Shop Smart

Plan Ahead for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

About a third of holiday shoppers have purchased most of their gifts by Nov. 1, then there are the rest of us! We start looking for deals around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Getting a good deal is all about preparation. Try these strategies:

Black Friday

  • Study store ads to find the items you’re most interested in at the best prices, then visit the store to make sure an item is the quality you expect. Get a preview of ads at bfads.net or bradsdeals.com.
  • Use store coupons or rebates to lower the price of an item even more; look for them in circulars or online.
  • Some deals may be available online in pre-Black Friday sales at midnight Thanksgiving Day and some retailers let consumers buy Black Friday specials online for pickup later, avoiding the crowds.
  • Don’t spend all your budget on Friday; stores may offer better deals in the next two weeks or offer free shipping on the item on Cyber Monday.
  • Make your list in advance, try to stick to it, and hit stores systematically.
  • Know what to buy – the best deals tend to be electronics, appliances and kitchen gadgets; toys drop in price two weeks before Christmas (but you run the risk of the doll you want selling out).

Cyber Monday

  • Take a nap Sunday so you’ll be alert to shop the early hours of Monday – many items are “sold out” by mid-morning.
  • Don’t risk identity theft or fraud – check out the sites you’re shopping before you give credit card information.
  • Research the price of items on your shopping list so you’ll know a good deal from a great deal.
  • If you find another item you’re interested in, put it in your shopping cart, then do some quick comparison shopping to make sure the deal is a good one.
  • Sites such as cybermonday.com and pricegrabber.com help you compare deals.
  • Know what to buy – the best deals tend to be electronics, appliances, toys and travel.

For Shopping Any Day

  • Use your phone to compare prices with apps from pricegrabber.com or dealnews.com.
  • Become a Facebook friend or Twitter follower with your favorite retailers, who will post deals through those sites.
  • Know a store’s return policy and keep your receipts – if you change your mind, you can return items.
  • Check price-match guarantees – you may get money back if a competitor offers a lower price on your item.
  • Look for discounts at sites such as retailmenot.com and currentcodes.com; they may offer coupon codes for a percentage off your purchase or free shipping.
  • Sign up for a free one-month trial of Amazon Prime, which gives you free two-day shipping on packages.

Sources: consumerworld.org, usnews.com, about.com, usatoday.com, officedepot.com, wikihow.com, goodhousekeeping.com, bankrate.com, dealnews.com.


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