The weekend after Thanksgiving is meant to provide shoppers with the best deals for the holidays, but some people look forward to this shopping spree so much that Black Friday has become something of a holiday itself. Just be careful not to be roped in by mediocre prices impersonating phenomenal savings. You also want to make sure you hear about the best deals before it’s too late.
With this guide to shopping for the holidays, you’ll have the tips you need to strike the biggest bargains on great gifts for the family. With a low-interest Personal Loan, you can even unwrap the money you need to buy a few extra goodies for yourself while prices are at rock bottom.
Get a Head Start
There was once a time when Black Friday shopping simply meant checking the newspaper the Sunday before Thanksgiving to see which stores offered the best deals. These days, Black Friday has given way to Cyber Monday, both of which have expanded into an entire month of slashing prices on the hottest items. To ensure you know which deals are the best once crunch time arrives, start tracking sales long before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Create a List and a Budget
Doorbuster deals are designed to lure you into the store so you’ll buy something else. Once you’re there, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Impulse buys are the enemy of savings, especially if you don’t know how good of a bargain something really is.
If a deal tempts you, break out a price-comparing smartphone app (more on that later) to help you determine if the markdown is as good as it looks. However, it’s better if you can create a wish list, establish a budget, and stick to both.
Make a Plan
The good news is every retailer is vying for your business. The bad news is you have a great deal of information to sift through to help you find the best deals. Don’t head out on Black Friday without a plan of action. You’ve got local shops, big box retailers, and online outlets to consider for all your purchases.
Start by checking the good old Sunday ads. You’ll find many more than usual, as retailers who don’t usually advertise in the paper want their deals known. If you see doorbuster deals for certain products on your wish list, make a note of these so you can hit certain stores at the right time.
Then, hop online. There are dozens of Black Friday websites where you can sign up to receive deal alerts, which you can usually filter by product category. This keeps you informed of cyber deals that might outpace brick-and-mortar ones.
Check Store Policies
More major retailers are expected to offer price-match guarantees this year, but don’t bank on it. Some stores might suspend this guarantee on Black Friday weekend or only price-match with local stores, not online retailers. Read the fine print so you know what to expect.
It’s also wise to check return and exchange policies on Black Friday purchases, which may differ from the rest of the year. Find out if you’re responsible for paying return shipping or a restocking fee if you bring or ship an item back.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
Many stores offer sales and promotions to their loyalty members before they become available to the general public. These members then earn rewards on the items they buy. If you have a retailer you love that you anticipate making Black Friday purchases from this year, sign up for a loyalty membership now. This could add even more to your savings.
Hop on Social Media
Many retailers reward customers for “likes” and “follows” on social media by providing an early look at deals and promotions, so find your favorite retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help you stay in the know.
Use Price Comparisons and Coupon Tools
If you have a specific product in mind, it’s tedious to go from retailer to retailer comparing prices manually. When shopping in person, use apps such as ShopSavvy, Flipp, ShopKick, BuyVia and Shopular to scan barcodes or QR codes and compare prices at other stores. You can even strike additional discounts and coupons with these apps.
When shopping online, use tools like Google Shopping, Shopzilla, and PriceGrabber to search by product rather than by retailer. This makes it easy to get the best deals on your Cyber Monday purchases.
Buy Online, Pick Up in Store
If you want to skip the crowds and only shop online, shipping costs could put a dent in your savings. Look for the option to buy online from a local retailer, and then pick up your purchase in store at a later date. This way, you cash in on Black Friday savings, skip the shipping costs, and avoid the crowds for a win-win-win situation.
Take Out a Personal Loan to Pay for Everything
Most people pay for holiday gifts with a credit card. After all, who can say no to the fantastic deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? The problem is the average credit card interest rate is extremely high. If you can’t pay off the balance right away, this can quickly grow into unmanageable credit card debt.
If you know you can’t pay off your balance right away, take out a Personal Loan instead. You can use the money you borrow to pay for all your purchases and then pay off your loan at a much lower interest rate. This could save you a significant amount of money in the long run!
If you follow this plan and make smart purchase decisions, you’ll come out ahead after Black Friday with great buys and great savings. Good luck!