November 23, 2012 is Black Friday – the much-awaited and the busiest shopping day of the year is coming up in a few days. It’s the day after Thanksgiving in the US and this is when thousands of retail stores open early and later to welcome the many shoppers ready to spend for the upcoming holidays.
Because of the high demand from shoppers on Black Friday, you can only expect the stores will be offering eye-popping discounts for various products ranging from gadgets like laptops, smartphones and tablets, fashion for men and women, to toys for kids.
Black Friday Shopping Tips
With the overwhelming number of choices, how can you be sure that you’re getting the best deal for your money? How can you avoid those shopping woes during and after? Here are a few Black Friday shopping tips that should help:
1. Do your research on the best deals online. Do it early.
Oh the wonders of the internet. You can find all the information you need to know online, but what I would recommend are the following:
2. Compare prices!
It’s crucial to know which store is offering the best or the lowest price for the items you’re planning to buy. This doesn’t only save you money, but it can also help you determine if it’s even worth the hassle of going out on the busiest shopping day of the year. Why? Because some items might actually be offered at one store at the same Black Friday price as another store is offering. It happens, trust me.
IMPORTANT TIP: I’ve read from other shoppers complaining about stores not offering the prices they advertised online. What you can do is print out the ad you saw and present it to give you, somehow, that much-needed bargaining power. 🙂
3. Make sure you know the Black Friday store hours.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are many stores that open as early as 12 midnight. BUT, you have to expect hundreds of people lined up already by that time, so it pays to be there as early as you can. Also, I know stores like Target give out tickets to the shoppers a couple of hours earlier than their actual store opening for Black Friday, so make sure you know all this before heading out. You might be disappointed to learn that you’d have to wait more than 2 hours just to get in – worse, the item you’re aiming to buy might be out of stock by the time you get in. Boohoo. 🙁
With that said, however, note that some stores really stock up on highly in demand items, so even when you’re not there by their opening hours, you can still get pretty awesome discounts hours after. See the complete list of Black Friday 2012 store hours on my other post.
4. Scope or walk-through the store and plan your shopping.
I know, this might sound funny, but I’ve heard and read about people actually doing this before Black Friday. It’s a very good tip because some stores, especially when it’s less than a month before Black Friday, they are already busy preparing and you can already see where the sections are for the products that will be on sale for Black Friday. This is where most shoppers will be heading, so browse the shelves or the whole store to give you an idea where the items you like are located on a regular day. That way, you can go straight to that section instead of racing against those mad dashers on the actual day. 😉
5. Know the store policies ahead of time!
It’s just as important to know the store policies for Black Friday shopping to avoid getting frustrated once you’re on the checkout counter or when you’re dealing with after-sales customer service.
If you have discount gift cards or planning on buying and using them, find out if you can use them on items that are already on sale. Most stores might not allow you to use certain discount coupons if the item’s price has already marked down significantly.
Know the store’s return policies. Some offer shorter return deadlines and others are charging restocking fees. Keep that in mind, and this might also help you choose where the best store to go to first. 🙂
6. Shop online!
For me, this is the best thing to do because you get to save on gas and the frustrations of bracing the crowd of Black Friday shoppers. You can sit back, find the best deals online and buy the items you like and have them shipped to you. It might be a little more costly, but considering the hassle you won’t be going through, for me, it’s all worth it.
Also, take note that there are stores who offer internet shoppers with Night Owl discounts as early as the eve of Thanksgiving (November 21, 2012 this year). Stores do this early bird promotions to beat the competitors. Keep your eye out for them. 🙂
7. Bring friends and comfort with you.
If you’re going to wait at the store for hours, it is best to team up with friends who are also up for some Black Friday shopping. This way, you can take breaks, or one of you can line up at the checkout counter early while the rest of you are shopping.
Be ready with water or coffee, energy bars or snacks to keep you pumped up before the store officially opens.
For comfort, bring sleeping bags or blankets, or even a pull-up chair. Just make sure you know where to stash them right before the store opens. Again, another reason why it’s best to have someone else with you there. 🙂
8. Avoid financial woes after Black Friday.
When shopping at sale events like this, I’ve observed and studies have shown that people’s tendencies to buy unnecessary items also increases. That’s why you have to make sure you stick with your game plan or your shopping list.
Some credit card companies offer perks during this shopping day, so be careful. Don’t overspend and only spend money or go on credits that you can confidently pay off afterwards.
Make sure that you’re only buying items that are on sale. There are some people who don’t verify this or even look before buying something at the store. Not all items are on sale, so keep that in mind and be sure to take a quick look at the price tags.
It’s important to have a set budget beforehand and keep in mind while you’re shopping. Read my article on my finance blog for more money-saving tips for Black Friday.
9. Avoid long lines by doing a research on what other stores offer the same product.
Most people will go to popular stores like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc., with that thinking that they’re the only ones with the best deals out there. That’s why you need to do your research. Avoid the long lines by going to other stores who, most probably, are offering the same products at the same discounted prices.
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday – don’t forget this shopping day too! In the past, retail stores have been known to still offer the same deals or even better online. Waiting might just pay off. 🙂
10. Have fun shopping!
Relax and just have fun shopping. I know it can really get frustrating, especially when you know there are many people who are eyeing for the same product you’ve been dying to purchase. Just stay calm ’cause most probably, there’s enough stock for all of you. 🙂
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I hope these shopping tips help you spend your money wisely and avoid the stress of holiday shopping this year. Tell me, what are you planning to buy this Black Friday 2012?