The holidays are a perfect time to spend with family and friends, and most of all; an opportunity to get some amazing deals on merchandise after waiting in line outside in the cold for six hours. Black Friday and its digital counterpart Cyber Monday have become a holiday tradition over the last few years. Even though you think people that participate in black Friday and Cyber Monday have lost their minds, there are some great deals to be had, if you know how and when to look. We have compiled some useful tips to help you survive Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a real pro.
Location is Key
For Black Friday shopping, it might seem important to get to your nearest store location as quick as you can to beat the rush, but it actually could save you a little more time and money if you find stores that are less populated. Fewer cars in the parking lots usually mean fewer people fighting for the same products. You do the same with websites by making sure that you are familiar with where you shop online. A lot of sketchy websites pop up around this time of year; so make sure you stick to the ones you know are reputable to avoid being ripped off. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. If nothing else, Google it and see what others have said about the website.
Black Friday shopping is like Christmas for thieves. To help protect yourself, your money, and your purchases, try these helpful shopping tips. Wear a cross-body bag containing your cash and credit cards, instead of keeping them in your pocket or purse. These bags are much harder for thieves to steal. Carry a plain brown paper bag with you to put your purchases in. If thieves can’t see where it came from or what’s inside, they’ll be less likely to try and take it. Don’t check in online. While it might be tempting to tell everyone on Facebook about the awesome deals you have found, thieves often watch social media to see when people are out of their homes so they can rob them. This is a general rule throughout the year, but you should be even more diligent about it when on vacation and during the holidays.
Bring Ads with You
To ensure you get the prices that are advertised in the print ads, bring them with you. If an item doesn’t ring up with the sale price, it’ll be handy to show the cashier and generally they’ll be able to adjust the price. We also recommend creating a shopping list before you leave, and bringing only those ads that feature the items you want. This will help you stay on budget and make your shopping experience easier and faster.
Pack a Snack
If you’re planning on hitting several stores for several hours, bring a snack to give you the energy you need to continue your shopping adventures. So when starvation hits, grab that protein bar from your purse and keep shopping.
To ensure that you get the best deals, do your research before Black Friday. Many stores offer sneak peeks at their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales so you can get a sense as to who is going to have the best deals. If you can find information on the kind of sales the stores had the year before, that’s another helpful tool. Some retailers have different sales at different times of day, so make sure you know exactly when the item you want will go on sale. Set a budget and do your best to stick to it. Researching exactly what item you want and which stores—either in person or online—are going to have the best deals will help you stick to that holiday budget.
Sign up for Email Lists
Many people have an email account they set up just to manage the junk mail they get from various retailers and websites. Sign up for email lists for your favorite stores that you know you’re going to want to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You’ll get more detailed information about their sales and specials than what they post on their websites or print in their ads. You might even get access to special deals or coupons. You can opt out after the holidays, but for now, sign up!
Know What You Want and What to Avoid
Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t for amateurs, so make sure you know exactly what you want and what you should avoid. Unless there is some seriously steep discounts, avoid things like jewelry, furniture, toys, and even some large electronics. Focus on other items, and be strong-minded. Stick to your list as best as you can. Unless you see an amazing deal on something that you just can’t pass up, get what you went for and get out of the store.
Don’t Shop Alone!
Find a friend or family member who will match your shopping pace. Not only will they help block other shoppers so you can get what you came for; it’s also nice to have some company. If you have lists prepared ahead of time, you can split the work and get done in half the time.
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year, and with these shopping tips, you’ll be able to handle the anxiety and bedlam like a pro. Happy hunting!
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