If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 10 years, I’m sure you’ve heard about Black Friday, formerly known as the “Day After Thanksgiving Sales”, a.k.a the “Start of the Christmas Shopping Season”. The holiday was created by retailers wanting to start heavy sales as soon as possible after Thanksgiving, maximizing the Christmas shopping season.
Stores participating in Black Friday typically offer huge discounts on things like electronics and appliances. The sales attract large crowds who brave freezing weather and sometimes start waiting in line as soon as they finish their turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. For those of you anticipating the thrill (?) of braving crazed crowds and contemplating the potential for fantastic bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we have some tips for you.
- We’ve pointed out that these non-holiday/holidays were created by retailing groups. Don’t feel an obligation to participate. There are other retailer holidays out there that I would feel guilty if I didn’t take part like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, but at least they pretend to be about love and family.
- Have a budget in mind before you go out shopping. (This is a debt and credit site, right? Allow us a little preaching.) No matter how big a bargain something may seem, once you’ve spent your budgeted amount, put the credit card away.
- Know what you want to buy before you go in the store. I’m going to assume you don’t have a death wish for being pushed about and trampled on to fight for “bargains” you hadn’t known about before going in.
- Many of the advertised “sale” items are only stocked in limited amounts. If you really want to practice stealth/military tactics, go into the store before Black Friday and locate your items in the store. Draw a map or write down the isle number. I’m not kidding. That way you can make a bee-line straight to the item once the doors open.
- Didn’t get the discounted item you wanted? Don’t settle for something else – this is just what the store wants you to do. Walk out immediately so you don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment and buy something else that costs more. Forget about getting a rain check. Most consumer shopping experts say many of them never get honored. This isn’t your last chance to get something cheap – there will be other sales in the month of December, especially right before and after Christmas Day.
If you have to go into the shopping battleground Friday, we hope the above tips are helpful. We will be covering Cyber Monday tips in a later blog post.
I’m sure there are many veteran Black Friday shoppers out there who would love to share their secrets (as long as you’re not competing for the same item). Take a moment to share it by leaving a comment.