How much are you planning to spend on your holiday shopping this year? A recent survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) projects that consumers will spend, on average, $749.51 each on holiday purchases like décor, gifts, and greeting cards, plus other things. Of course, some folks may spend closer to $1,000 while others keep it down around $500 or less—everyone’s situation is different. One thing is common across all shoppers, though. All opportunities to save money on holiday purchases are welcome!
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is commonly known as the start of the holiday shopping season. Many employers treat this day as a holiday, not requiring employees to report for work that day. The shopping crazy can be a little much to bear, though, with people getting to stores in the middle of the night, only to wait in line in the hopes of scoring a coveted item that is available only in limited quantities, perhaps five or so per store. I’ve seen people camped out in front of Best Buy and other stores with sleeping bags, lawn chairs, the whole nine yards.
No matter if you plan to take Black Friday shopping by storm in person or at a more casual pace from your own home on your laptop, you can still find creative ways to save money and score even better deals than advertised. Here are some tips to take advantage of the sales and enhance your Black Friday 2012 shopping experience:
- Plan your shopping strategy days in advance, or at the very least, one day before you go out shopping on Black Friday. Know which stores you plan to hit, and in what order so you minimize your chances of missing out on a great deal.
- Consider checking out your local outlets in case they have a “Midnight Madness” promotion where you can start your shopping a few hours after you finish up your Thanksgiving dinner. How’s that for burning off some of those calories?
- Gather together any coupons you have in hand, as well as any you can find online to print out and bring with you.
- If you are shopping online instead of in the local stores, you can check a variety of websites for online coupon codes to give you great discounts, free shipping, and even freebies at a wide variety of stores that you already know and love. If you Google “online coupon codes for” and the name of the store you want, you should find a nice variety of coupons to help you save money.
- Consider pairing your coupons with gift cards that you may have in order to avoid breaking your holiday shopping budget.
- Be sure to make your bigger purchases with your rewards credit card so you can get cash back on everything you spend.
- Make sure to enroll in any special free programs offered by your credit card where you can earn bonus points. Citi currently offers extra reward points for purchases at Macy’s, toy stores, and electronics shops.
- For Black Friday shopping online, be sure to check the timing of the special deals that are most important to you. Many may sell out quickly, and some may not become available until a certain time. Keep time zones in mind, as well. Being organized gives you a better shot at scoring those deals!
If you plan to head out in person to the stores on Black Friday, be sure to pack yourself some comfort as well. Make sure you have a blanket or two in your car, some food (perhaps granola bars, sandwiches, or donuts – something easy to scarf down on the go), and a thermos full of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Let’s face it; you are probably going to appreciate that caffeine once the initial shopping excitement wears thin.
So, if you are up for the chaos, these Black Friday stores offer great deals you may not be able to find elsewhere. You will definitely find a certain rush to getting these great deals that come around only once a year, and your bank account will certainly appreciate it. Personally, I’m not sure if I am ready, or willing, to fight the crowds—and the cold—to get a new laptop, television, or other specialty purchase. Instead, I might just stay at home where it’s warm, relax, sit around in my pajamas, and get started on my holiday shopping on Amazon. Or maybe I will save that for Cyber Monday. More on that later…
Stay tuned for our next post with tips on this year’s Cyber Monday deals and discounts.