Mere hours after focusing on all the things we’re thankful for, we’re drawn out before dawn to buy more things. The temptation of finding price cuts and sales at stores big and small is almost too much to bear.

It’s Black Friday, and while there are good —even great — savings available, if you’re buying things you don’t need or buying items without doing your homework, you may not be saving at all. So how can you decipher the good deals from the bad deals and make it through this year’s spending extravaganza with your shopping smarts intact? We’ve got your Black Friday survival strategy.


Put Your Emotions Away

Shopping with your heart, not your head is the easiest way to over spend or over buy. Look at every purchase logically, asking yourself:
  • Do I need it (or just want it)? 
  • Will I use it? 
  • How often will I use it? 
  • Where will I put it?
  • Do I need it now?  
  • Will he/she really enjoy it (if it is a gift)?
Create a Budget

You should know exactly how much you can spend BEFORE you leave your house to shop. Use your MAX Mobile Banking app to make sure you’re staying on track. You can quickly and easily transfer money between your  accounts  if needed. When computing your total for spending, remember to include sales tax in your figuring. You can also create or adjust your budget using Smartfolio. Use the tools within Smartfolio, such as text alerts, to stay on track.

Make a List
Before you hit the stores, arm yourself with a list of the items you’re interested in. Avoid everything else, since other items you see while shopping will most likely result in impulse buying.

Use Your Digital Wallet
If you are a MAX customers, you can use Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay with any of your MAX checking accounts. Most major retailers accept all three of these digital wallet options. And the convenience of using your smartphone to quickly move through the checkout line is undeniable on a day like Black Friday. 

Research Your List

Most retailers advertise their Black Friday specials well in advance, giving you the opportunity to do a little homework. Check the ratings and reviews on items you’re thinking about purchasing to see if they live up to the hype. Take the time to “comparison shop” and explore options online. Many stores sell the same items, and some retailers will have better prices on specific items. Also, bring your Black Friday ads with you when you shop. Make sure the price at the store matches what was advertised. If not, ask to speak to a manager. They’ll usually give you the advertised price, even if it was a mistake in the printing of the ad.

Read the Fine PrintWoman using her smart phone.

If you have big-ticket items on your list (especially electronics or tech gadgets) make sure you understand the warranty information, return policies and any additional services or items you’ll have to purchase to operate the devices.

Watch Out for the Price Hike

Sometimes, what looks like a great deal is really just a little off the regular price. Some stores jack prices up before Black Friday and then knock a huge percentage off to give the illusion of major savings.

Remember Layaway

Layaway is making a comeback and is a great alternative to racking up credit card debt to buy things on Black Friday. You can secure your item, lock in the Black Friday price and pay for part of it up front. You’ll pay off the rest, interest free, over several weeks or months, and then pick up your item when it is paid in full.

Delay Your Gratification

If you don’t need something right away, consider forgoing Black Friday all together. Many times, the same items will be even cheaper closer to Christmas.
If you know the big-ticket items you’ll be after on Black Friday, you can use MAX’s savings calculators to help you start saving now for the purchase and finish Black Friday debt-free.