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Your Guide To Black Friday Shopping

That time of the year is finally upon us. It’s the annual celebration of friends, family, the love we all share - and, of course, great deals! That’s right, as much as we all love stuffing our faces with Turkey and mashed potatoes I’m sure we can all also appreciate the sheer satisfaction of tearing open the box of a brand new 4K TV we just got for 50% off. What could be sweeter than that?

In 2019 alone Americans spent $7.4 billion (yup, billion with a B) on online shopping for Black Friday, which shouldn’t be all that surprising to anyone that has a smartphone. It’s easier than ever for us to think of an item we want, quickly look it up, and click buy on the shopping cart. In fact, retailers have invested millions into making our online shopping experience as frictionless as possible. But why?

Well the answer is simple. They want to maximize their revenues. So with that understanding in mind, you need to be mindful that you’re actually getting a good deal this Black Friday and not falling for a company’s ploy to simply get you to spend more money by taking advantage of a particularly frivolous period of consumer spending. Here are some of our best tips to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience.

1. Make a budget

This is our first tip for a reason. Like we just mentioned, retailers are working very hard to try and get you to spend as much as you can. It would suck to have a fantastic Black Friday experience wallowing in a pile of all your new goodies to suddenly be followed by a sense of remorse or panic when you check your credit card statement and realize you can’t afford half the stuff you just bought. Then you might end up scrambling at the last minute to see if there’s anything you can return to try and get some of your money back. In a worst case scenario you might end up with debt you can’t pay back and that may unfortunately have longer term consequences by potentially negatively impacting your credit score. So save yourself the headache and establish early on how much you’d prefer to spend come Black Friday.

1. Start your research early

This can be especially helpful if you know you’re someone who is prone to impulse buying. Though it’s not quite as bad as buying something you can’t afford, it’s also pretty unfortunate to look at something a few weeks down the line and realize you don’t really need something and only bought it on a whim because it was cheap. We’ve all been there. You buy something just to have it collect dust. So Marie Kondo that thing from the start and don’t even buy it. Trust us, it’ll help you save your cash.

Another benefit of starting your research early is that you might serendipitously stumble across some amazing deals. Some retailers have started offering their Black Friday deals earlier than the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is even more true in recent years as retailers fight to combat the dominance that Amazon has seemingly taken in the ecommerce space. So work on refining that eagle eye of your so you don’t miss out on any potential early deals.

2. Create a wish list and track your items

Like tip number two, this can also help keep you from making impulse purchases but more importantly it makes sure that you aren’t being duped. See, some retailers are unfortunately pretty cunning in the way they try to take advantage of consumers on Black Friday. What they’ll do is mark an item up by an extraordinary amount shortly before Black Friday so that they can advertise that the item is 50+% off when peak shopping starts to hit. So what does that mean for you as the consumer? Well… you’re really not getting as good of a deal as you thought you were getting.

If you start creating a wish list early and track the prices of your items over time, you’ll know whether or not what you’re buying is really a good deal. There are a lot of tools out there that can help you keep track of item prices over time. If you’re a frequent shopper of Amazon for example, camelcamelcamel is a pretty great tool for tracking prices on their marketplace.

It also gives you more time to compare prices from different vendors to make sure that you’re getting the best price you can. Some retailers even offer a price match guarantee so it’s especially worth your time to hunt out the best deals, even if it’s a little after Black Friday, to make sure you’re keeping as much of your hard earned cash in your bank account as you can while still getting what you want for Black Friday.

3. Check deal sites and articles

Let’s be honest, even when shopping is a joy it can often be a time consuming endeavor trying to be a lone wolf while hunting for the best deals. Well luckily we live in an era where you don’t have to go it alone. There are entire online communities and even professionals who are dedicated to hunting down the best deals. Don’t look to reinvent the wheel. Save yourself some time by piggybacking off the effort others are so readily willing to share with you.

There are sites like Slickdeals, RetailMeNot and Honey that are dedicated to helping their users find the best deals possible when shopping for items online. These are just a few of the options you have available but there are plenty more you can take advantage of like Paribus by Capital One being yet another example.

There are also content creators who will actively hunt out the best deals each year to share out with everyone because it’s their job to do so. Not sure if something you just looked up is really a good deal. Check out some articles that compare Black Friday deals for similar types of items and compare. That’ll help you get a better understanding of whether or not what you’re looking at is really as good a deal as you think it might be.

4. Don’t fall for time pressure tactics

Like we mentioned before, companies spend a lot of money investing into technologies and tactics that get you to spend more money with them. One of those tactics, powered by technology, is a timed discount. We’ve all seen that ticking clock that pretty much says if we don’t hit that buy button before the timer runs out, we’ll miss out on this amazing deal. Well if you followed tip number 2 and 3 you’ll have a list you can reference to see if it’s something you really need. And while you’re at it you might as well follow tip number 4 and check some articles to make sure that the price is really worth going crazy over because more than likely it won’t be. But let’s say you went through your due diligence, reconsidered whether or not it’s something you really need and still have that itch to buy; Well maybe you did just come across a really good deal and in which case, buy away. There are certain instances where this can be the case, Amazon Fire Deals being a prime example of that (pun intended).

5. Don’t sleep on Cyber Monday

Since it’s much longer standing and at this point more traditional, most folks mainly think of Black Friday as their opportunity to find the best deals. However, as I’m sure some of you savvy shoppers have already realized the fun doesn’t have to end there. Being the commerce loving folks we are, retailers have come to provide us with yet another opportunity to throw our money at their faces in the form of Cyber Monday.

As you can tell from the name, these deals are pretty much exclusive to online purchases. However with so much Black Friday shopping happening online now as well it’s pretty much just a second chance for you to find some good deals. We say take the same precautions for Cyber Monday as you would with Black Friday as the same tips pretty much apply but if you didn’t get a chance the day after Thanksgiving, worry not as you got round 2 just around the corner.

Thanks for sticking with us until the end of this article. If you found this post helpful please like, comment and share with friends and family who you think may also benefit from this information. We're constantly pushing out new content regarding ways consumers can build their credit and wealth while optimizing their path to homeownership. So like always, stay tuned for future updates!

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