The holidays are approaching. As we wrap up the evening on Halloween, many of us come home to Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads in our inboxes. I am sure you have noticed it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Time to get our shopping list in order, I will show you how to find the Best Deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
When is Black Friday?
Black Friday is on November 23, 2018, the day after Thanksgiving. Although, it has not stopped retailers from jumping the gun and offering savings on Turkey Day. This has been a questionable decision for some stores and shoppers alike. Watch your Big Box Stores for savings all year, with a discount you may get the item cheaper than you can on Black Friday.
When is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is on November 26, 2018. Cyber Monday is a way for e-tailers (Amazon, Overstock, etc) to get in on the Holiday festivities and offer savings. Some e-tailers will offer savings all week or longer, sometimes even before Cyber Monday officially starts.
Finding Deals – Ads and Savings
Around the 1st of November, store ads begin to appear online. Usually, you will see computer/electronic retailers release their ads first. Big box stores like, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, to name a few, will follow a week or two later.
Black Friday deals can be sneaky. What do I mean? Well, Wirecutter (a product review site) recently stated that of the more than 78,000 deals that could be found on Black Friday 2017, only about 450 were worth the site highlighting. That is a LOT of unmentionables.
Stores may use the list/MRP (you may see in ad as Original Price) as the starting point before applying the savings. How this works, Store X has name brand jeans at their everyday price of $100 (MRP/Original Price $175), on Black Friday/Cyber Monday they are on sale for $75.
Looks like a good deal right? Well, not if the store offered a discount of 30% off any pair of jeans or name brand jeans the week before Christmas. You would only pay $70, therefore being the better deal.
Years ago Black Friday simply meant checking the Sunday circulars to see which retailers had the best deals, those days are long gone. Now days, Black Friday means a whole holiday season of deals and savings, and online retailers also regularly update prices throughout the event. To get the best deals, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday. The same goes for Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials.
Start weeks before making your list and know what you are looking for before entering the stores Black Friday or going online Monday. Have a game plan. Please do your homework on your Holiday-Must-Haves to get the best deals this season and many seasons to come. Only rookies headed to the store without doing their homework.
Take advantage of price and coupon tools. You don’t have to go store by store to compare prices. Try Google Shopping, NexTag, PriceGrabber, Price watch, and Shopzilla apps. In the store, apps such as BuyVia, Flipp, ShopKick, ShopSavvy, and Shopular loaded on your phone will let you scan bar codes or QR codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons. Check with store policy to see if coupons can be used on sale items. Remember, sometimes the coupon used on an item will give you a bigger savings.
Since we are talking about pricing and coupons, Take advantage of being a loyalty member. Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members only, members can earn rewards on what they buy. Signing up for Black Friday shopping alerts will get you the early word on promotions, coupons, and discounts. In some cases, you can even find out whether the products you want are in stock or eligible for a buy online/pick up at the store option that saves you on shipping.
A big mistake that is made during this shopping season is not checking all store policies in advance. It’s always good to know a store’s price-match and return policies, they all are not the same. We expect more retailers to price-match specific online and in-store deals this year. Almost all the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, and they’ve been expanding them almost every year. But some stores might suspend their price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend on certain items, so read the fine print. Check the return and exchange policies for Black Friday sales to make sure that the store won’t charge a restocking fee for any item you bring back.
Strategies for saving time…
One of the biggest complaints about holiday shopping is the check-out lines. This can be what separates Black Friday from Cyber Monday. With an increase of violence over the past several years many shoppers are opting to shop in the comfort of their own homes where they are safe and sound.
Cyber shopping is one way to beat the check-out lines this year. Wal-Mart has come up with a plan for the 2018 Holiday Season to make lines move even faster. In April, they announced that all their super centers would have “Check Out With Me” capabilities by Black Friday.
Wal-Mart Holiday Helpers have been decked out in bright yellow vests, jingling hats, smiles as bright as the sun, and a satchel full of goodies since 2016. The Holiday Helpers idea came from customer feedback and Walmart’s store associates paying close attention to shoppers’ habits.
