Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, is a week from tomorrow. Apparently no one has informed the nation’s top retailers that THIS is the day that Christmas shopping begins <grin>, as they have been in full swing with their pre-Christmas sales for a while. Stores eager for a bit of our wallets are offering big sales and sneak peeks at their ad deals long before the doors open on Friday.
After perusing many of the sneak-peek sale ads, I have a few tips to help you get the best deals on your shopping list:
#1 Know what you are going to buy and make your list before you go shopping. It’s easy to get pulled into the excitement of shopping’s “superbowl” day, but if you have a list, it will help you stay on budget and not overspend.
#2 Study the sale ads before you go. After looking at several Black Friday sites, I recommend using the following sites for sale ad research:
- Black-friday.net ~ This site has a LONG list of sneak peek ads for Black Friday which are very organized and easy to navigate (point. click. & voila! You can see next Friday’s ads for lots of stores). They also have an easy search feature, where you can type in a specific item and compare ad prices. I typed in “ipod” in the search field and every retailer that featured an Apple IPod in their sale ads popped up in a tidy list, making it easy to compare retailers’ offers. I like their “Shopping List” feature too. It allows you to make a handy-dandy list of the items you are interested in, by retailer.
- TheBlackFriday.blogspot.com ~ If you just want to peruse the ads each day that the “sneak peeks” are released, this is a good spot. It has some of the best quality ad scans and the simplicity of this site makes it easy to see the latest ads at a quick glance.
#3 Compare the sale ad prices to online sites before you go. It is a good idea to compare the total cost product + tax (8.25% in Fort Worth) of purchasing at your local store vs. buying the same item from an online retailer (product + shipping). At an almost 10% increase to the bottom line, tax can add up quick. Many online stores (like Amazon.com or Buy.com) offer free shipping on some purchases AND are tax-free (plus most of their prices are nicely discounted every day).
Take a look at our recent example of Amazon vs. Walmart on a Wii system ~ the savings can be significant!
#4 Use an online price comparison tool. Ditto #3 above, regarding comparing total cost of purchase (add local tax or online shipping). Some of the most useful sites for comparing online prices include:
- Beatmyprice.com ~ This is one of my favorite sites for finding the best comparisons across many retailers. Rather than using computers to scan the internet to search the best deal, this site is a “people powered” price comparison tool.
- Epinions.com ~ Epinions is a great site for getting online reviews on products you might be considering. It also has a handy price comparison section as well.
- Google.com/products ~ This is a new section of Google that is in beta testing. Out of the gates, I find it is a really good price evaluation tool. Their slogan is “Search for Stuff to Buy.” Need more be said?
#5 Have fun and enjoy yourself. Spread good cheer! Remember that you are blessed to be able to walk through the aisles with enough money to buy something for the people you love most. If they are out of Zhu-Zhu toys, it is not the end of the world.
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