Are you going to go out in the madness that is Black Friday? Here are some tips to make the most of your efforts.
- Know what you want and do some price shopping before you go. Especially with electronics, there can be slight various in memory and speeds that can account for price differences.
- Know your back-up plan. Say you’re heading out for a door buster deal on an iPad2. The store runs out before you get one. Do you want a regular iPad? Know this ahead of time so that you don’t have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions.
- If you are heading to a store for a door buster deal, call ahead of time and get the specifics. Or at least read the ad very carefully. Will there be limited quantities? Call the store and ask—does limited quantities mean 3 or 300? Will there be a special or different return policy on these door busters?
- What will be the store’s procedure for getting the door buster deals? Some big box stores require you to get into another line, with a deli-counter like ticket, once you get into the store. Others hand out numbers to those outside in line. Know this before you go, so you can follow along and increase your chances of getting the deal you want.
- What will be the store’s policy regarding door busters/sale items and layaway? If you have kids, do you have a plan for this stuff once you get home? Where are you going to hide the presents?
- Take a friend or relative along. You can take turns waiting in lines and relieve each other for bathroom breaks, to go get coffee and things like that.
- For bigger ticket items like TVs, find out what the delivery policy will be. Do you have to do cash & carry right there? Will they deliver, when (by Christmas?) and will there be an extra fee?
- Make a list and check it twice. I hear from lots of my blog readers that going out on Black Friday is “just a tradition.” I think recreational shopping can be fun and a nice holiday tradition, but you don’t want to overspend and bust your budget. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype, purchase things you don’t want or need, and have a bad case of Buyer’s Remorse on Saturday.
- Review what you have before you go. Check your ‘generic gift closet’ if you have one. Check your pantry. Check your supply of batteries, baking goods, wrapping paper, tape, cards and decorations. All of these things will be on sale, but only buy them if you need them. I often buy these things on clearance after the holidays and until the next year; I forget what I’ve purchased. Remind yourself to prohibit over spending.
- Start a yellow envelope or some other system to keep ALL of your holiday receipts. This will be very handy in case you need to return something, or to keep track of how much you are spending.
- I can’t say it enough—price shop, price shop, price shop. Make sure that the deal you are going to all this trouble for is truly a good deal. If you shop online and use either a program like Ebates or a credit card that gives cash back, you often can get equally as good prices on things.
Black Friday and holiday shopping can be a lot of fun. But it can also be stressful and create financial headaches. Remember, companies and merchandisers spend a bunch of money to entice you to buy their products. Have a plan and don’t bust your budget. The holidays can be just as much fun without going into debt.
This is a guest blog post written by Lisa Lightner over at SmartSpendingSpot.com. Lisa is an avid deal seeker and frugal living expert and is also a moderator here at HotCouponWorld (username ~~Who,Me?~~)