10 Black Friday Tips Before You Shop

According to retail experts, November is now the new retail boom month as more people start to do their Christmas shopping online.

The shift happened in 2016 when, for the first time ever, November retail sales outpaced December. The trend continued last year with November sales climbing 1.3%, while December was down 0.6%.

Shopping events like Black Friday, Singles Day and Cyber Monday are big drivers in this move, as well as consumers taking into account postage time for online orders.

If you plan to take advantage of this month’s Black Friday deals, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on the items you want and keep overspending to a minimum.

To help you, I put together a list of my top 10 tips for Black Friday shoppers. Even frugal consumers should consider taking advantage of these year-end deals because they’ll save you money in the long run.

Tip 1: Set a Budget – and Stick to It

This isn’t a sexy tip by any stretch but it’s crucial if you want to get the most out of these holiday deals.

The average American is expected to spend $1,007.24 each over the holidays.

Of that, they’ll spend $637.67 on gifts. Another $215.04 will go to food, decorations, flowers, and greeting cards. They’ll also spend $154.53 on seasonal deals and promotions.

With the abundance of sales happening, it’s easy to spend more than you have in the name of a good deal.

My suggestion, set a budget for how much you can afford to spend on Black Friday deals then work within those means.

Tip 2: Write a Blacklist

As important as your budget, you should write out a not-to-buy list or Black Friday “Blacklist.”

These are items you know you don’t need or will go on sale for even less other times throughout the year. Most new electronic gadgets you’ll find on Amazon’s deal page that don’t serve any real purpose other than look cool will fall into this category.

Write out your not-to-buy list and review it before adding anything to your cart.

Tip 3: Look at the Price, Not the ‘Saving’

One sneaky trick retailers like to try is mark products up before Black Friday sales begin so they can call out deeper discounts during the sale event.

This is where it pays to do some product research beforehand so you know how much an item actually costs and whether or not you’re really getting a good deal.

Go to CamelCamelCamel.com to track price history for anything on Amazon.

Tip 4: Shop with Discounted Gift Cards

I’ve mentioned this money hack before and I’ll say it again, you can stretch your savings even further by buying discounted gift cards from places like Gift Card Granny, Cardpool, GiftCardRescue, and CardCash.

You’ll easily take off an additional 10-15% on your order with this one simple hack.

Tip 5: Know Where to Shop

There are deals happening everywhere.

And it can be overwhelming to know which stores will offer you the best prices. Roughly speaking, here’s what stores typically have the best deals on the items you want.

Clothes: JCPenney and Kohl’s

Computers: Office Depot/Office Max

Toys: Kohl’s

Tablets: Best Buy

TVs: Amazon

Walmart is by far the king of Black Friday deals, however, I didn’t include it because it’s also the most dangerous store to shop at in-person. I’m not kidding.

The risk of being trampled for a doorbuster deal is not worth the few hundred dollars in savings on a new TV.

Tip 6: Don’t Wear Red to Target

I’ll let you guess why.

Tip 7: Stick to the 40% Off Rule for Clothes

Bargain-hunting experts say Black Friday weekend is actually not the best time of year to save on clothing and accessories. The deepest discounts tend to be in August, September and January.

But if fashion and accessories are on your gift-giving list, follow the 40% off rule. Don’t consider anything unless it’s at least 40% off the full retail price. This applies to clothing, shoes, and jewelry.

Tip 8: The Exception to the 40% Off Rule

The one exception to the 40% off rule is for brands that only go on sale during Black Friday. Brands that rarely go on sale should be subject to a savings barometer of 30% or 35% off.

A few brands that fall into this category are Tod’s, Mountain Hardwear, Electric, Marmot, Prada, Ray-Ban, The Sak, Oakley, Christian Dior, Tumi, Vilbrequin, Ferragamo, Johnston & Murphy, Moncler, Patagonia, Reef, Fossil and Hurley.

Tip 9: Divide and Conquer

If you decide to brave the long lines and wade through the retail madness, don’t go it alone.

You’ll cover more ground faster and increase your chances of scooping up more deals if you shop with friends. Coordinate with family or a few friends and assign each shopper a store with specific deals to seek out.

You’ll save each other time and the hassle of having to shop at multiple stores.

Tip 10: Beware of “Derivative” TV Models

I learned this tip from Consumer Reports.

“Starting in October, you may see low-priced TVs made specifically for Black Friday, and some are available only through a single retailer. These sets are called ‘derivatives’ in the TV industry because they’re similar to the regular production models we see all year but with different model numbers and often fewer features. (For example, they may have fewer HDMI inputs or come with a simpler remote control.)”

Consumer Reports says they’ve tested derivative TVs and they’re not all bad.

“Last year a 55-inch Samsung derivative we tested was about $170 cheaper than the TV it was based on, and it performed equally well.”

Just beware that the deal you’re getting could be on an inferior look-a-like model.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive
Editor, Rich Life Roadmap

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