Black Friday weekend is expected to be more popular than ever this year with 137.4 million consumers planning to shop during the popular sales event. Before you head out to hunt down the best bargains, review this list of Do’s and Don’ts to avoid blowing your budget on lousy deals.
- Do Strategize-Review store circulars and top Black Friday deals ahead of time using a site like BFAds.net and Dealnews.com and pick destinations based on discounts. Find out how many of a certain item will be sold at each store, as many advertised door-busters are limited in quantity.
- Do Make a Detailed List-Every Black Friday shopping plan should include a list, and luckily for shoppers, there’s an app for that. Record your list and track spending with Santa’s Bag for iPhone or Christmas Gift List for Android. Having details like an item’s model number will help you get in and get out with less hassle.
- Do Shop Online-Many merchants are now extending doorbusters and Black Friday deals online. Kohl’s, for example, will make their Black Friday deals available to online shoppers starting Monday, Nov. 21, while Walmart is expanding it’s Black Friday inventory to online shoppers by over 50% compared to last year.
- Do Look for Coupons-Clearly, Black Friday deals are so good there’s no possible way you could save more — right? Wrong. There are a surprising number of merchants who offer coupons for additional discounts. Get your hands on print ads for extra savings of up to 50%, or download a coupon app like Coupon Sherpa for instant access to additional in-store savings.
- Do Socialize-Check the Facebook and Twitter pages of your favorite stores periodically for instant updates on deals and hourly promotions. Before you head into a new store, research their status and tweets to fully prepare yourself. Knowing what deals are available before you cross the threshold will give you an advantage over other shoppers.
- Don’t Fall for Derivative Products-Some top doorbusters products are manufactured specifically for Black Friday, and may be missing features you want. Research the model numbers of electronics and other popular items before you buy; if there’s not much information available, it’s likely the product is made to be discounted.
- Don’t Drown in Numbers-Tags with multiple markdowns and clearance items with an additional percentage off can confuse even the most brilliant mathematician after hours of deal hunting. Ask a sales associate to clarify any discriminating discounts and don’t assume the final price until you crunch the numbers.
- Don’t Give Up-If you missed the door-busting deals you had your eye on, don’t fret; there are still plenty of opportunities to find huge discounts after the shopping extravaganza ends. Shop Green Monday on Dec. 12 for deals on tech, home goods and clothing; Free Shipping Day on Dec. 16 for free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve; and Super Saturday before Christmas for last-minute discounts on gifts.
- Don’t Forget the Small Stores-If you took one pass by the parking lot and decided Black Friday isn’t for you, there are still plenty of local stores with special offers and smaller crowds. Since these merchants can’t afford to offer the same blowout prices as major chains, they’ll often sponsor Black Friday drawings for gift certificates and other prizes.
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