Black Friday – The Saving Strategy.

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Smart Shopper | 33 comments

black friday

In my last Black Friday post I discussed retail tricks to be aware of and need-to-know store policies. This post will continue from there but focus on the saving strategy. While this post is directed at the Black Friday shoppers, the saving strategies will benefit shoppers anytime of the year.

NUMBER ONE BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY: 

“NEVER BUY WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT JUST BECAUSE IT’S CHEAP” – Thomas Jefferson

NUMBER TWO BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY: 

  1. HAVE A DETAILED LIST OF WHAT YOU DO WANT TO BUY.
  2. DECIDE ON THE DISCOUNT (50% OR BETTER IS REASONABLE) AND STICK TO IT.  

Know exactly what you want. As in the past you’ll probably find savings on:

  • Technology and Gadgets
    • Gaming consoles and games, Smartphones, Headphones
  • Electronics
    • Apple Products (but not at the Apple store), Laptops, Tablets, Large screen TVs, Home theatre systems
  • Home Goods
    • Large appliances – washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves, refrigerators
    • Small kitchen appliances
    • Dishes and Bakeware
    • Pots and pans
  • Dyson vacuums
  • Tools
  • New – some stores now offer discounts on gift cards, which is great because they’ve become one of the most popular Christmas gifts.
  • Clothing and apparel – better deals online on Cyber Monday
  • Jewelry – better prices when there is less demand for them
  • Toys – better the first couple of weeks of December
  • Unless you really need them, this is NOT the time to buy Christmas decorations, cards, wrapping paper, etc. The savings will be much greater AFTER Christmas, during Boxing Day week.

Keep in mind that many of the items will not be top of the line. For some things that won’t matter but for others it may. Be prepared by knowing exactly what you want, right down to the brand, size, colour and model number, if applicable.

NUMBER THREE BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY: 

Set the budget and decide how you’re going to pay for the purchases. Some options:

  • Store reward credit cards – if you’re concerned about overspending you may want to consider a prepaid credit card.
  • Cash in any rewards, gift cards or store cash coupons accumulated.
  • Use the store’s interest free layaway service if available but only if you’re sure you can pay it off within the contract period.

Be aware that the price advertised may not be the price you pay at checkout. Savings may come after the fact in the form of Mail in Rebates or by Store gift cards or cash/product coupons. Check the flyers carefully as this type of information will be listed there. Also check for any expiry dates.

  • Mail in Rebates – If you’re good at sending out the rebate forms, you could end up saving big; if you often forget (which many do) then there won’t be any savings.
  • Store gift card/cash coupons. If you know you can use the gift card/coupon before it expires you can rack up some good savings. However, if either one is for a specialty store you don’t normally patronize it probably won’t be used, meaning you lose out on the savings.

MORE BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGIES: 

Take advantage of the store’s loyalty program. If you’re not a member, consider signing up now. Besides earning points, rewards or cash back, there may be other benefits such as early access to instore specials or additional discounts.

Download the store apps for instant access to:

  • Their products and product specifications;
  • Customer reviews;
  • Store availability;
  • Price-drop alerts.

With the apps you can keep checking competitors’ prices and availability even while waiting in the checkout line – this is especially a neat feature at stores that price match.

Take advantage of social media to stay informed with what’s happening at your favourite stores. You’ll receive updates about deals instore, online or both.

With the different time zones and sale effective dates across the country many products may be available online before they’re in the local store.

Sneak Peak. Some stores offer a limited time preview of their Black Friday specials – this allows customers to order during the preview period for pickup at the store on Black Friday. If a competitors price drops below the preview price, check to make sure their price will drop accordingly.

Black Friday Doorbusters, Early Bird Specials. These specials are always time limited so it’s necessary to pay attention to when the special starts and ends – details will be stated in the store’s flyer.

  • Guaranteed doorbusters/specials. These are the best specials – as long as you’re there within the time frame listed you’re guaranteed to receive one;
  • Limited quantities – first-come, first-serve basis. If they’re sold out by the time you get there, you missed out. If you really want one of these, put it right at the top of the list, arrive early and hope for the best;
  • Limited quantities – a specific number available, often only 5 or 10. I think the hassle of trying for one of these just wouldn’t be worth it – if you want to try for one, arrive very early.
  • Not all doorbusters are worth the effort. Some definitely belong in the inferior product basket. Know what’s being offered.

Black Friday is now a month-long affair. The first week of November I received a flyer for a three day pre-Black Friday sale from a furniture store. Amazon started the Black Friday countdown on November 1st. What this means is you may not want to wait until Black Friday to buy.

For instance, after Amazon’s Black Friday countdown started one of their deals was a watch at 87% off. If I was in the market for a watch and this one met my requirements I would definitely have purchased it (after doing a quick check of the product and the pre-sale price). Since there was little room for the price to drop further there would have been no sense in waiting.

