To ensure you don’t overspend at the Black Friday sales this week, start out with a strict budget, Consumer Reports advises. Whether you do most of your holiday shopping in-store or online, decide how much you’re ultimately going to spend, and stick to that number. If you are not sure that you’re getting the best price on something, move on to the next web page or display. And if you can’t resist using a credit card to overspend, only carry cash to stores instead. Finally, check retailers’ return and exchange policies on Black Friday items to avoid paying a restocking fee or having to keep merchandise you don’t want.
There are plenty of ways to maximize the savings Black Friday offers, says money-saving site Clark.com. Sign up for e-mail promotions at your favorite retailers before you head out to the stores, for example, and price-check items against the web while in stores. Make a list of the retailers you most want to visit and bring a friend who’s similarly motivated to find deals. But leave the kids at home if you want to do some serious shopping — you don’t need the distractions. Shop early or late to avoid the worst crowds, and above all, remember that not every low price is truly a deal.
Since the advent of the indoor mall, the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — has become a holiday unto itself. The overwhelming, all-American desire to get a good deal on holiday gifts has made the day a huge event for consumers. And retailers are only too happy to oblige, since many chains look to the last two months of the year as their biggest opportunity to command a profit for the year.
Retail stores expect to post $3 billion in sales this Friday, up 11.5% from 2015. And Black Friday’s online corollary, Cyber Monday, is set to match those figures. In fact, Black Friday is no longer just a single day; Amazon launched 35 straight days of “Black Friday” promotions last week, offering a new deal every five minutes through Dec. 22. And eBay, Macy’s, Target and Walmart aren’t far behind; many retail stores will open when the sun sets on the Thanksgiving feast.
As you head to the malls and superstores this year to get a great deal on a big-screen TV or Playstation VR system, don’t forget that you’ll have to make room for those bargain finds. Because for every people-pleasing gift of Black Fridays past, there’s a sweater that just didn’t fit, a toy nobody liked or a countertop appliance that was used once before getting shoved to the back of a closet.
Bag up that unwanted apparel and other items and call ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. They’ll be taken to a thrift shop and resold, putting them into the hands of people who use and appreciate them while funding programs that benefit the nation’s veterans. You’ll earn a tax deduction, and be secure in the knowledge that the deals you found on previous Black Fridays and abandoned won’t add to landfills.
You’ll also give thanks for the newfound space you can use to hide any deals you find this Black Friday and Cyber Monday before you wrap them up for gift-giving. And that will make for happy shopping and a happy holiday!