Black Friday is a great day for picking up some pre-Christmas bargains, but it can become stressful if you’re not prepared. The biggest discounts attract the biggest crowds, and when it’s a first-come, first-served affair, things can become more than a little tetchy at times.
But this should be an exciting and fun day — filled with opportunities to save money during the run-up to Christmas. If you’re prepared with an action plan and up-to-date information, there’s no reason why your Black Friday experience can’t be a complete success.
1. Make a list, and stick to it
You’re only saving money if you’re buying something you need. Retailers know this, so they entice you with impulse purchases wherever and whenever they can. If you need a television, for example, buying a tablet computer that you don’t really need while you’re in the store negates the bargain-hunting experience. You’ll actually spend MORE than you had to. Make a list of the things you were going to buy anyway, and stick to it.
2. Create a shopping blacklist
The average Black Friday sales event usually offers discounts on specific types of product. For example, the most attention-grabbing discounts are usually those on gadgets and electrical items. Create a list of the heavily-discounted items that you DON’T need, and make sure you don’t buy anything on it.
3. Set maximum prices
It’s very easy to get carried away with bargain-hunting — which is something retailers often bank on. Make a list of everything you need on Black Friday, and set a maximum price for each. If you can’t find an item within your budget, don’t buy it. Too many people go Black Friday bargain-hunting with the intention of saving some serious money, and actually spend more than they can afford.
4. Research online
Before you hit the malls and high streets, research the products you need online, and shop around as much as you can. In many cases, the same Black Friday deals on household items such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines can be found on retailers’ websites. Even if you don’t buy online, researching on the Internet lets you know where to go once you’re in the thick of Black Friday chaos.
5. Don’t make Black Friday everything
Black Friday is undoubtedly an important milestone in the Christmas shopping season — but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Some retailers use Black Friday to shift older stock before December kicks in, so proceed with caution. As Christmas Day gets closer, retailers tend to reassess their sales and their stock-holdings, and that’s when more discounts and bargains land.
6. Always check historic prices
Some discounts and special offers aren’t always what they seem. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. For example, retailers will often sneak up their prices during the month or two before Black Friday. Then, when the big day arrives, they can cut the same prices and make it look as if they’ve given you a much bigger discount than is really the case. If you have your eye on a bargain, research it on the Internet, and try to find out what it was selling for earlier in the year.
7. Use discounting websites
Remember: you’re not alone on Black Friday. There are discount specialists and bloggers compiling the best deals and offering shopping tips, so make sure you’re using all of the help that’s out there. A price comparison site might help you to compare the price of a specific item you have in mind. A blogger may have a relationship with a major retailer, making unique discounts available to you. You can even sign up to newsletters and text alerts, so the best discounts are sent to you automatically.
Don’t simply arrive in your local shopping mall on the morning of Black Friday with cash to burn. Plan your day well in advance, and make sure you’re actually saving money — rather than throwing it away on impulse purchases.