Is Black Friday All it’s Cracked up to Be?
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We have a group of friends that we enjoy Thanksgiving with each year. It never fails that the same family each year is all atwitter about what Black Friday deals they’ll score the next day. Four or five years ago they’d say they would be starting their Black Friday at four or five in the morning. This past year they were happy to report that they would be starting their Black Friday right after midnight. They’d be taking a short nap after we all left and would then get ready for a day FULL of shopping.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this if that what floats your boat, but it always seems to puzzle me. As I’ve written before, I personally would rather get a frontal lobotomy then go shopping…especially on Black Friday. Many things draw people to the Black Friday craze, much of it centered on saving money. My question is do you really save money by shopping on Black Friday?
The Best Prices Are Not Always Available the Day After Thanksgiving
Retailers are not stupid. They spend good chunks of money to learn when the best time to offer deals is. Some deals, like toys might be better priced right before Christmas whereas big ticket items like TV’s are generally at their best prices early in the year. Another thing to remember is that most retailers will include numerous items that don’t have a hefty discount to make up for the loss leaders they’re drawing you into the store with.
Not All Black Friday Deals Start on Black Friday
A common myth is that Black Friday deals start the day after Thanksgiving. However, over the last few years the Black Friday deals start earlier and earlier. More stores are open on Thanksgiving and some online retailers like Amazon start their deals as early as two weeks before Black Friday. This is great for someone like me who likes to get shopping done as soon as possible and get it out of the way.
Black Friday Deals Can Be Had if You Look in the Right Places
What I love about the growth of online retailers is that I really don’t have to leave my home on Black Friday. If I have any shopping left to do, I can do much if not all of it from the privacy of my home. While people are out fighting the crowds I am at home watching football and enjoying time with the family.
Thanks to the aforementioned growth and competition in the retail marketplace, more and more retailers are offering to match competitor’s pricing. I’ve heard rumors of retailers like Best Buy, Target and Home Depot being willing to match prices. Make sure and learn who that is so you can take further advantage of savings.
Make Your Money Go Further on Black Friday
As someone who loves to be frugal, I am always looking for ways to save money and Black Friday is no different. The main thing I do is use my credit card when making my purchase; I earn reward points that I’ll redeem for travel or cash at a later date. I then pay it off with the cash we’ve set aside for gift giving throughout the year.
I do a lot of shopping online and my biggest pet peeve is having to pay for shipping. I’ll check retailer’s sites to see what will qualify or I check sites like Retailmenot to see what deals might be available for specific retailers. I also like to find ways to make extra money before Christmas and in some instances you can find sites that will give you cash back through your normal shopping.
If there is a store you want to go visit on Black Friday, try visiting their site beforehand. It’s likely they’ll have deals specific to the site listed there and many will also tell you if they still have inventory available. Another thing I keep in mind to save money is to make sure I really want the item I am about to purchase. Many retailers will severely restrict return policies for specially priced Black Friday items. So, before you buy that $20 sweater, make sure your friend really would like it.
What will you be doing this Black Friday? Will you be on the prowl for savings, or will you do it from home? Or, will you be sleeping off your Turkey hangover?
Photo courtesy of: Rafeal Marchesini
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.