Campus Style

Black Friday officially kicked off the holiday shopping season. It’s easy to overspend when you’re buying gifts or partaking in retail therapy, so keep these pointers in mind when hitting the stores.

1. Say “no” to store credit cards

Save money during the holidays.

“Would you like to save 10 percent  today by opening up a credit card?” Although saving a few dollars is tempting, it’s not worth the hit to your credit score. Credit inquiries can harm your overall score, and those few extra points can make or break your approval for private graduate school loans or auto loans.

2. Is it a need or a want?

Do you need that cashmere sweater or do you want that cashmere sweater? Think about what you need before you enter a store. The point of a sale is to try and persuade you to make a purchase you normally wouldn’t consider. By sticking to your mental list you avoid impulse buys. Additionally, you save time by having a mission rather than browsing.

3. Save with a Google search

When purchasing online, most sites have a blank space to enter promo codes. Google the retail name along with the phrase “promo/coupon codes” to see if you can receive a discount or free shipping. has a wide variety to choose from: 15 percent off at American Apparel, 30 percent off a $100+ purchase and free shipping at PacSun, free shipping at Kara Loop.

4. Whip out your TCNJ ID

Keep your school ID in your wallet at all times. Before paying, ask if the store has a student discount (senior citizens aren’t the only ones who get perks). Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Juicy Couture and TopShop all participate. Hungry while shopping? Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle and Buffalo Wild Wings have student discounts at select locations as well.

5. Pay with cash

Joe Priester, formerly the president of the Society for Consumer Psychology, said, “Money is not as psychologically real when it is in the form of credit, so it is easier to spend more.” By physically handing over cash, your brain understands a loss. It’s easy to stop spending cash when you literally run out of money in your wallet. A credit card, on the other hand, is handed back to you so in essence there’s no immediately realized loss.

If, by chance, you forget these tips and get caught up in the shopping craze, at least have Suze Orman on speed dial.