BLACK FRIDAY SAVING STRATEGY – Know those tactics/practices that will REDUCE the savings: 

  • You’ve all heard the announcements, “Shoppers, in so many minutes we will be offering 40-50-60% off on such and such a product” and this message keeps repeating every few minutes. Don’t be suckered in. The store is hoping you hang around for this great deal in the meantime doing what shoppers do, put more items in the shopping cart. Of course with those extra purchases the store more than makes up for the discount on the original product.
  • Make a point to never buy anything at the checkout counter if it’s not on your list. Those small, mostly useless, purchases can really add up.
  • Don’t take children with you. The crowds pushing and shoving is bad enough to upset children, but stores load up the end caps with colourful signs and products at child height. When small children see that they are naturally going to want the product, no matter the quality or use. For their sake and your sanity, make other arrangements for them.Black Friday

CYBER MONDAY – ONLINE SHOPPING – THE BETTER STRATEGY? 

I can see online shopping overtake in-store shopping before too long, maybe even this year. For many, myself included, this is the only way to go. Since there will be greater demand for goods it pays to have everything organized ahead of time. This includes:

  • Knowing the online store’s policies, especially regarding returns and shipping;
  • Having your account information updated and current;
  • Knowing your way around the site.

I do most of my online shopping on one site. They offer a huge selection; great prices; hassle-free returns; and even with their free shipping I always receive the order within a week. My address and financial information are always up to date with them which means I can use their one-click ordering system. Couldn’t be easier. That’s the kind of customer service you want from every store, both brick and mortar and online.

After all this, do I buy the Black Friday sales myself? Not in-store. If I happen to need something during this time and the price is right I’ll buy it online and have it shipped right to my door for free.

And for anyone who missed the Black Friday sales – don’t fret. There will be more sales just as good – or even better – but without the hype all through the year.

Talk to you again next week,

Lenie

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33 Comments

  1. Love the Thomas Jefferson quote. Would have thought the problem of buying stuff you don’t want because of sales promotions would have been of more recent vintage. The whole Black Friday thing is too much for me. I haven’t bought anything in a store on that day for as long as I can remember.

    • Ken, do you remember “There’s a sucker born every minute’ and how about those snake oil salesman from days past. Smooth talking promoters have been taking people in for ever – I think now we are actually becoming more aware of the fact that they do.

  2. We had to get a new refrigerator. Thankfully I have a little cabinet refrig to hold us over until delivery. A few of our big chain stores started their Black Friday sales early however, they are also saying there will be more discounts then! So I asked, “So should we wait to order or will you credit us any difference?” And yes, they said they would credit. They got our order today. It wasn’t in stock but hey, the sale savings is huge and I checked 2 other stores carrying this brand; none in stock. Thanks Lenie for these past two Black Friday tips!

    • Patricia, I like the way you shop. This is exactly the time of year to take your approach – buy now before the madness begins but guarantee you get the best price anyway. Buying now gives you much greater chance to look around and check out all the features and services. Want to write my next post 🙂

      • Well I have learned about times of the year to buy more from you than anyone/anything else Lenie. So thank YOU for this compliment.

  3. Good tips for Black Friday saving. I love the Jefferson quote.

    • I really liked that quote Donna and it’s so true. If people don’t get caught up in the madness and buy just because something is on sale, they really can save a lot of money.

  4. I love your idea of going to the store with a pre-paid credit card. That is really the best way to stay accountable to your budget. I’m not much of an impulse buyer. In fact, I’m a bit too sensible. However, I have at times bought items just because it looked like such a good deal. And whether it really was a good deal or whether I really needed it is debatable.

    • Erica, I use the prepaid credit card quite often especially if I’m buying from an online store I haven’t dealt with before. I usually just get one for $500.00 and it often seems to last forever. It’s almost like having your own little petty cash fund.

  5. This information is so valuable Lenie and easily shareable, although as someone who goes out of her way to avoid crowds the images they convey make me twitch. The only thing on my non-gift shopping list this year is a smartphone and my cell phone provider has been sending weekly deals for some time. As you pointed out, when I do my homework on the models they offer the reviews are marginal at best. Still, I’m going to keep watching because I figure as we get closer to the big day there might actually be an offer worth taking advantage of.

    • I’m like you when it comes to avoiding crowds – that’s why I love the convenience of online shopping. You can take the time to check out the reviews as you have done and then buy it at the right time and for the right price. Who really needs Black Friday?

  6. What an impressive account on how to save money. In Sweden the best sales start after Christmas. Whenever I need something I look at various options and it’s frequently possible to pay much less for the same product.

    • Catarina, it is all about knowing when to buy – I can never see the sense of paying more for anything than I need to. The money saved can be used for so many other things, maybe even some fun stuff. 🙂

  7. Spot on Lenie, as per usual.

    The quote;

    “Never buy what you do not want just because it’s cheap” is so true! I have been caught out doing this many a time, especially with clothes. A top may well have cost £5 but if it does nothing for my figure and I shove it to the back of my wardrobe, I have thrown away £5.

