Black Friday shopping can be tricky these days, especially with the deals starting so early in the season now! This year, many stores like Walmart and Macy’s, are spreading out the Black Friday sales over a few weeks. Since I am always on a budget, and the holidays are no exception, here are 7 tried and true tips that I am passing on to you for Black Friday shopping so that you can have a successful shopping experience!
1) Plan Ahead!
Make a list, as ahead of time as possible, of all of the people that you have to buy for. Try to think of one or two ideas for each person. Be as specific as you can, down to the brand, size or model number. Write down a price range that you are willing to spend on each item.
Start paying attention to the ads. If you are in the store, scan the aisles for your gift list items. You want to know the regular price of your items, and any possible sale prices. This is how you will know if you’re really getting a good deal or not on Black Friday. If you will be shopping online, start now to get an idea of the normal or sale price when it’s not Black Friday. I have found some stores to mark prices up a week or so before Thanksgiving so that they can mark them way down to look like a big sale. When in reality, it’s not a good deal at all!
3) Spoiler Alert
Take advantage of the Black Friday sale leaks. Most major department stores leak their Black Friday sales on their websites, or in emails. Or you can go to a site that consolidates all of the sales like blackfriday.com.
4) Dare to Compare
Did you know that there are websites out there that will compare prices for you? This is where having a particular brand, size, model etc. picked out ahead of time comes in handy, but it is not completely necessary. You can still search a general item. Yahoo shopping is a great one, or Bizrate. They each deal with a different set of stores and sellers, but this will give you a good idea of what the item sells for. I am thinking of buying my husband an air fryer for Christmas. I haven’t picked out a specific brand, but I know price is my first consideration, and size my next. From what I have seen recently, $69.99 for a 3 qt. air fryer is a good price. If there is one in a similar size for a higher price, it is not going to be a good deal.
5) Read the Fine Print
Be sure to read the ad carefully. Prices can be only good for certain hours, some only good for certain days. Some deals are doorbusters-which means in store only. Deals can be online only. Not reading the fine print has bitten me in the butt several times. More than once I have stood in line, only to find out my deal had expired an hour earlier. Or was online only. Or I have added something to my online cart and tired to check out, and the deal was in store only. Stores get tricky on their black Friday deals!
6) Plan Your Big Day
Now that you have made your list, checked it twice and you know what a good price range is for each gift, write on your list which store or site has the best price. Be sure to include if it’s in store only, online only, good for certain hours, etc. You may need to consider things like, is the price worth waking up at 3 am and going out in the cold and dark and standing in line to get it? Or waiting up until midnight to order online? Can you go after the early rush?
7) Insider Tips!
If you are shopping in the store, and the store is open 24 hours (like Walmart!) and the sale prices don’t start until a certain time, get to the store at least 30 minutes before the sale prices start. Since the store is open, you don’t have to wait outside in line in the cold, and you can fill your cart up with all of the things on the list. Then go stand by the checkout lines until the clock turns, and you should be out of there in about five minutes! I have done this many times and it works like a charm! Another tip-look for deals in more unconventional places. My grocery store, Fry’s Marketplace, sells toys and housewares. One year, I notice that a Barbie camper on my list was in their ad for a great price on Black Friday. It was a gamble, but I didn’t think most people would’ve noticed that the hot toy was in the grocery store ad, so I went later in the day. The store was empty, and there were plenty of Barbie campers in stock. Score!
These days, I don’t typically go beyond my couch to Black Friday shop. My kids have grown out of the big toy of the year stage, and don’t really ask for the big hot electronic items. There would have to be a really spectacular deal to get me out there!
Whether you stay home and shop from the couch, or brace the crowds, I hope these 7 tips and help you to have a successful Black Friday shopping experience!