Black Friday Shopping Tips: Here's How to Make the Most of Your Time and Money This Year
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Black Friday Shopping Tips: Here's How to Make the Most of Your Time and Money This Year

you should be making a plan and checking out sales before you buy so you don't spend more money than you want to spend

November 15, 2019

Some people love it. Some people hate it. Regardless, Black Friday is right around the corner. This means that shoppers across the country are gearing up to get out and officially kick off the 2019 holiday shopping season! Black Friday is the most competitive and the busiest shopping day of the year. So you need to be ready if you want to get the special sales and huge discounts offer by retailers.

Plan ahead

Only Black Friday rookies shop without a plan. Prior to the big day, plan out where you want to go and what you plan to buy instead of wandering around from one store or website to another hoping to find a deal on something you want. You don't want to end up buying something just because it's on sale. It doesn't matter how cheap something is, after all, if it's not a good product or something you don't need.

Visit the stores before the sale

After planning out which stores you plan to visit on Black Friday, visit them ahead of time and pay attention to the overall layout and where the items you want to buy are located. You don't want to be part of the mad dash only to have no idea where to go. Keep in mind that items might move around the store on Black Friday in order to get shoppers to different parts of the store. If there's something you really must have, don't be afraid to ask if the item will be in its regular location or will be placed somewhere else on a special display.

Bookmark your online items and set up an account

If you are planning to buy online, find the particular product and bookmark the page so you can easily find it later. This will help you find it in a hurry and will get you to the product if the website is overloaded or having other technical issues. You can try adding the item to your online shopping cart now, but keep in mind that shopping carts sometimes expire or are linked to a particular web browser and not your account, causing you to lose your items. And while price increases are usually reflected in your shopping cart, an item's price in your cart might not update when the price falls. So double check! If you don't have an account with the particular merchant, go through the process of setting one up now with your shipping information at a minimum. You don't want to be scrambling at the last minute, especially if supplies are limited.

It might not be a good deal, so check elsewhere

Just because something is part of a Black Friday sale doesn't always mean that it's a good deal. Retailers are competing for your business at this time of year, especially on hot items and electronics. You may be able to find a better regular sales price at another store compared to a store with a Black Friday sale on its already overpriced items. Making price comparisons at several different stores will help you to know if you are getting the best deal possible, whether it is on Black Friday or not.

Don't be afraid to ask

Don't be afraid to ask a retailer to price match an item with a sale from another retailer, especially if you are already buying a number of other items from that retailer. You can always ask the retailer if there are any coupon or promo codes that can be applied to your order now that can lower the price to something more reasonable. The price might be reduced so much that it's close to the upcoming sales price, making the extra cost worth not having to brave the crowds. Even if you ask the retailer for the Black Friday sales price now, the worst that can happen is not getting it.

You might get a better deal with online auctions

If you've ever used online auction websites, such as eBay, you know that you can sometimes find great deals on pricey products. So don't ignore online auction websites when the time comes to shop. You can start the bidding process now and set your maximum bid to the sale price of the item you want. You might luck out and get it much cheaper. If not, you can possibly get it for the sale price and have it shipped to you. Many retailers also sell on these websites, usually for a slight discount and free shipping, so you're not always buying from an individual.

Online auctions are usually pretty safe. There are protections in place if you don't get the product you expected or if it's not as described. But you run a risk buying this way. If you don't get what you expected and the Black Friday sale is over, you can get your money back but you will lose out on the sale price. A little bit of insurance is to buy the product in both places. If you don't get the item you expected, you still have a good one. If you do get what you expected, you can return the other item to the store for a refund. But check out refund policies before you do this. There might be a limited return window.

Beware of stripped down products

Some deals really are too good to be true. That new computer, printer, or router might look like a really good Black Friday deal, but it might be a worse deal versus others that cost a little more due to the lack of accessories. That new WiFi router might be cheap, but it might not include the necessary satellites to extend its range. That brand new printer might not come with ink or toner or it might include only a starter pack. The new computer system might have downgraded specs and might not even come with a monitor.

don't spend money you don't have

One of the biggest mistakes people make with Black Friday sales and throughout the holiday season is spending money that they simply don't have. Before you start your shopping, figure out how much money you can realistically afford to spend and plan out a budget accordingly.

consider buying with a credit card

You've heard that it's bad to buy things on credit. If you don't have a budget for yourself, it can be easy to overdo it. But buying with a credit card can pay off in the long run. Buying with credit cards as opposed to cash, check or debit, offers you a variety of protections if the item or service you buy isn't what you were promised. You can dispute charges in these types of cases, but you can't if you pay with cash. Some credit cards even offer free extended warranties on certain types of items, such as electronics, if you use that particular card to make the purchase. So check out which types of benefits your credit cards offer and put them to work.

don't get caught in the hype

A lot of people make a big deal about Black Friday. For some people, it may be a tradition. For others, it may seem like a necessity. But great deals on holiday gifts can be found throughout the season, especially on auction websites where people are trying to unload items they bought but can no longer return. With a little patience and smart shopping, you can avoid the madness and still find a great gift for everyone on your list!

Beware of doorbuster sales

These types of sales are designed to get you in the door so you buy things you weren't originally looking to buy. Doorbuster sales often mean that there is a very limited supply of the product you want and it's available at very odd hours, such as first thing in the morning when you are sleepy and more likely to make an impulse buy. Your odds of getting one of these items are very small unless you happen to be one of the first in line.

Don't forget about Cyber Monday

Don't assume that you have to brave the crowds on Black Friday to get great deals on your holiday gifts. Many retailers offer the very same deals online as they do in store. On Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, many retailers offer some of their best deals. The best part is that you can shop from the comfort of your own home and shipping is usually free. Don't forget to check out the different types of web browser add-ons that can automatically check and apply hundreds of coupon and promo codes to get you an even better deal!

Check out Ads and Apps

If you get the newspaper, check out the various fliers. It will be stuffed, just like your turkey, but with a variety of information on the local Black Friday sales and special savings. These savings might be better than what you can find at larger retailers. While you're at it, check out apps for the stores you want to visit for special savings and coupons. Don't forget other apps that provide coupon codes!

The early bird catches the worm

Sometimes it pays to be the first one in line. It used to be that waiting in line at 6am made you a devoted Black Friday shopper. But now with stores opening on Thanksgiving, being the early bird or even night owl might mean getting to the store at 9pm or even midnight.

Don't forget about getting social!

Social media feeds for retailers can be a great way to discover exclusive deals and promos. Retailers love to reward their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers with special alerts for Black Friday discounts.