The biggest shopping day of the year is just days away, but Black Friday doesn’t always live up to its money-saving reputation. The excitement of deep discounts and the lure of limited quantities can leave some shoppers dealing with the financial consequences well past the holiday season.

This year, before you line up for those pre-dawn sales, make sure your shopping list begins and ends with a financial future you won’t regret.

Set A Budget

Black Friday is designed to get you to spend money, and it’s very good at its job. Before you step foot in any store, make sure you have a detailed list of who or what you’re shopping for and how much you plan to spend.

Without this essential preparation, your shopping cart will likely fill with impulse buys deemed “too good to pass up.” When setting your budget, look beyond the upcoming holidays and consider what your savings priorities will be in January. You may find it easier to dial down the spending now if you keep in mind how it will impact your bigger goals, like a family vacation, renovation project, or even a down payment on a new home.

Use Cash

One simple way to ensure you stick with your budget is to ditch the credit cards for your Black Friday excursion. Using cash for your purchases will make it easier to track your progress throughout the day and limit the likelihood you’ll overspend.

Overspending is bad enough, but doing so with credit cards can result in a decision to defer the consequences. Digging out of the mistake with minimum payments will only add to the monetary damage thanks to high interest rates.

Shop Skeptically 

Black Friday sales often aren’t as unique as you might think. Websites like www.BlackFriday.com and www.BestBlackFriday.com can preview in-store deals and allow you to evaluate the savings potential in advance. You might find that an attention-grabbing price drop has more to do with the recent release of a newer model than a once-a-year sale.

The smartphone you probably have within reach right now is another terrific resource for Black Friday shopping. Price comparison apps can make determining how good a deal is as simple as scanning a barcode, while a quick Google search can reveal details about a product that might not be obvious in the store.

So, if you’re fighting the crowds in search of deals this week, arm yourself with a plan that will keep you financially healthy well into the New Year. And if a new mortgage, refinance, or renovation is on your wish list, visit OpenMortgage.com or call to speak with a representative today.

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