Use these insider secrets to save big on the year’s largest shopping day.
Smart shoppers know that the day after Thanksgiving is the day to score the best deals. These 10 tips will help you find the absolute best buys this year.
Do Your Research
Start Ahead of Time
Many major retailers launch their Black Friday sales as early as two weeks before the official day. Last year, Gap offered “Bright Friday” markdowns of up to 60 percent starting the day before Thanksgiving, and Toys “R” Us offered 25 percent off deals and gifts with purchases from October 28 to November 21.
Snag Bonus Discounts
If waking up at the crack of dawn is part of the thrill for you, you’ll love the trend of rewarding early birds with extra discounts. For example, last year, H&M gave the first 100 people in line tickets for up to $300 in store credit. And at midnight, Sports Authority rewarded the first 80 customers to walk through its doors with cards worth up to $500.
Divide and Conquer
Chances are you will want to hit more than one store on Black Friday. But quantities of advertised products will be limited—in some cases, as few as 10 or 20 per store. It’s fun to shop with pals, but you are more likely to snag scarce deals if you fan out. Swap lists, divvy up the stores, stay in touch by cell phone and meet for coffee or lunch afterward.
Don’t Assume a Doorbuster is a Deal
Does an ad for “Laptops under $100!” have you salivating? Doorbuster items often sell for below a retailer’s costs just to lure customers, but they are often non-brand-name models, sometimes created specifically for Black Friday with lower specs than a standard manufacturer’s line. So make sure that prospective purchase has everything you want.
Shop Safely (and within budget)
Carry a purse that closes securely and keep it in front of you at all times. Carrying cash is a great way to stay on budget, but it’s also less secure (if it gets stolen, it’s gone). Debit cards are one alternative, but fraud protection is weaker than for credit cards. Credit cards are safest but also make it easy to blow your budget. Solidarity’s TravelMoney® card is a prepaid reloadable Visa debit card that let’s you spend up to the value placed on the card anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Each time you use the card to make a purchase, the amount of that purchase is automatically deducted from the card. This allows you to stay on budget for your Christmas shopping as well!
Deepen Your Discounts with Coupons
In the past, Black Friday coupons were hefty. To find this year’s bargains, peruse local newspapers and online for printable coupons to pack in your purse.
Read the Fine Print
You may be tempted to grab an item because it seems like a good deal, figuring you can return it later. Not so fast. Although return policies generally don’t change for Black Friday, some retailers charge restocking fees as high as 15%, especially for electronics. Know the store’s return policy before committing—look on its web site or check signage at the customer service desk. You can always ask a sales clerk, but if you get bad info, the written policy will trump what a well-meaning cashier told you.
Yes, there will be amazing bargains. But there will also be crowded stores, out-of-stocks and long lines at the register. Bring along an iPod or a book to pass the time while you are waiting to pay, and pack snacks, water and extra toilet paper in case the public restrooms run out! Also, don’t forget about rain-checks and price matching—even retailers who normally offer these services won’t on Black Friday.
Skip Black Friday and Stay Home
If you don’t want to brave the crowds, there are still bargains to be had. Many retailers start posting online specials at midnight Thursday—yes, that’s right, Thanksgiving night. But be patient. Because so many people will be hitting the web during Thanksgiving weekend, the sites may be slow.
We hope you have enjoyed these ten tips. Remember to shop safely and wisely during the holiday season. If you feel that your bank card or identification has been compromised please notify us as soon as possible. Happy Shopping!