If you are up and about to read this post, it’s likely you are getting ready to take part in Black Friday. Back in 2011, I wrote about Black Friday. Things have changed in five years. Black Friday has moved online, but for some there’s still nothing like going out and shopping when it’s still dark. As a public service I offer this list of the times various stores open today. Check it out. You don’t want to be wasting time waiting for a store to open when you could be spending money somewhere else.
Here are some tips from Consumer Reports for handling Black Friday.
1. Start early. Ah, remember when Black Friday simply meant checking the ads in the Sunday circulars to see which local retailers had the best deals? Things sure have become more complicated. Not only has Black Friday morphed into a whole month of deals and savings, but online retailers also regularly update prices throughout the event.
If you oversleep on Friday, remember there is always Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials.
You’ll find tons of leaked ad scans on Black Friday-focused websites such as bfads.net, bestblackfriday.com, gottadeal.com, and theblackfriday.com. Some of these let you filter your searches by product category.
3. Compare prices. If you spot a great deal at one retailer, check out some of the comparison sites, which include FatWallet, PriceGrabber.com, PriceWatch.com, Shopping.com, and ShopZilla to make sure you can’t do better elsewhere. (Don’t forget Google Shopping and NexTag.com.) There are also a growing number of apps, such as ShopSavvy and BuyVia, that let you scan bar codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons from local retailers. (See tip No. 6, below, for additional shopping apps.)
Even Pinterest has price-drop alerts that will monitor items you’ve pinned on certain websites and email you with the price differences when they go on sale. But be forewarned: Direct comparison shopping isn’t always easy, or even possible. For instance, large retailers apply their deepest discounts to sets with a unique model number, which makes it hard to be sure that you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison.
4. Be loyal. Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Sign up for Black Friday shopping alerts about upcoming promotions, coupons, and discounts. In some cases, you can even learn whether products you want are in stock or eligible for a buy-online/pick-up-at-store option that saves you on shipping charges.
5. Get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Those retailers will often reward customers who “like” them or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And, of course, texts, tweets, and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping intel with your friends.
My best tip is to STAY HOME AND PULL OUT YOUR COMPUTER. It’s hard to beat what you can buy online. Just wait for delivery and stay in your PJs. Then you can spend Black Friday, munching on left overs and making turkey soup, and maybe rereading some of my old posts.