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. You might also tell your social media friends that you’re scoping out Black Friday deals. More of you can save big if you keep each other in the loop!
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, Pricewatch, NexTag 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.
Be Smart About Shopping for TVs
The television aisle is known for having some of the best deals on all of Black Friday weekend. You can strike a great deal if you’re willing to purchase a “derivative” model. This is similar to a regular production model but with limited features. For instance, you might get fewer HDMI inputs or a simpler remote control, but the TV itself performs just as well for $100 or more off the production model price.
Just remember not to blow all the money you save on a derivative model by splurging on pricey accessories. You can wait to buy a $5 HDMI cable online in the next day or two instead of grabbing the $35 one on display next to the TV.
Also, to get the best long-term deal, decide today what characteristics you won’t compromise on, such as screen size and resolution. After all, you’ll have the TV for at least a few years. If you settle for something less than you really want to save an extra $50, you might regret it later on.
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 17.08% APR1. If you can’t pay off the balance right away, this can quickly grow into unmanageable credit card debt.
A Connexus Personal Loan is a better choice that could save you a significant amount of money in the long run! With rates as low as 2.99% APR2 on a Secured Personal Loan and 6.99% APR3 on an Unsecured Personal Loan (as of 11/1/2018), you get all the money you need for holiday shopping, and you can make affordable monthly payments over the term of your choice.
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!
1 The national average credit card interest rate as of 10/11/2018 on www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/rate-report.php, is 17.07% APR.
2 APR = Annual Percentage Rate. 2.99% APR is our lowest available rate as of 11/1/2018. Borrow $10,000 at 2.99% APR for 36 monthly payments of $290.77 or $29.08 per $1,000 borrowed. Minimum loan amount $2,500. Maximum loan amount $20,000. Rates includes a 1% discount when registered to Digital Banking and subscribed to eStatements, and a 1% discount for auto-paying electronically. Interest rate may increase by the amount of the discount(s) if you no longer meet the requirements. Other loan rates and terms available. Loan subject to approval and qualifications. Rate may vary on individual credit terms and relationship level. Certain restrictions may apply. Not valid on tuition expenses and interest is not tax deductible. Does not apply to loans currently financed with Connexus Credit Union. Rates subject to change.
3 Annual Percentage Rate (APR) effective 11/21/2018 to 12/25/2018. Enter promotion code LOWRATE in the application process for the lowest available rate of 6.99% APR. Borrow $5,000 at 6.99% APR for 60 monthly payments of $98.98 or $19.80 per $1,000 borrowed. Minimum loan amount is $5,000. Rate includes a 1% discount when registered to Digital Banking and subscribed to eStatements, and a 1% discount for auto-paying electronically. Interest rate may increase by the amount of the discount(s) if you no longer meet the requirements. Rate may vary on individual credit terms and relationship level. Certain restrictions may apply. Connexus employees are eligible to receive offer. Offer does not apply to Personal Loans currently financed at Connexus Credit Union.
Connexus Credit Union does not specifically endorse ShopSavvy, Flipp, ShopKick, BuyVia, Shopular, Google Shopping, Shopzilla, Pricewatch, NexTag, or PriceGrabber.