This week marks a day that is an important kickoff to the busy holiday season. It is a rich tradition unique to America and one that few can fail to celebrate. No, we’re not talking about Thanksgiving… it’s Black Friday! The annual shop-til-you-drop day replete with ridiculous deals, crowded stores, and the occasional fistfight between ravenous bargain hunters is almost upon us!
But what to do if you’re neck deep in student debt? Should you take advantage of the sales to score cheap gifts for friends and family or should you steer clear of the chaos and sleep in on Friday? Here are some tips to help decide whether to wade into the retail riot of Black Friday…
Decide Who You Absolutely Have to Gift
Of course it would be nice to give every one of your friends and family a gift, but if you’re coping with student loans, likely that’s not a realistic scenario. Think of who you absolutely must give a gift to – mom and dad no doubt, sisters and brothers, etc. – and limit your list to these VIPs. Likely your BFF, BF or GF are also expecting a gift, but beyond that, narrow down who you have to go out and buy for to as few people as possible!
Decide If You Can Make or Bake Something Instead
Your loved ones know you’ve got student loans to deal with – surely you complain about your debt occasionally… The bottom line is, they know you’re broke, so it’s no shock that you can’t afford to lavish them with expensive gifts this holiday season. Explore cheap alternatives such as an inexpensive frame and a great photo of you with the giftee, scrumptious homemade cookies or an ironically bad homemade craft project.
Decide Which Deals You Can Truly Afford
Once you’ve honed your gift list down to those you absolutely must purchase a manufactured retail gift for, break out the Black Friday flyers and look for deals. Some of the best deals are “doorbusters” – loss leader items priced to lure you into the stores. This year Walmart has changed the game and if they are out of stock on the doorbusters (as long as you show up on time), will give out vouchers to buy the item online for the same price. This will allow you to get the deals without going crazy.
Decide What Your Budget Is and Divvy It Up Accordingly
Before you head out on Black Friday (or late on Thanksgiving evening), know how much you can afford to spend without cutting into your budget for student loans, necessities, rent, etc. From there, decide how much to allot to each person on your list. If your budget is tight, you may have to limit your gifting to a pair of cheesy holiday socks or a $5 bin DVD. It’s not worth the financial heartache you’ll cause yourself if you overspend and then can’t pay your bills or max out your credit card…
One thing you can get for absolutely free this holiday season is the student loan management and optimization tool offered by Tuition.io. Click here to sign up! Also check out our blog for fascinating articles on all things student loan related. And if your friends or family want to know what to get you this holiday, suggest the gift of student loan payments – click here for more info!