Black Friday bargain-hunters began arriving at the Regina Best Buy just before 5:30 a.m. Friday morning in anticipation of the 6 a.m. opening.
“Had to take the day off today just to be here,” said one shopper who waited in line for a television.
The Cornwall Centre also opened earlier than normal at 8 a.m. and was very busy.
But experts say that debt and disorganized shopping can ruin the merry intentions of the holidays.
Pamela Meger, a licensed insolvency trustee with MNP Regina, says roughly 300 people file for bankruptcy in Saskatchewan every month, for reasons that can include overspending.
She fears that consumers who can’t pay for Black Friday purchases within a few days or months won’t be getting a good deal.
“Sometimes what people don’t consider is that, if they do charge it to their credit card and are unable to pay it as soon as they charge it, the interest that they’re charged over the next few months until the balance is paid can outdo the savings that they actually thought they were getting.”
Meger suggests simply saving your receipts in an envelope and adding them up after each purchase, to reduce stress and debt. Plus, this method is useful in case you end up having to make a return.
“If you actually have an eye on it, it’s really easy to keep track of it and not let it get out of control. Because you’re really not comfortable with the end number, but you don’t know the end number until it’s too late,” she said.
Joanne Frederick, a registered psychologist located in Regina, says the impact of debt is more than just financial.
“There’s almost a sense of dread mixed with excitement, and I worry about how that affects people.”
She added that the holidays can be stressful in general as people try to attend as many events as possible and end up taking on too much responsibility, as well as debt.
Her professional opinion is simple.
“My recommendation always is when you feel overwhelmed, the best response is to slow down, pause, find some clarity, let the dust settle and then proceed,” Frederick said.
She added that it’s always wise to take a moment to think twice about your purchases, whether online or in-store.
“Do we really need to buy that $500 gift, or can we express our love in a different way that’s not necessarily about the value of a gift?”