Tag Archive | "Black Friday deals"

Don’t Overspend on Black Friday! Tips To Spend Less

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Last year, more people shopped in store and online on Black Friday weekend, hitting an unprecedented $59.1 billion in sales, CNN Money reports.  With Black Friday just around the corner, many consumers look forward to some post-Thanksgiving shopping as well as the opportunity to enjoy great bargains.  To make the most of the holiday discounts, consider the following tips that can help you not only survive the adventure, but come out ahead of the game:


Avoid impulse buying


Planning ahead is essential to saving money on Black Friday.  Don’t leave home without your shopping list.  In fact, assuming that you’ll find great deals everywhere you look is a common misconception, according to USNews.com.  A list will help you stay focused and decrease the temptation to buy something just because it’s on sale.


Create a strategy by comparing Black Friday sales, researching what each retailer has to offer.  You’ll find a number of free apps available to help you, such as TGI Black Friday, which sorts deals by products as well as stores, and even allows you to create a personalized shopping list.


By subscribing to a retailer’s email list or visiting its website, you can determine if the store is worth visiting in person and compare prices for specific items.


Search for coupons


A good coupon, from retailers like JCPenney and others, can help you reap some significant savings on shipping and in-store items.  Thoroughly peruse your local Thanksgiving Day paper, as well as the previous Sunday newspaper for coupons.  Most will be stuffed, just like your holiday turkey, with advertisements and coupons that can be a great way to save on Black Friday.  Keep an eye out for special discounts, such as an extra percentage off for shopping at certain times, which can also help you organize your shopping schedule.


Don’t forget that many online and brick-and-mortar stores offer coupons via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.


Use cash


One of the best ways to save money, prevent impulse buying and overspending is to set a budget and stick to it.  With the lure of bargains and bright lights, it’s difficult for many shoppers to resist spending too much.  Instead of using credits cards or a debit card, bring cash, which makes it impossible to go over your planned budget.


Shop early


The best bargains are generally found early in the day. Unfortunately, with retailers opening earlier and earlier, this means you’ll probably have to head out the door well before the sun comes up.  But if you do so, you’ll be able to enjoy the widest selections and the best chance for significant discounts.  To find out store hours, blackfriday.fm has an extensive list of Black Friday store hours for many major retailers.


Get as much sleep you can the night before by going to bed early — a well-rested shopper is a smarter shopper.  If you plan to shop all day, be sure to take occasional breaks to avoid exhaustion.


Bring snacks to prevent bad decisions


If you go without eating for too long, you could end up light-headed and vulnerable to poor decision making.  You’ll need a lot of energy to battle through crowds, possibly walk long distances and wait in long lines.  Pack snack foods that will keep your energy levels up and your head clear.  Granola bars or a Ziploc bag filled with almonds and raisins can be a life saver when you don’t have time to sit down for a meal.



Black Friday Bargains in a Rotten Economy: At What Cost?

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Target, the mega-department store, plans to open its doors at 11 PM on Thursday, November 24th.  In case you don’t have a calendar handy, that day happens to be Thanksgiving, the one day of the year when most Americans gather to celebrate the fact that we are Americans enjoying American freedoms — even in this rotten economy.   In a bid to beat their retail competitors who, for the past few years, have opened for businesses at 2, 3, and 4 AM on Black Friday, Target has trumped them.  But they are not the only Big Box retailer to do so.  Wal-Mart and Toys R Us are opening, respectively, one and two hours earlier, and the list of early-birds-catching worms retailers does not end there.

This may be great news for those hard pressed in this economy to create a loving (read: present-laden) Christmas or Chanukah for their families.  All these folks need to do, in order to reap the greatest savings and trample their own competition, is cue up in front of the stores at, say, 6 or 7 PM on Thanksgiving, when most other folks are just sitting down to warm pumpkin pie, a little music, a little football, and some good conversation.  All the shoppers have to do is huddle deeply into their parkas, sip hot cocoa sparingly from their thermoses, and dance in place, watching the stars come up in the deep bowl of the sky.

Once the stores’ doors are flung wide, the ensuing scene will rival that of Charlton Heston’s classic Moses parting the Red Sea for the Israelites.  Surging throngs will rush to grab and propel shopping carts down aisles normally dark and dormant at that forlorn hour.  They will propel them like drunken drivers, heedless of their fellow commuters.  Half asleep and tryptophan’d to the gills, they will make hasty decisions concerning their purchases.

They’ll battle with their fellow shoppers to snatch up the hottest toys, electronics, cologne, fashion accessories, CDs, and a thousand other presents and stocking stuffers (actually, more than a thousand, if we count SKUs and not product classifications).  They’ll wait on long lines, contending with pissed off cashiers who have every right to be pissed off.

Then these savvy shoppers will speed home, unload their booty in their garages, and slap police tape over their garage doors, admonishing their loved ones not to step a foot inside and spoil the surprises.

As dawn breaks on Friday morn, spilling its roseate rays upon nearly-naked trees, warming the cold Earth, as geese take wing, honking and heading South, these smart shoppers will fall into bed, numb, exhausted, nursing Excedrin Headache Number 99.  Their Circadian rhythms will be out of whack and they’ll be testy with their family members the rest of the day, for those family members refused to buy- in to the Black Friday madness.

Those family members and indeed, those neighbors who remained ’round their own Thanksgiving tables, will rise late, enjoying the warm memories of the day before, their hands wrapped ’round steaming mugs of coffee and leftover pumpkin pie.  They’ll crack open a book or call or friend to catch up or even meet that friend for lunch.  Some will haul the Christmas and Chanukah decorations down from the attic.  At a leisurely pace and aided by small sips of eggnog, they will begin to adorn their homes in preparation for the next major holiday.

With the utmost of tenderness, they will slip cherished, heirloom baubles from their tissue paper nests.  And as each bauble is hung upon the tree, or as each Menorah is taken out and lovingly polished, these folks will feel as if Thanksgiving has extended itself one more day — one more day to feel grateful, one more day to feel human.

So, who wins here, and who loses?  In the wise words of Shirley MacLaine, “Perspective is everything.”  Indeed, it is.

When the Big Box retailers lure you away from your loved ones on Thanksgiving Eve with promises of amazing savings, you may want to look twice at what you are actually saving, and what you are losing.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chanukah are not just about the great food and the great presents.  They are not about giving your kids what they demand without a clue as how hard you busted your ass to buy those things, just so that your kids can “fit in.”  It’s not about buying your mother-in-law an exquisite present, and thus making her look bad, because she still buys you crap for Christmas, ‘though you’ve been a part of her extended family for 20 years.

America’s fall and winter holidays are about keeping certain days sacred, because those days allow us to slow down, think, and enjoy what is good in our lives — despite the rotten economy.  If you still have a roof over your head and food on your table, if your health is relatively sound, as is the health of your loved ones, and if your brain functions in a critical thinking manner, you are blessed.  If your heart functions in a way that is compassionate to others, and if you put that compassion into action, you are rich beyond measure.

If you doubt me, try it.

Rush into Target on Black Friday, or Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys R Us, et cetera.  Empty your pockets, wear yourself out, get angry at other people doing the exact same things that you are doing.  And then watch what happens to those presents you bought a week, a month, or more down the road.  Watch the worth attached to them by their recipients, by the way that those gifts are viewed and treated.

And then, sometime between Black Friday, Chanukah, and Christmas, reach out to your loved ones with a piece of yourself, rather than a wrapped present.  Reach out to a stranger in need to lend a hand or even a few bucks or an unexpected meal.  And then tell me what made you, and everyone around you, happier.

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