Black Friday Pro Tips

There’s a chill in the air and the leaves are falling off trees. Before we know it, Thanksgiving is going to be here! The day we wait for every year to eat turkey, watch football, and spend time with family and friends carrying out various traditions. A post-Thanksgiving tradition my sisters and I have adopted is going shopping on Black Friday.

I’m positive that we aren’t the only ones who like to take part in the mania that occurs the day after Thanksgiving. More than 150 million people in the United States shopped on Black Friday in 2015. Here’s another fun fact – Black Friday got its name because it’s the one day of the year retailers make a profit, or are “in the black” for all you accountants out there. So while we may believe that we as consumers are winning with all of the deals we score, retailers are definitely reaping the benefits of one of the busiest shopping days of the year (the Saturday before Christmas is actually the busiest!).

To make sure we all make the most of Black Friday shopping this year and score the best deals possible, I’ve compiled a list of tips for you!

  • Make an overall budget and stick to it! – Limit yourself to what you know you can afford to spend. You don’t want to spend more than what you budgeted, so try to bring cash for only what you plan on spending, and leave credit cards at home.
  • Be aware of false, marked up prices. – Retailers will often show the original price next to the sale price, but sometimes that original price is misleading. Know the actual value of what you are thinking about purchasing, so you don’t think you are getting a better deal than you really are.
  • Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale. I once bought 3 of the same shirt in different colors because they were so cheap on Black Friday. Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I ever wore one of them. They weren’t even my style. Don’t do what I did!
  • Watch out for low-quality products. Sometimes retailers will sell products that seem great, until you really look at their specifications. This can include TVs with lower resolution, cameras with fewer megapixels, or iPads with less storage. Make sure you read up on what you are buying.
  • Don’t fall for the old “bait and switch”. Retailers will lure shoppers in with great sales on certain products. But since sale products move off the shelves so quickly on Black Friday, retailers conveniently place higher priced items nearby to get customers to consider buying those instead. I bought a TV after falling for this. The TV I had planned on buying was sold out, so I bought a more expensive model that was FULL PRICE. I still haven’t forgiven myself.
  • Read the sale details before you get to the register. Sometimes, you think you’re saving $100 on a product until you get to the register. You might learn that to save that money, you need to pay up front and then mail in your receipt for a rebate. This is something that really annoys me, because who wants to spend all of that money up front. I also always fear I might lose the receipt before I get a chance to mail it in, which would be an expensive mistake. Always read the fine print ahead of time.
  • It doesn’t hurt to ask. Ask about price matching. If you can find a product cheaper somewhere else, see if the store you’re at will match that price. If not, there’s nothing wrong with leaving the item behind and getting it cheaper elsewhere.
  • When all else fails, there is still Cyber Monday. The Monday after Thanksgiving is a huge day for online shopping, with so many great sales. You can shop conveniently from home and avoid the massive crowds. Cyber Monday is often a great day to book a hotel or a flight, which is not something Black Friday is good for.

If you’re going out for a Black Friday shopping adventure, start preparing yourself now with these tips. If you have any tips, I would love to read them. Leave your tips in the comments section. Happy Shopping!

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