The day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday, traditionally signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Stores offer deep discounts to draw large, deal-hungry crowds. Use these tips to get the best deals on your holiday shopping, even if you don’t plan on braving the stores on Black Friday. In fact, you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, or even step foot in a store, to get some of the best deals.
DON’T rely solely on leaked ads to plan your Black Friday strategy. Many websites specialize in publishing Black Friday ads before they appear on retailers’ websites or in newspapers. You can use these leaked ads as a starting point for planning your purchases, but realize you’re reading gossip and some of the information may be wrong. Most legitimate ads aren’t published until the Sunday before Black Friday.
DO expect some Black Friday sales to start on Thursday. Many retailers will start offering discounts online on Thanksgiving Day. And some will offer Black Friday deals several days before causing some hot items to sell out before the big shopping day.
DON’T assume the best deals are in the stores. It’s a tradition for a lot of people to get up early and camp out in front of stores to scoop up deals. But many doorbusters (those deeply discounted items retailers use to get consumers in the door early Friday) will be available online, too, especially on big-ticket products.
DO brave the crowds if you’re trying to snag an extremely limited item. You have a better chance of getting the deal if you go to the store – and are first in line.
DON’T do all your holiday shopping on Black Friday. Consider the Friday after Thanksgiving as one of several days to find deals. The best deals on apparel usually appear on Cyber Monday (November 26 this year), when retailers discount items online. Toys will be cheaper the first two weeks of December when stores go to war with each other to offer the lowest prices and clear out inventory before Christmas. And great deals on name-brand TVs and luxury items can be found in early December, too.
DO check return policies. Some retailers tighten their policies around the holidays. Some charge restocking fees if you bring an item back. And some won’t let you exchange items manufactured specifically for Black Friday (to be sold at a low price). So be sure to ask each store what its policy is, and hang on to your receipts.
DON’T spring for extended warranties on big-ticket items. There’s a good chance that a salesperson will try to talk you into paying extra for an extended warranty if you purchase a big-ticket item on Black Friday. That’s because revenue from extended warranties helps make up for lost profits on discounted items. Typically, you’ll pay 10% to 20% more for an item to extend a one-year manufacturer’s warranty through the fifth year of ownership. But most major appliances don’t need repair within the extended-warranty period.
AND FINALLY...DON’T wait until the week before Christmas to shop. Retailers often raise prices because supplies are limited and they know that last-minute shoppers will pay more to purchase all the items on their gift lists.
Article source: kiplinger.com. It was published in Founders FCU Transaction Newsletter (October 2012).