Skip the lines and put your money to better use with these 6 tips
Black Friday is the pinnacle of American consumerism. Every year, you see stories on the news about people lining up the night of Thanksgiving in order to get those doorbuster deals bright and early Friday morning. In fact, some retailers can’t even wait until Black Friday 2019 in order to lure customers in — Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s, Macys, JCPenney, Sears, Kmart, and dozens of others will be open Thursday evening, too, waiting to take your hard-earned cash.
OK, I love finding great shopping deals as much as the next person. But, let’s be honest: When you get home on Friday with a bag full of goodies, all you will have are bags full of liabilities.
Although there are a few sneaky ways to blur the lines between assets and liabilities, for the most part, liabilities are things that take money out of your pocket. Assets put money back into your pocket. Liabilities lose value over time, while assets continue to accumulate wealth. Even if it’s one of your very favorite Thanksgiving traditions, everything on sale at the mall on Black Friday 2019 is, in fact, a liability.
On Black Friday, people are so focused on the savings that they don’t realize that they’re not really saving at all. They’re still spending tons of money on liabilities, even if they are marked down.
So this year, instead of getting up at four in the morning to wait in line to spend money on liabilities — or pushing away from the dinner table on Thursday evening, assuming you can find a roomy enough pair of pants to squeeze into, to do the same thing — consider spending your Black Friday 2019 putting your money to better use. Below are five alternate ways you can spend Black Friday and perhaps start new Thanksgiving traditions.
Pay yourself first
When you receive a paycheck, who do you pay first? If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably paying everyone else first: your rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, car payment, insurance, etc. Once you’re done paying all those bills, you stick whatever you have left (if anything) into savings—that’s the classic “paying yourself last” scenario. Then you patiently await your next paycheck and repeat the process all over again.
But if you ever want to get out of the rat race, then I’m here to tell you you’re doing it wrong. Instead, you want to pay yourself first. Yes, first! People who choose to pay themselves first allocate money to the asset column of their balance sheet before they’ve paid their monthly expenses. Essentially, you set aside a specific amount of money right off the bat, and then live off what’s leftover. And that’s how wealth grows.
So let’s say you’re taking home about $4,000 a month. If you first pay yourself $500, then you have $3,500 left for living expenses. After one year’s time, you’ll have saved $6,000. You can even set this up automatically with your bank, to remove the temptation of spending the “extra” money.
Invest in assets
This Black Friday, skip the liabilities and invest in assets that will put more money back in your pocket. Remember, the key word when investing in assets is “cash flow.” You want to invest in things that will generate extra cash for you every month.
My favorite investment vehicle for cash flow is real estate. If you can find and source a good deal for a solid building in a great location, the rent you receive from that asset can be extra cash flow into your pocket every month. Robert and I have written books and designed classes to help you learn how to do this. So, for Black Friday 2019, consider signing up for one of our free investing classes — such as the beginner-level “Start Building Your Financial Fortune” or the advanced class “How to Invest With Other People’s Money” — and start learning how to put money back in your pocket just in time for the holidays.
Here’s the best part about investing in assets: you can use the passive income (or cash flow) your assets generate to buy all your holiday gifts. Instead of dipping into your savings or getting into debt by overcharging a credit card, invest in an asset that will generate cash flow that you can use specifically to complete your holiday shopping list.
Donate to charity
As the saying goes, “Give and you shall receive.” It seems like a counterintuitive idea, but I’ve found the wealthiest people I know make room to give back, even when they were first starting out and had almost no money.
One line of the Rich Woman’s Creed is, “I am grateful,” and Thanksgiving is the time of year when this line is at the forefront of our minds. It’s one of those time-honored Thanksgiving traditions: to count your blessings, give thanks for all you have, and give back to those in need.
Sharing what you have, and lifting up others, is far more rewarding than standing in line for hours, and shoving people aside to get the last Instant Pot or Roomba. Even if you don’t think you have enough money to make monetary donations, you can still donate your time. Spend Friday helping out in the community, and spreading love to those around you.
Teach your family and friends about financial freedom
Thanksgiving is when family and friends come together to give thanks for one another and spend time together. Maybe your Thanksgiving traditions include touch football in the backyard while the turkey is getting golden brown and naps in front of the TV before the pie course. This year, between the green bean casserole and the inevitable political discussions, make time to discuss financial freedom with your family and friends.
A lot of people will shy away from that idea. Talking about money at Thanksgiving? No thanks!
But Thanksgiving might be the perfect time to bring up a discussion on money. With New Years on the horizon, and people starting to think about setting goals for 2020, why not start the discussion with your friends and family about financial freedom?
You can start small. After all, no one likes the family member who comes to dinner and brags about how thankful they are for their sports car and thriving portfolio. This discussion shouldn’t start with you, but with your loved ones.
Start by asking questions: What would your perfect year look like for 2020? What would you like to be thankful for at next year’s Thanksgiving? What can you do now to make sure that vision comes true?
If you come at it from a caring standpoint, and not an intrusive one, you can get the wheels spinning for your friends and family to make a change in their financial strategy.
If starting a conversation doesn’t feel appropriate after a few glasses of wine or in mixed company, then consider breaking out a board game that not only teaches you how to invest and acquire assets, but also allows you to test different wealth-building strategies you may be too shy to try in real life: CASHFLOW the Board Game. It’s the perfect after-dinner learning tool that’s disguised as a party game. Trust me, after a rousing round of CASHFLOW, nobody will want to shell out money in the name of Black Friday 2019.
If you have younger kids joining your Thanksgiving celebration, set them up with CASHFLOW for Kids — it’s never too early to teach the next generation the core principles of cashflow, capital gains, assets and liabilities, in a fun, easy-to-understand game.
Start your business
Now here’s a fun twist when it comes to Thanksgiving traditions: Be on the receiving end of the holiday shopping mayhem and start your own business selling online.
This is the best time of year to start your business, particularly if you are selling a product online. As holiday shopping picks up, people will be scouring the Internet looking for that perfect gift for Cousin Mary and Uncle David, and you might just be the one to give it to them.
Maybe it’s too late to start your business in time for Black Friday 2019 or Cyber Monday, but there’s still plenty of time to get an online business up and running for the holidays. Platforms like Etsy and Amazon are the perfect place to start selling gifts that other people would love to give.
You certainly don’t have to quit your day job to get a business off the ground, either — check out these seven ways to start a business without quitting your job for a little inspiration with a built-in safety net.
This weekend, instead of spending your time and money at someone else’s business, get your plan together to start your own business.
Invest in your financial education
The best gift you can get yourself is financial education. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. That kitchen appliance you bought on sale or the two-for-one deal on cute blouses will all lose their value the minute you leave the store with them. But financial education is the one thing you can buy that will only increase in value with time.
Financial education comes in many forms. There are hundreds of books that range from very broad financial topics to extremely narrow investment practices. At Rich Dad, we have a range of classes and coaching sessions you can sign up for that will help you learn about improving every area of your financial strategy.
Find a mentor and treat them to a post-Thanksgiving coffee. Pick their brain about your financial goals and how to achieve them. Learn from their wisdom.
What other classes or education are out there that can help you increase your knowledge? Start researching this weekend and get your plan together to fill the holes in your financial education.
Giving thanks for a wonderful year
I am thankful for so many things this holiday season. Friends, family, my husband Robert. But most of all, I’m thankful that I’m in a business I love, giving back and helping others achieve their financial dreams.
What are you thankful for this year? Is financial freedom on the list, or are you still working toward that? What can you do this year that will ensure you’ll be toasting your financial success over next year’s turkey?
Original publish date: November 23, 2016