It's the epitome of the capitalist market, and the final frontier of money-spending crowds and register-clinking malls.
It's Black Friday: the sweet and bitter friend we welcome into our lives right in time for the Thanksgiving aftermath.
As a Millennial, I'm obsessed with everything at a discount: both online and offline.
If I see red or percentages off, I already see them in my basket, on my way to the register. This is a completely unhealthy approach to personal finance management, and most of Gen-Y will surely agree with me on this.
Unlike our parents, we can't afford houses before we turn 30, and we sure as hell can't allow ourselves to be swept into these consumerist vibes.
Yes, it can be very difficult to stay away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Yet, I've found the key lies in learning how to make them work for you instead of against you.
Here are three things to do in order to take control of your finances this Black Friday:
1. Make a list of things you actually need.
At the moment, there are quite a few things missing from my home, such as a proper blender to smoothie my mornings out, energy-saving lightbulbs and proper cooking pots and utensils.
If I can find these items on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, I can save myself money and focus on living a healthier, more financially savvy life. You should do the same.
I know that sounds like a far-fetched goal for a Millennial, but I think it can be done.
2. Pinpoint the products.
One of the issues I fear the most is walking into the mall and being inevitably attracted to all the shoes and curling irons on sale. I will most likely need Jedi-level concentration skills to make sure I don't steer away from the things I should buy.
Remember this: Hitting high-end fashion boutiques on Black Friday is not a good idea. Stick to tried-and-tested places where you know you'll find the products you need, rather than the ones you desire.
Also, as a born-and-bred Millennial, I keep an eye on online offers too. But I only do it only for sites I know are genuine and reliable.
Not only are untrustworthy sites unlikely to provide you with what you ordered, but they can also seriously threaten your cybersecurity.
Therefore, I won't share any information about my purchases online. I never realized this, but all the Facebook and Instagram sharing can be dangerous for both my credit card and my personal integrity.
For example, Crescent Credit gives us a few good examples on how social engineering functions. They are:
If you share any information about your pet, social engineers can use that answer as a security question and break into your email or online banking.
If you respond to a meme and unintentionally disclose personal information such as your age, the information can again be used by social engineers.
These are more than plausible scenarios, and they're even more likely to happen during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday craze.
3. Practice motivational thoughts to help yourself make it through.
I know it's going to be a terrible weekend for me, as well as for anyone else who doesn't want to end up being broke and in debt after Black Friday.
So, I came up with some “mantras” to constantly repeat to myself in order to stay on the right track:
1. "I have 18 pairs of high heels. That's more than I need, since I work from home and rarely doll up to go out."
2. "I don't need expensive items to make myself feel pretty. I'm absolutely stunning just the way I am."
3. "I can binge-watch Netflix shows on my laptop, thank you very much. I really don't need a bigger (and newer) screen for this."
4. "My tablet does a very good job of helping me through sleepy mornings. A new one would be overkill, honestly."
Millennials, let's bust the myth and show everyone we can actually be financially responsible this fall. You in?