store, and be sure to check out online deals for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday shopping season to cut down on time spent bouncing between stores. 

5. Not having a shopping plan

Having a defined shopping list and sticking to it can be one of the easiest ways to make sure you don't overspend or waste time running around this holiday season. Setting and sticking to a budget will probably be much easier if you've mapped out all your purchases beforehand, and a well-defined plan can take a lot of the stress out of the holiday shopping rush.

Smart shopping will make your holiday much more enjoyable

The holiday season is about much more than just giving gifts and nabbing great deals. That should probably go without saying, but it can also be easy to get caught up in the competitive nature of deal hunting or feel pressured to go overboard on shopping sprees. Being able to give presents to loved ones is a wonderful thing, but spending time with each other and really valuing that time is what will really create lasting memories, and avoiding unnecessary shopping mistakes this Black Friday can put you in a better position to support and show appreciation for your family over the long term. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Bankrate, Inc. Stock Quote
Bankrate, Inc.
RATE

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
624%
 
S&P 500 Returns
141%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/04/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.