As the American tradition of Black Friday becomes increasingly popular with Canadian shoppers and retailers, many still wonder – is it worth the hype? That’s debatable.
But if you can cut through the marketing tactics at play, there are still genuine good deals to be had.
So before you start your Black Friday shopping, here are 11 tips to make the most of this major shopping event.
1. Find the right product
Do your research first. No matter how low the price, a product that doesn’t meet your needs or is of low quality is no bargain.
2. Get a little help from your friends
If you’re unfamiliar with a particular product area, ask someone more knowledgeable. For example, call your brother-in-law Fred who knows computers. If you’re stumped, reach out to your social network to ask for advice.
3. Use deal websites and apps
There are many websites and apps that can help you find deals, such as RedFlagDeals and RetailMeNot (RedFlagDeals in particular has a pretty comprehensive Black Friday section). There are also many price comparison sites, such as Shopbot and Shoptoit, that can help you assess the merit of a deal and check out current market prices.
4. Time it right
Black Friday sales no longer revolve around just one day – they may start as early as the Monday before Black Friday and run until the following Monday, known as Cyber Monday.
5. Don’t be desperate
Black Friday isn’t your only chance to get a deal. Prices across the whole holiday season are generally quite volatile, repeatedly spiking up and then plunging back down. It’s possible to find cheaper prices for many products than those offered during Black Friday sales.
6. Understand the trends
Familiarize yourself with trends in retail sales for different types of products. For example, retail experts often suggest buying toys and luxury goods closer to Christmas, and buying winter apparel and bed linens in the New Year. When it comes to fashion, seasons and months are linked to clothing sales for specific items. There are other seasonal trends, like gym memberships in June, furniture in July and cookware in October.
7. Factor in all the costs
There are the obvious extra costs like taxes and shipping, but there can be other indirect costs like tying up money that could be used for something else (financial) and creating clutter (psychological). We often do some creative accounting to justify buying more than we need.
8. Avoid wishful thinking
If a product isn’t useful to you now, it’s best to put it back. Watch for phrases like, “This will be great when…” and “I’ll use this when I start…”.
9. Check the return policy
You may feel the pressure to buy now for fear it might be gone later, so it’s important to check the return policy, which can be different during a sale, and keep the receipt somewhere safe.
10. Don’t get caught up in the deal
Sometimes we love the deal more than the product, and that’s when we’re really in danger of poor decision-making and overspending in Black Friday sales.
11. Remember to pay the bill
It’s easy to unintentionally miss a credit card payment, especially heading into the busy holiday season. Set up an automatic payment to your credit card to ensure you never miss a payment. Remember, your payment history makes up about 35% of your credit score.