Don’t Let Black Friday 2014 Take Control of You, Listen to these Tips

Shoppers Take Advantage Of Black Friday Deals

Black Friday may still be six weeks away, but I can guarantee you that it will be here before any of us know it—or want it to be. As the biggest shopping day of the year—where stores drop prices to help themselves try and get into the black in sales, rather than the red—people line up outside of stores hours prior to it actually opening, hoping to get a prime spot as they bull rush the doors to get the best products at the best deals. With several stores offering crazy prices on items that would otherwise be unheard of for so cheap, I’m giving you a guide to follow in order to make sure your Black Friday this year is worth your while—and you get everything that’s on your Wish List. Rather than get swamped and overwhelmed by all the madness, follow these tips to make it the best shopping day of the year—and not just the busiest.

10. Either go Early or Go Late

The most obvious reason for this tip is because it will help you avoid the rush, but it’s actually because stores strategically market their sales towards those committed to either coming shopping during these times, with either early-bird specials for you morning people, or night owl deals for those who waited till the sun went down. Early risers will more than likely have to deal with trying to grab—and then maintain—a good spot in line, but that’s a small price to pay for the savings on the items you’re on the hunt for.

9. Use Store Credit Cards

I’m not saying that you should max out all of your credit cards while shopping on Black Friday, but it would be a good idea to use a store’s specific card because, in most cases, you’ll end up getting some reward. While it’s typically not determined in that specific moment, many retailers give shoppers something to look forward to following the rush during the holidays. This also help eliminate any stress of paying for gifts directly off of your credit card or from your bank account—which, when used responsibly, can be a nice thing.

8. Know When Stores Open

While the day itself is called, “Black Friday,” it’s actually becoming more and more popular for big retailers to find themselves swinging the doors open around 8pm on Thanksgiving Day. That’s right, as impossible as that might seem, stores like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc., all give those shoppers who are willing to skip the nap and do some shopping the chance to get great deals on some of the hottest items. It’s up to shoppers to understand this and take advantage of the opportunity if it presents itself. If not, there’s nothing wrong with spending more time with friends and family on Thanksgiving Day, getting to the stores early on Friday morning.

7. Use Technology

Everything seems to have an app these days, and Black Friday isn’t any different. With a quick couple of swipes and downloads, shoppers can now research several different things on their mobile devices, helping make Black Friday shopping much smoother. Apps like TGI Black Friday, BuyVia, ShopSavvy and Flipp range from comparing prices at stores to showcasing ads from different retailers, helping you determine what the best option is for you. For once, it really does pay to be on your phone.

6. Know Store Policy

I actually can’t tell you how many times my ignorance in this very own tip has cost me. There have been a number of occasions in which I’ve bought something for someone during Black Friday because I didn’t want to pass up the deal, only to find out later that, after they received it, wanted to return it for whatever reason. Of course, because I didn’t pay attention to the policy that the store had on Black Friday items, I ended up getting burned in the end. You don’t want to miss out on a deal, but you also don’t want to buy everything you see under the assumption you can always bring it back with the receipt later on.

"Black Friday" Marks Start Of Holiday Shopping

5. Do Your Research

While I’d love to tell you the best deals that stores will be offering, the fact is, that should be determined by what it is that you’re looking for. A major part of that is to rely on research to help lend a hand. No, I’m not telling you to study deal books or online ads and memorize the best deals, but it’s important to be aware of what Consumer Reports say about a certain product and what price it originally retails at. While one store may offer the same product as another for a bigger discount, they may still be getting the best of you because they marked up the product more in the first place. Researching prices, reviews and available locations to purchase something will be your best friend.

4. Bring Coupons

Yes, believe it or not, some stores will actually honor your preferred shopper coupons and standard mail discounts during Black Friday, so always make sure to have them handy. Of course, read the fine print before getting to the register, because the last thing you’ll want to have happen is to wait an hour in line thinking you’ll be getting 70% off something with your coupon, and only get told that the offer expired prior to Black Friday, causing you to get just 45% off. Be armed and ready with resources and be ready to use them, if possible.

3. Head for the Outlets

This little piece of advice is either really obvious or a complete shock—stop wasting your time at the big-time retailers on Black Friday. That’s right, for those who are looking for things such as clothes, accessories or last year’s model on something electronic, the outlet stores might just be your best bet. That’s because, while outlets typically save shoppers anywhere between 30-65% on items, those savings jump to an even bigger amount, adding an additional 20-50% more! That’s some serious coin that you’ll be keeping in your wallet.

2. Don’t Wait

One of the biggest and best pieces of advice I can give for Black Friday is to never wait. Unlike other days when you’re perusing items with your friends or family, Black Friday—and the weekend that follows—shouldn’t be a time where you try something on and evaluate other options. If you see something that you want, get it! After all, that’s the whole point of braving the long lines, crazy traffic and herds of people in the first place, to leave the store with what you went in for.

1. You Can Always Shop Online

If you’ve made it this far into my tips, than I’m guessing that the term, “Cyber Monday” isn’t new to you. That’s the Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend, giving just as many deals to shoppers online as stores do on Black Friday. Of course, the most difficult part of shopping online is the availability of items, so it can be a risky proposition, but if you’re not one for crowds and being bombarded with lines, sitting in front of your computer might just be your best option.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images


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