Black Friday has a lot of competition these days: rivals Cyber Monday, and early “Black Friday” sales have given this traditional day a run for your money. And the battle seems to get fiercer every year.
The good news, if you aren’t a Black Friday person, is many retailers release big deals early – they don’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving anymore. And if you are a Black Friday thrill-junkie – the deals might last more than one day this year!
Whether you’re taking advantage of the early deals, or gulping down your turkey to get to planning, you need to prepare properly. Here are some steps to keep your head in the game, and more money in your wallet:
(1) Make a list of the most sought-after items your gift-receivers want.
(2) Research the normal price, and any early price slashes from retailers. You need a starting point for what is truly a good deal.
(3) If you can get it now for a really good price, consider buying. Just check the refund policies of the retailer, in case it goes lower later. If it’s not a good price yet, check weekly for price changes.
Now, if you are a Black Friday warrior…
(1) Armed with your gift and price list – scrutinize all the ads that come in Thanksgiving’s newspaper or have been posted online.
(2) Notate where the items you want are on sale, and if the price is ‘your’ price. Be sure to cross-reference all stores that have the item you seek.
(3) Taking note of sale start times and whether your item(s) are ‘hot’ this year – plan your store to store route. Be sure to start wherever you’ll get the most items or the most desired item(s).
(4) Remember that some stores will allow people in early, but you won’t be able to purchase items until a certain time. And plan accordingly if an item you want will require standing in a ‘limited quantity’ line. You don’t want to arrive too late to get one.
Items that are often limited quantity: computers; televisions; gadgets, like GPS units, gaming devices and video players; hot toys of the year, including video games and interactive devices; steeply discounted housewares and clothing.
(5) Last, but VERY important… Retailers count on the excitement of Black Friday shoppers to pull in a big chunk of their yearly take. And it’s not from their loss leaders, of course. It’s all the other items people will grab in the frenzy. Items that may or may not even be on sale at all. So avoid the temptation of grabbing items you didn’t have on your list – unless you know without a doubt it’s a steal.
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