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Tips for Black Friday Shopping – Part 4

Nov 25, 2021

Some people wait all year for the Black Friday shopping season, their heads filled with the promise of scoring the very best price on a new appliance, smart phone, printer, or other high-tech gadget.

But 2021 presents some unique challenges, with significant shortages in some product categories—yes, laptop computers and gaming consoles, combined with higher shipping costs and longer delivery times for items ordered online.

It’s also tricky to know when to shop. Some of the biggest retailers kicked off their holiday sales weeks earlier than usual this year, and consumers had to decide whether to buy early to make sure they get the items they want, or hold off until closer to Black Friday in hope of getting the best deals.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many people may choose to minimize their in-store visits and instead shop online. But industry experts expect stores to be more crowded than they were in 2020.

One thing isn’t changing, though: Many of those deals masquerading as fantastic bargains are not as good as they look, and it’s easy to be fooled.

However, because it`s so difficult to resist the temptation to shop, here are some tips to help you find the best offers and keep the frustration—and overspending—to a minimum.

Research the products you want beforehand

It’s no use grabbing a bargain if the product’s no good. Sales season often sees shoppers battling over items which many consumer reviews wouldn`t recommend at all.  It pays to do your research.

Start early

Analysts say starting to shop early this year will be a good strategy, not only because deals are kicking off earlier but also because hot products may sell out quickly, or fail to arrive at your doorstep on time.

Skip the in-store sales and shop online

While there will probably be a few more in-store promotions than there were last year, analysts expect a smaller number than in pre-pandemic days. But retailers will offer more of the same promotions online that they do in stores. And online shoppers may see more free delivery offers and ship-to-store programs with pickup points.

Use websites and apps

To judge how good the deals really are in crunch time, you need to track prices leading up to Black Friday. The same goes for Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials. But you don’t have to go retailer by retailer to compare prices. There are reliable websites which lists the current prices at various outlets for the products. When you’re in a store, smartphone apps allow you to scan bar codes or QR codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons.

Use loyalty programs

Store loyalty programs often grant members early access to coupons, sales, and promotions, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. So sign up for Black Friday shopping alerts. In some cases, you can even find out whether the products you want are in stock or eligible to buy online and pick up at a store, which can save you money on shipping.

Get social

The Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds of your favourite retailers are a great way to find out about exclusive deals and promotions. Retailers will often reward customers who like or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And of course texts, tweets, and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping info with your friends, too.

Create a budget—and stick to it

Yes, this sounds simple. But Black Friday sales, especially the door-buster specials available in limited quantities, are designed in part to get you into a store or shopping online so that the retailer can sell you stuff you weren’t intending to buy. It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement and overspend. Decide ahead of time how much you want your Black Friday shopping spree to cost, and do your best to resist impulse buying, especially if you’re not sure how good a deal is.

Check all store policies in advance

It’s always good to know a store’s price-match and return policies. Analysts expect more retailers to price-match specific deals this year. Almost all the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, and they’ve been expanding them almost every year.

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