Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and for many retailers the biggest shopping day of the year. Some people love it and some people hate it. I’m somewhere in between (love the great deals, not so crazy about the crowds). If you do plan on doing any shopping on Black Friday it pays to be prepared.
In my opinion there are 2 different kinds of Black Friday shopping. There are the “Deal Buster” trips and there are the “$3 pajama trips”. Yes there can be some crossover but most people are going primarily for large items or for small. Today we’ll look at shopping for the Big Ticket items.
Sure you can wait until Thanksgiving to look at the sales flyers but why wait. Many of the flyers are “leaked” prior to Thanksgiving. There are a bunch of websites that consolidate all the black Friday flyers for you to look through. I’ve been using BFAds.net for the past couple of years. I like that they show both the scans of the flyers as well as item listings. They also create buying guides for top items (like tvs) and closer to Black Friday compare the best deals in several categories.
Research the Item
If you’re buying a big ticket item you’ll probably want to do some research as well. First research the item itself. Does it have good reviews? Is it an item that is sold year round or just for the holiday? What is the store’s return policy?
Research the Store
If you’re going after of the of store’s big items (“door busters”, “Hot deals”, or other items on the front of the circular) you’ll probably be out of luck if you wander in around noon. The hottest deals usually require being in-line before the store opens. How much earlier? Well that is the 42 inch television question. It varies considerably from area to area and store to store. First call the store and find out their Black Friday policies. Do they hand out tickets for big items? How early do they allow people to start waiting in line? What are their line policies? Next try to find someone who successfully shopped a Black Friday deal there in the past (ask Facebook friends or other acquaintances, someone usually knows someone who did). These people are your best source of information on that particular store.
Is it Worth it?
Once you have your best guess on how long you’ll need to wait in line for a particular item the question to ask yourself is “Is it worth it”? The question will be different for everyone. Some people will calculate their time and compare it to what they get paid to work. Others will figure that the time spent is part of the adventure and not consider it something they’re being paid an hourly wage for. You may have a completely different method of determination. No matter what method you choose in deciding your Black Friday adventure I hope you are successful!
What are your best Black Friday tips?
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I have been going to black friday sales since 1992. There are so few things now that I want to wait in line for 10 hours to get that I don’t go that early anymore. I have also noticed that most places that have deep discounted items, will generally be at a lot of stores.
Last year I purchased a ton of $1.99 CDs, all online, and all shipped to my house. I got some $4.99 DVDs. I have a list of movies that I have been wanting that I will purchase on black friday from the comfort of my own home. Going out has lost all appeal for me and 95% of all stores will have the same items for sale online (with a few notable exceptions).
Go out, and have fun. However black friday used to be about the 100 or so dedicated souls that would show up and get a deal. Now the same 50 TVs are still there, but there are 1000 people in line. Buy online from major retailers and skip the doorbusters.