Black Friday as we know it is now a page in history. No longer is it one-day event as it has stretched over Thursday and Friday with the sales staggered throughout the two days.
Black Friday traditionally is the day when retailers pull out all the stops. It earned its name because in the past it was the day when retailers finally began to turn a profit for the year. Operating at a loss is being in the red because accountants traditionally used red ink to show losses and black means gains.
Though the event now kicks off just as you’ve gobbled your turkey, Black Thursday/Friday is the the time of year when the savvy shopper can really score big. Knowing what to buy and when to buy it will yield big savings for yourself and all of your gift-giving needs.
Here are five tips to help you this Black Friday:
1. Research the sales
Have a game plan ready before you head to the stores and go online. The circulars are in the Thanksgiving Day paper and available online as well. Knowing what you want to buy will allow you to comparison shop and stick to a budget. Having a list will help cut down the chaos and confusion when you arrive at the stores.
2. Where to go
There’s a strategy to where to get the too-good-to-be-true deals. The stores in retail hubs will be the most crowded on Black Friday as people try to get all of their shopping done in one place. Head to the stores away from the mall hubs, such as stand-alone big box stores such as Target or Walmart without other stores nearby, for the doorbuster purchases.
3. Big box alternatives
Try skipping the big box stores in favor of the malls now that Black Friday occurs on Thanksgiving Day. The crowds are more manageable and you will find one-day-only deals at the smaller mall chain stores. There are also timed sales at the mall, with the deals expiring at various times on Black Friday.
4. Divide and conquer
The best way to shop is with friends. Gather a group together and divvy up the list. Have one person head to toys, another to cosmetics and another to electronics so everyone gets everything they want on the list.
5. Online is no guarantee
If you think you can get the online deals in your pajamas without fighting the crowds, you’re mostly wrong. Some retailer sites sell out of items very quickly. I tried to purchase a television from the Walmart site at 3 a.m. to no avail two years ago on Black Friday. When JCPenney offered its Black Friday deals online, I eagerly tried to purchase those griddles for $10 in the early morning online but never did get one because they were sold out. If you really want something, get to a store, get in line and wait.
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