Where has the time gone? Here we are again at the holiday season! If you’re looking for deals on Black Friday, here are five things for you to think about.
- What is Black Friday?
Traditionally, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving Day—a day otherwise reserved for having pie for breakfast and eating leftovers. It’s customarily seen as the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Recently, however, this day has morphed into almost a full month of deals, both in stores and online—including on Thanksgiving Day for some retailers. Why is this important? Many retailers report their highest profits on this day. Believe me: they want your attention!
- When should I shop?
The key word is early. Some retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Amazon.com start carrying “Black Friday” deals well in advance. Take the opportunity to pursue and search for your needs and holidays gifts early, before Black Friday actually arrives.
- How should I shop?
Online or in-person? It’s your choice. Since 2005, the Monday after Thanksgiving has been referred to as Cyber Monday, but there’s no reason you have to wait until then. Is it your family tradition to get up early, hit the mall, and be home in time for lunch and football? Are you the kind of shopper that needs to see your new TV up close and in-person? Do you bring your own measuring tape? Maybe you want to see what the new pink Beats headphones really look like. (Are they the right shade of pink?) Well, get thee to the store! Conversely, maybe you would rather stay in your robe, drink coffee, and laugh about the crazy family conversations from the day before—all in front of your computer with some leftover turkey and chocolate cake, while binge-watching your favorite show. Well, then, online shopping is for you. Another benefit of online shopping: the chances are greater that the item you want is available (no out-of-stock issues). And THERE ARE NO LINES!
- What should I buy?
Tech reigns on Black Friday. Are you looking to replace your old television, buy a camera, or get a new set of headphones? Tech products and gadgets are the most popular items for Black Friday sales. No worries: there are plenty of other items too. Watch out, though. Stores count on Black Friday to help them meet annual sales goals, and they often use tech items as “loss leaders”, setting the prices extra-low to draw people in. They assume that while you’re in the store or online, you’ll naturally purchase other items, too—even if they’re not on sale. So make a list and look for the specific things you need. If you can, research prices ahead of time. Even traditional department stores, such as Macy’s and J.C. Penney, have deals, and their ads are online in advance.
- What else should I know?
Be smart! Just because an item is available and at a good price, doesn’t mean you have to own it. [ Tweet this! ] Take a moment before you shop and think about what you’re looking for, for yourself and others. Do an inventory first. How many of us have something in our homes that we bought just because it was a good deal—and it never gets used? Don’t do this. And don’t break the bank on gifts. Make an outline. Include a budget. Stick to it. In January, you’ll be proud of yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving, happy shopping, and happy holidays!