Can you believe it’s November already?!?
Do you know what that means? Yes, seeing family and overeating on Thanksgiving. There’s that, sure.
Know what else?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping deals!
These two days have turned into crazy whirlwinds of shopping and sales (actually the whole week is full of deals). Do your homework and you can score some great deals that you might not find the rest of the year,
But if you aren’t careful these days can turn into a crazy hell that wastes your time and your money.
Here Are 10 Tips You Need to Read Before Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
1. Make a list
What items are you looking for? Who are you shopping for?
Put a list together of exactly everything you plan to buy and who you are buying it for. It’s easy to get lulled into all of the bargains you’ll see. Without a list, you may find yourself buying all sorts of stuff (read: junk) you don’t need because of the prices.
Lists are powerful ways to focus on what you are looking for so you don’t end up blowing your money on impulse buys. You already have psychological effects like the loss aversion switch and an innate desire to save possibly working against you. From Phillip Graves at Psychology Today: “Thousands of years ago, knowing that it was important to store up food and wood for the winter would be the difference between life and death. These days most of us no longer need to worry about our day-to-day survival, but the evolutionary drive remains. In short, we find it hard to resist the idea that we’ll be saving money or time.”
Do yourself a favor and make a list and use it!
Tip: Pick an app that you can pull up on any device. This way, you have your list and can update it virtually anywhere. Some favorites of mine are Evernote, Wunderlist, Clear, and Simplenote.
2. Create a budget
Know exactly how much you want to spend on each item you want to buy.
This is almost a part II for making a list. By creating a budget you set up a dollar amount you are willing to spend. Without having exact figures you can easily find yourself going over budget and spending more than you can afford to.
Do you want to spend the beginning of next year paying for your shopping now?!? Don’t be one of those people that hope they get enough of a tax return back to cover what they’ve spent for the holidays.
What’s the point of taking advantage of deals if you are going to end up overspending?
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3. Do your research before-hand
Look up a product’s ratings online. It’s easy to be taken in by a low price but that price may be low for a reason. Find items that are good quality and don’t fall for the crap that gets put on sale that looks good because of its price.
Another thing – Many stores will carry a brand but only a model that is specific to the store. What happens is a brand makes one version of an item just for one chain, like a Walmart or Target. Because the item is made for only one store you can’t compare it exactly with another store’s. Make sure you understand the spec’s so you can compare them from store to store and get the most for your money!
4. Know what’s on sale
Many stores will list out what deals you can find. The internet is a powerful tool in helping you find the products you are looking for. Make sure what is on sale matches reasonably with what you want to buy. Two products may seem the same but can be vastly different and price may reflect that.
5. Have a plan
Are you going out to stores on Black Friday? What’s your plan of attack?
Many stores only have a small quantity of their biggest deals that sell out fast. You may have to get up before the crack of dawn to take advantage of a sale. Heck, you might have to excuse yourself from dessert on Thanksgiving in order to be first in line.
Find out when the store allows you to start to line up. Some places may give out wrist bands before-hand. Bring a buddy to keep you company and to hold your spot in line should you have to step away (read: potty break). Bring food and beverage.
If you’re hitting up more than one store know which stores are important to you and plan your trip so you aren’t traveling back and forth across town (especially important if you are shopping with your kids).
6. Check the internet at intervals during the day
You may find different deals at different parts of the day. Check your cell phone, or tablet, for apps that might help you check deals.
As the saying goes “timing is everything!”
7. Consider more than holiday gifts
Most people are thinking of holiday gifts this time of the year but this may also be a great time to buy an item you’ve been wanting like a new computer or a TV (assuming you can afford it of course).
This could also be a good time to get gifts for next year’s big days like birthdays and such. You can also use these days to stock up on items you need year-round.
I’ve made it a habit the past few years to buy a couple of pieces to add to my wardrobe during the Black Friday weekend. I make sure the prices are awesome and I only get maybe 2 or 3 things. This is a great opportunity to update your work wardrobe.
I’ve also found really great tech deals that help my business such as hosting deals or deals on plugins.
8. Don’t put yourself into debt
A great deal is awesome to come by but if it puts you in debt, or further in debt, then it’s not worth it. If you’re putting something on a credit card but you can’t pay it off in full then that deal quickly disappears as you accumulate interest charges on your credit card.
9. Channel your inner zen monk
Practice with me: Oooohhhhmmm…… Deep breathes…
Black Friday can be a crazy day to be out shopping. Many prefer Cyber Monday so they don’t have to leave the house.
Expect stores to be crowded and tempers to be short. Traffic around stores may be nuts and parking could be bad.
It seems every year you hear about someone getting trampled or killed, fighting over a sale item. There will be rude people but do your best not to be one of them.
Remember, it’s only stuff that’s getting bought. If things are getting hectic take a deep breath and relax. It’s not worth someone’s mental or physical health chasing after sales.
10. You don’t have to spend
There, I said it.
You don’t have to do any shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Some think that because items are on sale they have to go take advantage or forever miss out. Yes, there are great deals to be had. But if funds are tight or you don’t have the patience to deal with people then don’t bother.
Here are some sites you can check for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and information:
Holiday Shopping: Tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Christmas Shopping – Black Friday , Cyber Monday , and Beyond
Black Friday Shopping Tips: How To Get The Best Deals On The Things On Your List
Black Friday Shopping Tips: Become a Sales Pro
Black Friday Sales Are Here Again: A Quick History and Some Tips
Shopping Etiquette: How to Be Polite and Still Get a Good Deal on Black Friday
Preparing for Black Friday
Are Black Friday Deals Really Worth It?
5 Things You Shouldn’t Buy This Black Friday