Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Preparation

I'll first say, I am no Black Friday veteran.  Last year was the first time I ever went shopping on Black Friday and I didn't wake up early, I just hit a few local big box stores after breakfast.   We usually spend the day after Thanksgiving decorating for Christmas.  However, you know I love scoring a deal and I figured posting some tips would be timely.

> Make a list and a plan.

Write down exactly what you are looking to purchase. If you just plan to browse for steals on Black Friday you will get caught up in the savings and waste your budget on things you don't want or need.  Typically, the biggest savings are on large ticket items - TVs, appliances, computers, cameras, etc.  So if you are planning on getting something like that, find the models that interest you, and prepare to price compare a number of sites that sell the item.  As for the small stuff, stick to what you want and avoid being tempted by price drops on things you don't.

> Set a budget.

If you are mainly shopping for toys and clothes for family, make sure you set a budget and stick to it.  Discounts won't be as great as the price slashing on big items, but do look out for BOGO deals, and sales on top of items already marked down.  That's where you'll save the biggest.   Also check for items that are usually excluded from sales, since they might be included in umbrella savings (i.e, "Everything in store or online is 30% OFF")  Remember a lot of the sales will repeat throughout the month, so make sure the items you are grabbing are things are truly being offered below their typical prices, not their retail prices.  Meaning, GAP and J.Crew constantly rotate 20-35% OFF promo codes, so just because something is marked $39.95, remember you'll normally find it around $30.  Make sure your savings is even greater if you really want a deal.

> Get a Team.

If you are making your way out to shop the stores, divide and conquer.  Whether that's within the same store or different stores all together.  Reference your list and set priorities.  So if you want a new TV and a must have toy, make sure you split up so you can get them early, which also bring us to...

> Do your Research.

Almost all the big box stores - Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Toys R Us, etc have released their Black Friday Ads.  Do your research, find out where the best savings is and use that to help you plan out your attack.  Use stores that price match to your advantage if you want to get things done efficiently.  Don't forget you may be able to get the same savings online and use ebates too for extra money in your pocket.  Also don't forget to use apps to your advantage, whether to price compare/match or find additional coupons, don't forget them in the hustle and bustle!

>  Think Outside the Box.

Two things here.  One.  Think outside of your go-to stores.  If you always buy toys at Target and Toy R Us, try to think about other retailers.  Last year, I cleaned up at Kohl's of all places (somewhere I would never think of "toys" first).  Many items were BOGO 50% Off and other items marked way down.  They had lots of Melissa & Doug, Play Doh, Mattel, Fisher Price, V-Tech, etc.  Macy's, Nordstrom, and even Michaels carry things like puzzles, doll houses, and games.  Macy's usually offers stackable discounts, free shipping  and returns, and ebates too.  Also think outside of the big 'box', as in big box and department stores.  You may find good deals at local businesses, like small toy and book store or even gift shops.

Good luck my fellow deal hunters!  Please share your tried and true tips too!!

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