After celebrating Thanksgiving Day with the usual spread of turkey and cranberry sauce, it has become common practice for many to continue their Thanksgiving traditions into the next day with the chaotic, holiday shopping venture known as Black Friday.
Black Friday originates from the accounting term in which black ink denotes positive profit margins and the day is considered by many to kickoff holiday sales goals.
As Americans continue to live below their means within the weak economy, Black Friday has become credited as the busiest shopping day of the year due to its offerings of extreme discounts. Should you choose to be one of the brave souls who ventures out with the masses on Black Friday, here are five tips on how to make the most of the holiday bargains:
1. Compare Prices Beforehand
If you have a certain product in mind to purchase on Black Friday, websites such as PriceGrabber, Pricewatch, and Bizrate offer price comparison features to ensure that you make your purchase from the most affordable source possible and some even provide email notifications when new Black Friday ads are posted.
To put one of these sites to the test, we looked up the TomTom VIA 1505T GPS on PriceGrabber and found fifteen price comparisons for the product listed for up to $304.17. PriceGrabber then identified Amazon to be the most affordable retailer and provided a link to purchase the GPS for only $99.99, equaling a savings of over two hundred dollars!
Besides looking at the surface price of a product though, be sure to also compare the details of seemingly identical deals being offered by various stores. Some retailers list an incredibly low price for a product (such as a printer), but then purposely leave needed components out of the bundle (such as printer ink) and force you to spend more in the long run than you would with competing retailers.
2. Shop Online
Although most Black Friday consumers willingly race one another down store aisles to get their hands on coveted, low-priced items, more clever Black Friday shoppers have found that many of the same deals can be purchased online beginning on Friday at 12:01 AM, well before Cyber Monday.
Some of these online retailers still require you to pick up purchased products at the nearest store, but avoiding hoards of shoppers and the never-ending search to find a parking spot can still be worth it in the long run.
recognising that more shoppers than ever are on budget and may be discouraged by gas prices though, other retailers are allowing purchases to be made completely online and are throwing in free shipping as well. Factor in that a number of online retailers don’t charge sales tax, and the savings really add up.
3. Avoid Impulse Buys
While doing your Black Friday shopping online seems ideal, some products still require consumers to physically leave their house and venture into he madness of busy stores. As you comb through the aisles for that specific item, be careful not to give in to the lure of discounts on additional products that you did not originally intend to purchase.
One hot retail item for the holiday season is the ever-popular iPad. According to CNet, T.J.Maxx and Marshalls will be offering a limited number of entry level iPads this Black Friday for $399. Normally priced at $499, a one hundred dollar discount might seem like a bargain, but if you were originally shopping at these retailers for other purposes and have no use for an iPad, consider how much extra money you will pay overall versus not purchasing the iPad in the first place.
4. Choose Discounted Products Wisely
On Black Friday, you will see deals listed in every department of every store, but not all discounts are worth the purchase and a handful of specific items can actually be purchased for much less during other times of the year.
Coveted items like televisions and jewelry will be paired with enticing discounts, but according to DealNews these products are actually listed at some of their highest prices during the holidays due to increased demand. In addition, these so-called discounts rarely include well-known brands.
Other items like calendars, winter apparel, and holiday decorations are considered seasonal buys and can be found for a much better bargain beginning in January compared to their “discounted” listings on Black Friday,
5. Take Advantage of Credit Card Benefits and Rebates
It goes without saying that reckless credit card spending can result in significant credit card bills and sky-high interest rates. However, you can take advantage of free benefits, extended warranties, and sale price protection offers when you use your credit card responsibly with specific retailers on Black Friday.
And after making a purchase, be sure to ask for an extra copy of the receipt that you can then send out with rebates. Some store websites even offer rebate applications online, thus allowing you to avoid having to physically mailing out receipts altogether.