Can you believe the biggest shopping season of the year is almost here? While Black Friday officially arrives on the day after Thanksgiving , retailers across the country have been busy slashing prices in preparation of the big shopping extravaganza and millions of Americans have been pouring over the latest ad leaks and releases trying to find the best holiday steals-and-deals. But before you even get a chance to head over the river and through the woods and dust off those sugar plums, the “Christmas Creep” is alive and well.
Whether you plan on hitting the stores at the crack of dawn on Friday or plan on waiting until Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, savvy shoppers across the land are busy making plans Planning your shopping strategy before the actual day arrives is paramount to getting the best bang-for-your-holiday bucks. Get the very best bargains this year with the following Black Friday shopping tips. It’s time to shop!
Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips
Make a List and Check it Twice – Whether you have one or twenty people on your gift-buying list, make a list and check it twice. Know what items (sizes, colors, quantities, brands, etc) each person wants or needs and what the budget is for each person.
Email Alerts – Sign-up for email alerts from your favorite retailer. Be in the know before you gobefore the big shopping day arrives.
Homework - Do your homework before you head out the door. Know which stores have the best prices on the items you want. Know which stores offer price-matching and what the terms are. Be sure to check the fine print. Many sale items and doorbuster deals are available in limited quantities and may vary from store-to-store.
Coupons/Promo Codes - If you want to save even more dough, check out the coupons and promotional codes before you go! Keep in mind some stores may not accept coupons on sale items. There are also some handy dandy apps you may want to check out.
The Early Bird Does Get the Worm – While you may have to wait in line longer, getting there early may just land you that hot-ticket item you’ve been eyeing. What if you have to stand in line for 12 hours just to find out the product is all gone? Know the store’s rain-check policy.
Be Prepared – If you do plan on standing in line for that once-in-a-lifetime deal, be prepared and dress accordingly. If you are going to be in line for a long time, bring your cell phone charger, drinks and a few treats to eat. And don’t forget that sense of humor - you may need it!
Spread Out – No matter how hard you try, you can’t be in several places at once. Ask your friends and family members for a little help. Divide and conquer and plan your strategy before you go. Ask Jimmy to go to that store searching for that sale item and ask Sally to go to another for that product.
Budget – Unless money is no object in your household, determine your gift buying budget in advance and stick to it! Maxing out those credit cards is not the answer.
Return Policy – Make sure you know the store’s return policy before you make that purchase. If you need to return the item, is there a re-stocking fee? How long do you have to return the item? And be sure to save all your receipts and original packaging.
Enjoy – While shopping and the holidays can be expensive and stressful, remember what season it is. Take a moment and give thanks for your blessings and those extraordinary people in your life.
If crowds, inclement weather and long lines aren’t your cup of tea, shopping from the comfort of home (or on the go) may be your best bet. Many retailers are offering free shipping or other incentives for folks who prefer shopping online. Whether you hit the stores in person or shop from the comfort of your own home, happy shopping!