Black Friday traditionally referred to the day after Thanksgiving when Americans would head out early to take advantage of the doorbuster deals offered by many retailers. However, over the years, it's evolved into a month-long affair where sales start as soon as Halloween and many are skeptical of the supposed markdowns.
"While there are plenty of sales to be had now, some deals are a bit misleading," says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert.
If you decide to shop Black Friday sales, use a price comparison tool to see if a deal is really a deal. Beyond that, there are other ways to save money this holiday season and set yourself up for a strong financial start in 2024.
4 smart financial moves to make this Black Friday
Here are four savvy financial moves to consider making now.
1. Open a certificate of deposit (CD) or high-yield savings account
If you have money sitting in a checking account that you don't need anytime soon, consider moving it to aor .
The average national FDIC. That said, many high-yield savings accounts and CDs currently have APYs in the 4% to 5% range.on checking accounts is just .07% compared to .46% on and up to 1.38% on CDs, according to the
Capital One, for example, offers the 360 Performance Savings account with a 4.30% APY, no account fees and no minimum balance requirements. Further, Marcus offers APYs above 5% on six- to 18-month CDs — as long as you deposit at least $500.
2. Use home equity to pay down or consolidate debt
If you own a home and are struggling to pay down high-interest debts, consider aor line of credit ( ). Both allow you to borrow against the equity you've built or acquired in your home at relatively .
Once you have the loan funds, you can use them to pay off higher-interest debt, thus consolidating it at a lower interest rate. However, be sure to factor in the fees and risks of taking out a second mortgage.
3. Set a budget and stick to it
Between all the gifts, decor, travel, and events, it's easy to overspend during the holiday season, but creating a holiday budget can help you stay on track. Spend some time reviewing your income and monthly expenses and calculate the amount of money you'll have available. Then, divide it between all of your upcoming holiday costs.
When budgeting for gifts, Randa Hoffman, MBA, EA, and owner of Radiant Wealth Planning, LLC says it can help to set an individual budget for each person on your list.
"Create a list of everything you know each person would love (not just like), or if they have given you a list — even better. Then, identify the items that will get you the biggest joy for your buck. Now you have a shopping strategy and a targeted focus," says Hoffman.
4. Maximize savings through rewards and coupons
Lastly, take advantage of credit card rewards, coupons, and cash-back options. For example, stores like Target and Walmart offer up to 5% cash back if you shop using their store credit cards.. Further, apps like Ibotta and Fetch can help you earn cash back or points from a wide range of retail stores.
On-budget holidays lead to a happy new year
While the holidays are a time of get-togethers and joy, you don't want to overspend and put yourself in a tough situation come January.
"When it comes to Black Friday shopping, remember that not all deals are as good as they seem. Retailers often inflate the original price to make the sale price seem like a better deal. Do your research beforehand, compare prices, and only buy what you need and can afford," says Sherman Standberry, a certified public accountant and managing partner at My CPA Coach.
Additionally, make the most of your money now and in the upcoming year by keeping it in competitive interest-yielding accounts, consolidating high-interest debt, budgeting, and taking advantage of rewards whenever possible.
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