Use these insider secrets to save big on the year’s largest shopping day
Smart shoppers know that the day after Thanksgiving is the day to score the best deals. These 7 tips will help you find the absolute best buys this year.
Several Web sites start posting Black Friday ads as soon as they become available―which for some stores is now. Check these
sites for the latest deals:
Many major retailers launch their Black Friday sales as early as two weeks before the official day. Last year, Gap offered
"Bright Friday" markdowns of up to 60 percent starting the day before Thanksgiving, and Toys "R" Us offered 25-percent-off
deals and gifts with purchases from Oct. 28 to Nov. 21.
If queuing up at the crack of dawn is part of the thrill for you, you'll love the trend of rewarding early birds with extra discounts. For example, last year, H&M gave the first 100 people in line tickets for up to $300 in store credit. And at midnight, Sports Authority rewarded the first 80 customers to walk through its doors with cards worth up to $500.
Chances are you’ll want to hit more than one store on Black Friday. But quantities of advertised products will be limited―in some cases, as few as 10 or 20 per store. It’s fun to shop with pals, but you’re more likely to snag scarce deals if you fan out. Swap lists, divvy up the stores, stay in touch by cell phone and meet for coffee or lunch afterward.
Does an ad for "Laptops under $100!" have you salivating? Doorbuster items often sell for below a retailer's costs just to lure customers, but they are often non-brand-name models, sometimes created specifically for Black Friday with lower specs than a standard manufacturer's line. So make sure that prospective purchase has everything you want.
Carry a purse that closes securely and keep it in front of you at all times. Carrying cash is a great way to stay on budget,
but it’s also less secure: if it gets stolen, it’s gone. Debit cards are one alternative, but fraud protection is weaker than
for credit cards, (If your debit card is stolen you’re liable for up to $500 in unauthorized purchases if you don’t report
the theft within 48 hours.) Credit cards are safest but also make it easy to blow your budget.
Have a list of what you are looking for and a dollar figure in mind for how much you want to spend. When you’ve reached it, it's time to go home.
In the past, Black Friday coupons were hefty. To find this year’s bargains, peruse local newspapers and online for printable coupons to pack in your purse.
You may be tempted to grab an item because it seems like a good deal, figuring you can return it later. Not so fast. Although
return policies generally don’t change for Black Friday, some retailers charge restocking fees as high at 15%, especially
Know the store’s return policy before committing―look on its web site or check signage at the customer service desk. You can always ask a sales clerk, but if you get bad info, the written policy will trump what a well-meaning cashier told you.
Since return policies have grown so complex, make sure you really want something before plunking down your money. Electronics
at Target, for instance, carry a 15 percent restocking fee. And returns on furniture at Macy's must be scheduled within three
Yes, there will be amazing bargains. But there will also be crowded stores, out-of-stocks and long lines at the register.
Bring along an iPod or a book to pass the time while you’re waiting to pay, and pack snacks, water and extra toilet paper
in case the public restrooms run out!
Also, forget about rainchecks and price matching―even retailers who normally offer these services won’t on Black Friday.
If you don’t want to brave the crowds, there are still bargains to be had. Many retailers start posting online specials at
midnight Thursday―yes, that’s right, Thanksgiving night. (If you’re on the west coast, you can start shopping right after
dessert, at 9 p.m.) But be patient. Because so many people will be hitting the web during Thanksgiving weekend, the sits may