UNITED STATES—It’s official, the holiday shopping season is upon us, and it is time to start spending money, but you need to be aware of a few things before you start spending. The greatest thing to happen in an odd way was the pandemic. Why? Before the pandemic, the retailers were opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. So that meant people were out shopping instead of spending the holiday with family.

In addition, workers were forced to punch the time clock in favor of businesses making money instead of spending that time with family. That has all changed because I’m almost certain 95 percent of most businesses are closed on Turkey Day which is how it should be. The days of those doors opening at 5 or 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day are long gone. Why?

The old tradition of stores opening at 5, 6 or 7 a.m. has returned and to be honest I am happy about that. Nothing is more exciting than getting up in the middle of the night and grabbing that coffee, bundling up in warm clothing and heading to the big box retailer or shopping mall to spend money on gifts for family, friends or let’s be honest, yourself.

However, the doorbuster items as they have been called in the past seem to be a thing of the past. Why? You had those retailers that would only have like 20 of those 32 inch TVs for $99. The inventory game has been significantly increased in recent years and that is a great thing. I never understood the mayhem of people running into stores, knocking people down, fighting to get their hands on an item. People, it really is NOT THAT SERIOUS AND IF YOU’RE BEHAVING IN THAT MANNER THAT IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM!

Behave and act like you have a bit of logical sense. With that said, be aware of what a sale is and what a lure is. You might think they are the same thing but let me be crystal clear as someone who has worked in retail, some people are easily fooled. The key words to look for is “up to” and “everything.” If you see a sign that says, ‘Items up to 70 percent off.” I can tell you right now, a vast majority of those items will NOT be 70 percent off, not at all. Now, if you see a sign that says, “Everything in store 60 percent off.” That is precisely what it means. EVERYTHING in the store will be 60 percent off and that is a deal.

I don’t believe anything under 50 percent is an actual deal because when you do the math you aren’t actually saving like you think you are. Can you imagine getting 40 percent of $50? That is only 20 bucks people, which means you have still spent $30. Tack on the tax and you’re only saved under $20. So did you get a deal or did you ‘think’ you got a deal. The evidence is all there for you to view.

Don’t just shop without a purpose on Black Friday because you will spend frivolously and it does no good for your wallet or Christmas list. You don’t want to just spend money for the sake of spending money. You want to ensure the items and things that you are buying are useful to you or the people on your list.

I’ll give you a great example, if you look at that ad from some of the retailers and you spot an item being advertised for $7.99 and then you see the regular price as $9.99; guess what, not really saving much money there. When you see something on sale for $6.99, but the regular price is $19.99, that’s a sale, people. Get the biggest bang for your buck that is possible. Sometimes the consumers are easily fooled, and you need to find ways to not allow yourself to be fooled.

Once the budget is set in play, and yes, you need to set one, don’t waiver from it. You’ve spent what you planned to spend and leave it at that. Black Friday is expected to be fun, exciting and a good ole time bonding with friends and family as you spend money, just don’t let the retailers get one over you, get one over on them.

Written By Jason Jones