A few weeks ago, I put up a post about Black Friday. In it, I recommended that if you were going to do Black Friday shopping for any particular items, that you research the current sale prices of the items. Not the list price, but what stores were actually selling them for.
Did you do it? No? Well, that’s okay. You can still do some shopping and come away with some good deals.
1. Start now!
Black Friday has morphed into this giant thing. It’s no longer just one day of sales. Those sales spread into the weekend following, then they spread into the Thanksgiving itself, and now, the deals start the week of Thanksgiving. Check out some of your favorite stores online and see what kind of specials they’re running. I’ve noticed a lot of stores having “count down” deals. Each day, there’s a new deal going. Does that mean that you should be shopping at these stores every day? Not necessarily, but you should check out the specials that are running. Maybe something you’ve been looking for is on sale.
2. Shop online and shop smart
In this day and age, I think that shopping online is a given. I know plenty of people who get very excited about Black Friday and they do all of their shopping online. They spend the day after Thanksgiving sitting on the couch in their pjs eating leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner and hunting down the best deals on the web. Will you get the best bargains this way? It’s hard to say, but you get to avoid the crush of people, and for a lot of you, that’s a huge benefit.
But if you’re shopping online, make sure you’re making it worthwhile. Check out shopping portals that give you cash back or rewards for clicking through their link (some that I use are Ebates, which gives cash back and Southwest Rewards, which gives miles on your Southwest account). It might not be much, but pennies add up.
Shopping online also lets you do a quick cost compare. Make sure that you really are getting a good deal before you buy.
3. Be Prepared
If you’re planning to go to a store in person, check out the sale flyer before you go. You can typically find these online using a quick Google search. Look to see what’s on sale. And don’t just look at the doorbusters on the front page. Check out what’s buried inside the flyer too.
I also recommend bringing snacks and water with you. Toss a few granola bars and a bottle of water or two into your bag. I don’t know about you, but when I get hungry, I get very cranky. So even if I have a lunch break planned in my shopping, I’m going to have a snack with me. It helps keep me from getting irritated while I’m in line. And staying hydrated will help you ward off a headache from dehydration. Plus it’s just important to keep you healthy during the busy holiday season.
Also, bring your patience. There are a lot of people shopping on Black Friday, and you just have to accept that it’s going to be busy, crowded, and that there will be some rude people out there. Just breathe, smile, and wish those around you a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday or even just a simple Good Morning.
If you are thinking about shopping on Black Friday, you can find out everything you need to know at The Penny Hoarder.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.