Top 10 Black Friday
Shopping Tips 2016
Well, it’s Thanksgiving week and Black Friday is just about here — which is traditionally the official start of the commercial Christmas season and the busiest shopping day of the year. In anticipation of some retailers launching their Black Friday sales early by opening on Thanksgiving day, here is the annual OK WASSUP! Top 10 Black Friday shopping tips.
So you want to get the best deals for your buck, huh? Well, it’s going to take a little bit of smarts and quick thinking on your part to know how to make Black Friday work to your advantage. An abundance of local and online advertising can often be confusing to the Black Friday bargain hunter. So, to maximize the benefits of hitting the stores on a day when there are big crowds and a better deal around every corner, having an advance plan and doing preliminary research will help ensure a day of shopping success — and that’s where we come in with this list of Top 10 Black Friday shopping tips:
1. CHECK OUT THE ADS
Stores are making available printed and online versions of ads that will be stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with coupons and special deals. This will be your number one source to locate Black Friday deals. It will also help you organize your day to maximize savings since many stores offer special discounts that are time specific. Look for this example: Receive an extra 10% off if you shop before 11 a.m. Additionally, some stores will be price matching all week, so if you find a deal at one store, you can probably take that ad to another store and convince them to match the price.
2.) DO YOUR RESEARCH
If you’re hoping to scoop up a big-ticket item, get your research done and out-of-the-way ASAP. A bad product is a bad deal no matter how cheap it costs. For example, many stores are offering deals on unnamed brand TVs. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on its quality. Being knowledgeable about the products you want to buy will help you avoid being sucker-punched by great advertising for poor products. About.com is a good source of buying advice on a wide variety of products from professionals who have the knowledge to help you make good decisions. This could help you avoid the habitual impulse buying of products you eventually realize you just don’t want or need.
3.) COMPARE PRICES
Make use of shopping sites such as PriceGrabber.com to do a little comparison shopping before you buy. However, be sure to compare the “options” included with the product. Some retailers will low-ball the advertised price on a stripped down product, then charge extra for other necessary parts that will make the product perform as expected. A good example of this is often seen with super low-priced computer printers that come without the electrical cord or ink.
4.) EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS
The Early Bird Shopper is the real winner on Black Friday. Stores offering early-day shopping specials usually run the best deals from 5am until 11am with no “rain checks,” which means once they run out of the products, you’re out of luck. Scanning ads in advance and routing your trip based on your buying priorities will be important with any time-sensitive deals being offered.
5.) BEAT THE CROWD – BE A NIGHT OWL
Internet shoppers can beat the early birds by shopping online in the pre-dawn hours of Black Friday. Many retailers will post Black Friday specials that can be ordered online and picked-up at your local store. Special “Web only” deals are frequently available as early as Thanksgiving afternoon. This year, some stores will continue a recent tradition of opening on Thanksgiving day with early bird promotions in hopes of capturing your dollars ahead of the competition.
6.) BRING THE ADS
Many stores offer a “lowest price” guarantee, however, you may be required to produce a copy of the exact product being advertised for less. Most local retailers will not meet Internet prices even when the product is advertised on the same company’s website, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Print the web page with details of the product and the advertised price. It may give you additional bargaining power and push the sales person into waiving other charges such as assembly fees.
7.) KNOW STORE POLICIES
Knowing a store’s policies on returns can help you determine where to buy. A previous trend of extending “return days” during the holidays is almost non-existent nowadays. Also, many retailers are beginning to include restocking fees and shorter return deadlines. Almost all of the major retail chains require receipts for returns and exchanges, while many keep a database of individuals who tend to abuse return policies. If you land on the “abuse” list, just be prepared to be turned down.
8.) GET GIFT RECEIPTS
Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Including gift receipts inside the gift box will make returns or exchanges easier for the gift recipient. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be denied returning or exchanging the item.
Since many retailers begin permanently slashing prices as soon as Black Friday is over, the difference between what you pay for a gift during December and what it sells for in January can be significant. Including a gift receipt should help ensure a hassle-free return experience for gift recipients.
9.) GIVE GIFT CARDS
These days, the gift of cash is often more appreciated and/or needed than those socks or wool scarfs you’re planning to give. Although it may be considered tacky to hand someone a wad of dollar bills, it’s perfectly acceptable to hand them a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express Gift Card. That way, they can buy the gift they want, take someone out to dinner, or even pay a bill they desperately need taken care of much more than a fancy box of handkerchiefs.
10.) KNOW YOUR BUDGET
It’s important to know your budget and not go over it just to stick with the “tradition” of spending during the holidays. If you can afford lavish gifts for all of your family and friends, great. But if not, remember it’s the thought that counts and not the price tag that’s attached. A small token of a gift, such as a book, iTunes or Amazon gift card, favorite sweet dessert, or bottle of wine could make for a suitable yet inexpensive gift. Or, a homemade gift designed solely for the recipient will not only show you put personalized thought into your present, but your wallet will thank you too!
Have fun, be safe, and be smart while you shop!