What to Do with Your Money Instead of Shopping on Black Friday

November 13, 2015

What to Do with Your Money Other than Black Friday

Tired of how early the holiday shopping season starts? This year, make a statement: vote with your dollar and put your money to better use than joining the shopping frenzy on Black Friday.

You’ll avoid the crowds (and the consumer culture!), have more time to spend with your loved ones, and build a better financial situation all at once. If you’re not sure what to do with your money instead, let us get you started with these suggestions for putting your dollars in a few other places.

Look at Your Retirement Accounts

Take a look at your 401(k) plans, traditional or Roth IRAs — whatever retirement account you have, pull it up and check out the balance. Are you on track to maxing it out? Here’s a quick guide on contribution limits for 2015:

  • You can contribute up to $18,000 to accounts including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, Thrift Savings Plans, and most 457 plans. If you’re over 50, you’re eligible for catch-up contributions and may put in up to $24,000.
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs have a $5,500 contribution limit. If you’re 50 or older, you can contribute $6,500.

If you need to catch up, you have time! Make an extra contribution and build your wealth — and financial security. (On track with your retirement goals? Throw some extra money into your emergency fund instead!)

Give to Others in Need

While it’s fun to shop for gifts for your friends and family, they, like you, probably have most of what they truly need. This year, why not allocate some of your shopping budget to your favorite charity?

You can make a cash donation, or you can work with organizations like Heifer International. With Heifer, your money can go toward purchasing something tangible for communities in need — and you can do so in the name of a friend or family member for their holiday gift, too. For example, you can “give” something like goats or cows. Or you can fund a project, like digging a well.

When you purchase something from the gift catalog, you can do so in honor of someone else — and they’ll get a lovely holiday card sharing what they gave to a community who will put this gift to excellent use.

Invest in Yourself

It’s really hard to hit the mall and all your favorite stores while shopping for others during the holidays — and not bring home a little something for yourself. After all, Black Friday does feature some great deals for savvy shoppers.

But instead of funneling your money to material possessions, consider how you can invest in yourself instead. This is a separate conversation from the investments you can do with your retirement plans and brokerage accounts. You can also invest in your knowledge, skills, and happiness.

Is there a hobby you want to pick up? How about an ability you have that you want to further develop? Or is there a skill you want to learn but aren’t sure where to start?

It may cost money to get involved with these things, but it’s okay to put money in your budget to invest in bettering yourself as a person or adding to what you know and can do.

If you want to learn a new skill but can’t afford traditional higher education, search out courses on Skillshare or Udemy. And don’t forget about YouTube! There are a number of tutorials there, and these videos are completely free.

If you want to engage in a new hobby and need lessons or training, wrap that into your budget — or consider if you can barter with an instructor or trainer. Can you offer them help with their business in some way in exchange for lessons? (One of our team members, for example, writes articles for her gym’s newsletter in exchange for a spot in a group class.)

Know that it’s okay to spend that money on yourself in this way — and it’s much more productive than spending money on Black Friday shopping.

Think about your values and what’s important to you this year. For most of us, Black Friday craziness is not high on our personal values list (which, instead, probably includes things like Family, Community, Growth, Happiness, or Wisdom). So instead of joining the crowds, consider using your money in a better way.

How do you want to put your dollars to use this year?

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love free access to more content from The Money Guys. Click here to learn more and join the community!

Most Recent Episodes

3 WORST Types of Financial Crooks (Don’t Get Scammed!)

In the financial world, there are a lot of crooks that try to get into your pockets. From metaphorical crooks selling a bad product to literal crooks stealing your money, we'll cover the different types of financial crooks to watch out for and how you can protect...

Financial Advisors React to NFL Players Spending Their First Million!

Not many Americans will ever make over one million dollars in a year, but professional athletes regularly make that and more. In this react video, we'll see how NFL players spent their first million dollars after making it into the league. As we review their mistakes...

Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Investing!

Over the years, we have had some great conversations about real estate investing. In this episode, we put together the ultimate guide to show you everything you need to know about real estate investing! In this episode, you'll learn: How to get started in real estate...

The Truth About The FIRE Movement! (Is FIRE Still Possible?)

Since the advent of the FIRE movement several decades ago, we have never experienced a period of higher inflation until now. With the market down over 20% and inflation at 40-year highs, is FIRE still possible in 2022? If it is, what does it take to become financially...

Top 3 Most Controversial Money Issues! (Our Hot Takes)

We have some unpopular opinions about controversial money topics. In this episode, we'll discuss our three biggest controversial hot takes, including our thoughts on nice cars, wealthy people, and real estate. You won't want to miss this one! In this episode, you'll...

Why College in America is Broken [And What You Can Do About It]

College costs in America have skyrocketed over the last few decades, as has the total student loan debt in the country. In this episode, we'll talk about why college in America is broken, what went wrong, and how you can do college the right way. In this episode,...

Why This Recession is Going to Be VERY Different!

Every recession is different, and this one is no exception: we are currently experiencing once-in-a-lifetime inflation and started the recession with historically low interest rates. Will this recession be different from any other we've experienced? How will it end...

How to Protect Your Finances During a Recession! (By Age)

The S&P 500 recently crossed over into bear market territory, and many in the financial media believe we are in a recession. Bear markets and recessions affect everyone differently, and we think there are certain things you need to focus on (or forget about) by...

Avoid These Home Buying Mistakes! (Even During a Crazy Market)

Housing prices have gone up over 30% in the last two years, and over 70% when you account for rising interest rates. However, there are some glimmers of hope in the housing market for those looking to buy. Will the market cool off anytime soon? How can you buy a house...

Financial Advisors React to OUTRAGEOUS Money Advice on TikTok!

The most powerful time to get serious about building wealth is when you’re young. So, what is the younger generation learning? Financial Advice (good and bad) is being produced in massive rates across online platforms and Tik Tok is the new frontier. Is there good...

Financial strategies to your inbox!

Never miss a show again, get special offers and early access. Ready to build wealth and start owning your time? 

You have Successfully Subscribed!