Black Friday Tips
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Whether you plan to shop online or at a physical store on Black Friday you have to do your research. You must know at a minimum what the deal is and when it is available. Timing is also important for both online and in-store Black Friday deals. The best deals tend to go quickly so you need to be ready right when the store opens or right when the Black Friday sale begins online.
Know if the Deal is Online or In-Store
Retailers with both online and bricks-and-mortar locations may not offer the same deals online as they do in-store. Be sure to check carefully to see where the deal you want will be available. You don't want to be sitting at home when the deal you are seeking is only available at the store and vice versa. Some retailers like to use doorbuster deals to get people physically into their stores.
The early bird gets the worm applies to Black Friday. You will probably want to arrive a couple hours ahead of time if you are attending a Black Friday sale at a bricks-and-mortar retailer. Major retailers will often hand out tickets for doorbuster items to people standing in line. There's a reason Target once ran Black Friday TV commercials showing shoppers practicing for the big day. A lot of people get up very early to get the discounted items before they are sold out. If you want the best deals you need to be an early riser as well. That means being at the store when it opens to make sure your discounted item is still available. Yes, even if it is four or five in the morning or at midnight on Thanksgiving. Black Friday shopping is serious business.
If you are shopping online you also need to be ready right when the deals begin. The doorbuster deals often have a limited inventory and the best deals can sometimes go very quickly. Some items may even sell out not long after the Black Friday deals begin.
Have a Plan
Don't go to the Black Friday sale unprepared. You might score deals this way but you might also miss out the item or items you wanted. You might also miss out on the best deals if you don't at least read the store circulars ahead of time. Remember to also bring the circular with you. A digital version works as well but paper tends to be easier if you are in a rush.
Stick to Your List
List the deals and items you are interested in and focus solely on them. The best way to save money is by not getting distracted by other items in the store.
Use Store Maps
Many large retailers like Walmart will provide store maps to help you navigate the store. Use them to get directly to the product or products you want.
Don't Focus Just on Black Friday
Black Friday deals do not start on Black Friday. This is especially true for online deals. In fact, you may want to monitor Black Friday deals even while you are shopping in a physical store. Many Black Friday online deals and sales begin very early on Thanksgiving morning.
Shopping with a friend or two at a big store can be very helpful. You can split up the shopping list so each person can handle a different department.
Find information about the deals before you they show up in the newspaper. You should also check prices online. Make sure the Black Friday deals you are interested look like they are really as great they look.
Familiarize yourself with the store's return policy and use your credit card - if you want to return something later your credit card will come in handy. Your rights as a consumer are much stronger legally with a credit card than with a debit card, because a debit card is considered cash. Many credit cards offer return protection and sale price protection.
Here are some great articles that offer additional advice for Black Friday shopping:
- Consumer Reports: Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips for 2018 - Some great tips here including advice for checking store politics in advance and information about derivative models.
- Tom's Guide: 8 Essential Black Friday Shopping Tips - tips here include comparison shopping, use rewards programs, start early and more.
- Top 27 Black Friday Shopping Tips - a big list of tips here with suggestions including the use of gift cards, getting gift receipts and price matching.