The big myth is that Black Friday sales begin on Black Friday. This year more retailers are not only open on Thanksgiving, but also releasing Black Friday sales up to two weeks before. It’s called the Black Friday creep. If you do plan to shops the sales…
1. Don’t lose sight of what you actually need. Put together a wish list. Scan ads and circulars before the Friday for sales and look for “leaked” sale info on blackfriday.com, dealnews.com and blackfriday.bradsdeals.com. Then, prioritize your shopping list based on the best deals you find. Some products do trend with the best prices on specific days during Black Friday week.
DealNews says to look for cameras, iPhones, TVs, tablets, appliances and shoes (okay, I don’t get that last one at all) on Thanksgiving Day if you can get out to the stores. Toys and tools are likely to be cheapest on Friday. And, remember, many doorbusters are available online, as well.
2. Have a plan. Call stores to learn what time they open or check out ads in newspapers and online. Many retailers now open on Thanksgiving and are staying open for 40+ hours straight. Others like Costco, TJMaxx will NOT open on Turkey Day (and REI is starting a new trend of closing its door on Black Friday, too). Scout out the store in advance to familiarize yourself with the layout. That way, you can make a beeline to what you want, nab it and get to the check-out quicker.
3. Keep your eyes on the prize — that’s your list. If you spot an item you like, be sure to also look up or down. The most expensive merchandise is at eye-level, while lower-cost versions are stocked in shelves above or below. Sale items are most often in the back left-hand corner of a store.
4. Buy now, trade later. See the style, but not the size you want? If the store allows returns or exchanges on merchandise, buy it at a discount and bring in back next week when your size might be in stock.
5. Be on the lookout for price matching. Many brick & mortar stores such as Target and Best Buy, Staples and Home Depot will match prices with online competitors including Amazon, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Toysrus.com. this holiday season. In the store, show the competitor’s online price for a specific item (bring either the sales flyer or have it on your smartphone) or go to customer service so they can confirm it.
6. Skip the extended warranty for most electronics and household appliances. Most aren’t worth the money as the items don’t break during their warranty period and if they do, the repair cost isn’t much more than the warranty which often have loopholes. Double check your credit card policies, too. Many versions of MasterCard and American Express offer free one-year extensions on manufacturer warranties.
7. Start later in the day. Don’t need to be the first in line? Try stopping by your favorite retailers on Black Friday afternoon after the crowds have thinned. You may have to dig through strewn merchandise, but many sale items remain available. And if you don’t make it to the stores at all, no worries. Expect to see additional deals on toys, electronics and clothing in the weeks following.
8. Skip it and still save. Want to avoid the madness? Wait for Cyber Monday bargains and shop at home. Sign up for deal alerts at cybermonday.com and theblackfriday.com/cybermonday. Hot to shop a specific retailer? Sign up on its website for deal alerts or follow it on Twitter and/or Facebook.