The day after Thanksgiving is hands-down the most competitive shopping day of the year. Stores slash their prices, and shoppers scramble to take advantage of sales before all the good stuff is sold out. With the crowds, the sales, the doorbusters, and the special hours, even the most seasoned of bargain-hunters can feel overwhelmed. Whether you’re hoping to knock out your entire holiday list or you just can’t pass up a great sale, here are some insider tips to help you get the most out of Black Friday sales.
Scan the Ads and Apps
While we still have several weeks before Thanksgiving guests arrive, several stores are already dropping their Black Friday 2018 sales ads. As Thanksgiving draws closer, keep an eye out for special coupons and rebates that can help you maximize your Black Friday deals. Additionally, there are many apps available for smartphones that take some of the stress out of shopping by helping you compare prices at different stores.
Do Your Research
Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is — even on Black Friday. It’s a well-known fact that even major brands, particularly those that sell electronics, produce “derivative models” that are a lower quality than their other products. Oftentimes, these substandard products are made with cheaper materials and are only manufactured for a few weeks, as opposed to their higher quality counterparts that are manufactured for a year or more, meaning that they may be more prone to error. Rather than simply relying on a trusted brand name, do your research to make sure that you’re getting the quality and features that you expect.
Look for Early Bird Discounts
While the die-hard bargain shoppers are going to pursue a good deal in spite of the crowds, the lines, and any other inconveniences, shoppers as a group have gotten a little “over” the Black Friday madness and are opting instead to do their shopping online. While this is a great way to score awesome deals without having to leave your home, brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the hit. As a response, many are offering their lowest sales prices in the days prior to Black Friday. This gives shoppers an opportunity to take advantage of a great deal without a 2 a.m. visit to the shopping mall.
Know Store Policies
Understanding the store policies at the different stores on your shopping list can help you determine where your dollars are best spent. While extending the time period in which an item could be returned was commonplace just a few years ago, fewer and fewer stores are continuing to allow customers and gift recipients return unwanted items outside their usual return window. Additionally, many stores now deduct restocking fees from the refunded value of a returned item, which may be a problem for shoppers who buy first and make their final purchase decisions at home.
The enormous number of advertisements can be confusing for any shopper. There are plenty of deals to be had on Black Friday, and taking the time to do your research is the best way to ensure that you’re taking full advantage of the reduced prices.