    I agree that Christmas wrapping paper and cards are cheaper after Christmas. I have no incentive to buy them then though.

    • Phoenicia, I have gotten to the point where I question all my purchases (I’m not much fun to shop with) – do I really need this or do I want this? – if I get this where will I wear/use it? etc. Needless to say I don’t buy much. 🙂

  8. These are some awesome shopping strategies Lenie!

    And they are extremely well thought out as well!

    The retailers have definitely gone to an awful lot of
    trouble, the list we can do is the same, with regards to
    being smart shoppers!

    Thanks for help tipping the scales in our favor!

    • Hi Mark, welcome to my blog. Thanks for your kind words. You’re absolutely right, we need to do everything we can to counteract the hyped up promotion, especially at this time of year with Black Friday and then Christmas. Sharing knowledge is key.

  9. Hi Lenie, oh Black Friday is too much for me too I’m afraid. I think it started when people began sleeping outside in the middle of the night to get the supposedly great deals, but then it began creeping into families Thanksgiving time together. It just makes me want to boycott the entire thing and wait for cyber Monday. And the buying of things you don’t need just because it’s a great price, reminds me of why I avoid those big club warehouse stores and the 50 gallons of mayo for $20. Just because the price is great, it is not good if you don’t need it. But even i forget that sometimes when faced with the temptation. My temptation this Black Friday will be to sleep in. 🙂

    • Susan, I love your ambitious Black Friday goal – way to go. Reading your comment I was wondering how much people really save shopping at the warehouse stores. Never thought about that before – probably because we don’t have access to one. How much do they throw out because it’s gone way past the expiry date. hmmmmm, something to check out.

  10. Useful strategy!!! keep it up.

  11. More fantastic tips to share with friends, Lenie!
    One of my organizer friends has a motto of buying something, then leaving the tags on it for 1 week. If she still wants it after that, great. If not, great and it gets returned. I’ve done that with my impulse buys and those things I’ve purchase like Phoenicia mentioned–just because they’re on sale. And yes, I’ve returned the $5 top upon occasion.
    Like you, I shop online as much as possible. It makes life so much more pleasant!

    • Rose, I like your friends idea, it’s especially a great one for those impulse buys. I actually know people who have things hanging in their closet, tags attached, that they’ve never worn. If they had kept those items out in the open they may have thought to return them
      I love online shopping – no hassle and things get brought right to your door. Couldn’t be easier. thanks again for sharing.

  12. I definitely agree with the detailed list. In fact, I have a running year-round list I keep in my billfold of the items I need… it’s even categorized into four main categories. Last year, I got a great deal on an HD antenna from Amazon on Cyber Monday. A list can really help as a reminder not to buy things just because they are cheap.

    • Jeri, having a list just makes a lot of sense. I’m not a great buyer and now that I’m older I’m more interested in getting rid of things than to accumulate more. I’ve also never thought cheap was good unless it was a low price for a quality product I needed.

  13. Thx for the great saving strategies, Lenie! I must say that I prefer to shop online, or when there are NO crowds, so I think I’ll be bypassing any Black Friday Blowouts!

    • Doreen, I think we should call the BHB group – the Frugal BHB Group. I think when it comes to our members I’m rather preaching to the choir. We all tend to be careful with our spending, avoid crowds and prefer online shopping. Oh well, someone may benefit. 🙂

  14. Hello Lenie, Great tips for Black Friday saving. I love the Jefferson quote.

  15. What great tips.
    Personally, I try to miss the stores as much as I can during the holidays. I will try to shop at night if I can. I am unsure which I hate more, the stores pushing sales, or the crowds.

  16. I’m the worst about getting distracted from my list! I’m also bad about thinking I “need” something just because it’s on sale. These are great reminders and just in time too. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I’m not going Black Friday shopping, bu I will definitely share this with my friends. I know that they can use these strategies to get the best deals.

  18. This past week my local grocery store (Vons) had Bar S Polish Sausage on sale. At the risk of sounding like a sausage snob, these sausages are ‘beneath my standard’ – I find them indistinguishable from medium-end hot dogs – but I gave some thought to picking up a package anyway, as you can’t beat $3.99 for a 14-pack, right? However, after encountering that Jefferson quote in the course of reading your post I said, “That’s it, I’m not buying that stuff.” So thanks for saving me a trip, Lenie and Tom.

    • Good morning Andy. So glad I was able to save you a trip and some money. I love that Jefferson quote and it was just so fitting. I’ve never been a fan of buying cheap and if it’s the only criteria for buying we usually end up being sorry. Rather wait until the quality stuff comes on sale. Tom says you’re welcome.

  19. Thanks for The Saving Strategy. I always go out of my list and buy extra stuff, if I see it on sale. I feel sad many times when I no not need at the end and have to throw. It is great idea to download app.
    Tips are great I hope they will help me in future.