The rush to buy gifts during the holiday season can leave you tired and cranky. But, there are some specific strategies that you can use to get ahead of the crowd and insure that you have a solid game plan before you ever leave home (or surf the web).
Black Friday has actually morphed into “Black November” in recent years, as merchants vie for your holiday dollars weeks before your Thanksgiving decorations are even out of storage.
However, with a little organizing and preplanning, you can successfully navigate feeding your extended family a Thanksgiving dinner fit for a king and get a head start on the next, big holiday.
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1.Follow Black Friday sites
There are several on-line portals, who publish “leaked” Black Friday ads well ahead of the big day. Let’s face it, in this day and age businesses of all sizes know how to use the internet to their advantage, including insuring that they raise expectation and excitement about their low-priced deals.
For the scoop on Black Friday try these sites:
2.Follow your favorite stores on social media
Following your favorite stores on social media and putting your e-mail address in their information banks can lead to them sending you coupons for special shopping hours or even better deals than those offered to the general public. You can also get the scoop on their sales in advance. So, if there are some shops that you like, then let them know you’d like to hear from them in the future.
3.Use price-checking sites and apps
Yes! There are sites that will check to see that you are receiving the lowest price on any item. Although, I’m not certain how adequately they will work with the large influx of constantly arriving and revolving Black Friday deals. They are certainly worth consulting. Here are a few that I have found.
Browser extension: Honey.
Honey is a free browser extension that finds you coupons and applies them when you get ready to check out of any of thousands of on-line retailers. It’s been around since 2013 and has a multitude of happy users. It takes just minutes to add to your browser, is easy to use, and actually works. https://www.joinhoney.com/
Comparison shopping sites:
http://www.addall.com/ (for books)
4.Have a game plan
Don’t leave home without a list of items, along with the intended recipients. Your game plan should contain a list of stores, along with the hours that your desired items are offered. For instance, 6am-9am specials are now quite common. You don’t want to show up late for an item, which just went off sale 15 minutes before your arrival.
Be sure to brew coffee and take along some snacks in the car. Shopping is exhausting business.
5.Use a prioritized list – and stick to it
If your list contains any high value, low cost items, like computers or televisions, then these items need to move to the top of your timeline. Stores only get a few of them in stock, even for Black Friday.
It’s also important to note that, if you’re like me, you’ll see items that you really want to buy for yourself. Seriously! I don’t know if that makes me selfish or means that I don’t buy anything for myself during the year, but it’s true. I have to keep myself focused on my list of family and friends.
6.Know what constitutes a good value
Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t make it a great deal. If the item is cheap plastic, then, perhaps you need to hold out for a better made version of the same item.
7.Research and read reviews ahead of time
Consumer Reports is the granddaddy of organizations offering reviews of products and services. They began as a monthly publication and have since then branched out into cyberspace. However, I don’t use them, because you must pay to access information on their site. if there is a product that I really want to know what Consumer Reports thinks of it, I borrow the physical magazine from the public library.
Here are some free websites to check for reviews:
- Amazon – Just look up the product on their website and read buyer reviews
- Good Housekeeping – Apparently, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is still a good thing! All of their reviews can be accessed on-line.
- CNet – If you are buying anything electronic, this is the place to find fair, honest reviews. My son, who works in IT, uses this site all the time to check out new computer and electronic gadgets.
- Reviews.com – I have used this site and like the way they are laid out, offering a grid comparison of several models of the same type of product.
8.Get gift receipts
Don’t forget to ask for a gift receipt, even if it’s a super busy Black Friday. I try to tell the store employee ahead of time that I will need a gift receipt. Often, the register will automatically spit out a gift receipt if the cashier requests it.
Need more help?
The Ultimate Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping Guide gives you step-by-step instructions and all the forms you need to plan and track your purchases.
This eBook is one of five free bonus items that come with the Debt Free Christmas Binder System. Click here for more details.