Don’t let Black Friday deals bust your budget! Strategies to keep your spending in check

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MILWAUKEE -- Black Friday is known for is door-busting deals and bargain-hunting shoppers. Local financial advisor Brad Allen from Drake and Associates joins Real Milwaukee with tips to help you make the most of your time and money this Black Friday.

Shoppers are expected to spend an average of more than $1,200 on everything from gifts to travel this holiday season. Thanksgiving weekend is still a popular time to shop, and more than 60% of holiday shoppers say they will make a trip to the stores to find a deal. As you hunt for deals this holiday season, it can be easy to let your spending get out of control.

BEFORE YOU HIT THE STORES:

MAKE A PLAN. Take inventory of who you're shopping for, what you're planning to buy and how much you can afford to spend.

RATION YOUR CASH. Swiping your credit card makes it easy to lose track of how much you're spending. Cash provides a visual reminder you are spending your hard-earned money. If you have to use a credit card for a purchase, consider using your card with the lowest interest rate, and make sure you pay it off. Avoid opening store credit cards or paying extra fees for layaway.

WHILE YOU'RE SHOPPING:
Ask Questions. ask the employees how long certain sales will last. And be sure to ask about the store's return policy.  If there is a specific sale item you are looking for, bring the Black Friday ad with you and ask for help.

Double Check Deals. Not all items are deeply discounted on Black Friday, so don't fall for the hype. Do some online research to check the original price of the gifts you're buying; also check other retailers to see what that item is selling for. Compare that to the sale price to see if it really is a great deal. Retailers also offer limited-time sales. For example, the special price on that big screen TV might expire at midnight. Double-check the items you're buying to make sure you're getting the right price and that it fits in your budget.

AFTER YOU SHOP:
Document Everything. Take notes on where you saved or where you overspent. Check your budget throughout the holiday season to see how much money you have left to spend or where you need to cut back. Most importantly, keep your receipts. You might find a bigger discount closer to Christmas Day, and your receipt will come in handy if you need to make an exchange.

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