Holiday Helpers will be stationed near the registers to provide an extra fast, friendly checkout experience to serve customers and help get everyone out the door in a snap. This season they will be armed with the Check Out With Me mobile device. The Holiday Helper will swipe their credit card and provide them with a receipt – printed or electronic options available. Customers just pay and go. It’s as simple as that.
What’s even better? If you’re in line, and you happen to remember a last-minute item you forgot, a Holiday Helper will go and pick it up for you. Holiday Helpers step in with a smile to enhance the shopping and checkout experience, helping ensure that everyone can shop, pay, and be on their way quickly. Thank you Wal-Mart.
My opinion about saving time during the holiday season is to stay home (Unless your must have item is discounted at an unbelievable price) and do your shopping online. This way you can spend your time with what matters most, your loved ones.
Tips for holiday shopping – Holiday Shopping Like A Pro.
- Do your research. Before entering the stores or going online to shop this holiday season, make sure you know the stores normal pricing on an item. Remember, while a deal may look like a bargain, it may not be. See example of “Name Brand Jeans” above.
- Check Store Policies. Make sure to check store policies on Black Friday sale returns and the use of coupons/price-match guarantees. Not all stores will let you return Black Friday sale items without charging a restock fee. Some stores will not let you use a discount/coupon on sale items. Just check on the stores website for return and discount policies. If they don’t provide the details on their web page, call and speak with someone at the store.
- Take advantage of Pricing/Coupon Tools and Loyalty Programs. Not all discounts are created equal. Sometimes a sale price looks too good to be true. Compare prices at many stores and make sure when you are checking on an item’s price from store to store, the item may be the same manufacture but the item may have fewer features than the other one you saw on sale. These models are called derivatives. Just make sure you are comparing the price as the same model from the other stores. This can be tricky at times.
- Create a budget and make a list of the items you want to purchase. Yes, I know, easier said than done. Black Friday sales, especially the door buster specials available in limited quantities, are designed to get you into a store so that the retailer can sell you something else. If you went into major debt last year with your charge cards, try buying with cash this year and see whether you have better self-control. But if you are sufficiently disciplined, buy with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty and then pay it off before any interest accrues. However, you decide to buy just make sure you have a budget and stick to it. Remember you can always buy discounted gift cards throughout the year and save even more money. Raise.com is probably my number one shopping secret; especially during the holidays. Make a list of everything you need that you see is on sale. This will help you not over spend on items that you don’t need and stay on budget.
- Don’t blow your savings on the pricey up sells. Sale associates are expected to make the hard sells this holiday season so the stores can make some money. Hard sells are the extended warranties, electronic accessories, and other additional add-ons that are just a luxury. They may make the up sell look attractive to a consumer so make sure you do you homework before going to the store. You need to know what you will need before buying the product. For instance, if you know you will need a new HDMI cable for your new 4K TV, check out the price online before hitting the store. For what you paid $50 for in the store, you could have got for $5 online.
- Leave the kids at home. This is one shopping trip that needs to happen solo or with a trusted sidekick. If they ask to join you, tell them ” It’s not that you don’t want to spend time with them, just on this day, the stores are no place for children.” We all have been to a store on Black Friday, if not, then your in for a real treat this year. If you have been on a Black Friday shopping spree, then you know the one thing required for a successful trip is Patience. Most adults don’t have the patience required to attend such an event, let alone children.
No matter which way you decide to shop this year, make it enjoyable. One thing I think is missing in today’s world is traditions. Start a new tradition for this shopping weekend event. It could be shopping the day away with a friend or loved one you don’t get to spend much time with throughout the year. It could be sitting by the cozy fire, with warm coco and searching for the online discounts to come flooding your way.
I hope these tips and suggestions make your holiday season a little brighter. If you have any other ideas you would like to share with others, please leave them down below.
TTFN and Happy Holidays,
The Money Wand
Looking for other ways to save more money during the holiday season? Check out Free Printable Coupons Online.
Need Gift Ideas? Check out these following post for the Hottest Gifts of 2018: