I don’t know about you, but I feel like Thanksgiving has just snuck up out of nowhere this year. Wasn’t Halloween like last week? And we all know what comes right after Thanksgiving: Black Friday!
I have never been into the idea of getting up before the sun (or even leaving family dinner early in some cases) for the chance to snag some steeply discounted items. But that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t love a good deal. Who doesn’t, right?
With the advent of online shopping, I am much more likely to celebrate Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) in the comfort of my pajamas. But whether you’ll be making the trek out on Thursday night/Friday morning or grabbing your laptop for your holiday shopping, you need to be prepared.
(1) Know what you want.
There will always be those people who are supremely challenging to shop for. Resist the urge to just look for something on sale. That’s how they get ya! I’m not saying it’s impossible to find inspiration while window shopping. I am saying that you are much more likely to spend more on an item you buy on a whim. Brainstorm gift ideas before setting foot in a store or on Amazon. Even having a rough idea will end up saving you money.
(2) Google is your friend.
Items names are good; SKU numbers are better. I do not recommend using Google’s Shopping feature, since it is not exhaustive and many online stores promote their links. It’s similar to using a site like Travelocity. You will find good deals, but it won’t include all the options. You might be surprised to find that item in an unlikely spot – I’m looking at you Home Depot.
(3) Shop around.
Why yes, that 40% deal at store A is great! But how do you know store B (or C or D) isn’t offering 50? Don’t fall down a rabbit hole, but never buy an item at the first store you find it – unless it’s an antique or one-of-a-kind, of course. Always be sure to check out at least three stores for price comparisons. And don’t forget to factor in shipping costs if you are buying online. Many spot now offer price matching, too. So, make sure you’re clear on your stores’ policy.
(4) And speaking of policies…
Returns. Always be sure to confirm a store’s return policy, and try to keep your receipts, should any returns/exchanges be necessary. No matter how hard I try or how careful I am, there are inevitably duplicate gifts, especially where kids are concerned. If you do manage to find a to-good-to-be-true deal, be sure you read the fine print.
Now, go forth and shop. For reference I wear a size 7 shoe.