Make Black Friday a Frugal Event
Whether you are heading south to cash in on post-American Thanksgiving deals or taking advantage of the many deals to be had north of the border as retailers try to entice Canadian shoppers (and their retail dollars) to stay put, Black Friday shopping is a chance to shop and save- if you do it correctly.
Not only can you get a jump on your holiday shopping, you can potentially really stretch your dollar by scoring some sweet deals. Make this notorious shopping weekend work for you- and for your budget.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Like with all successful shopping, planning is an essential tool. However, in the midst of the flurry of Black Friday sales, ads and time-limited offers, strategy is extremely crucial- not only to saving money, but to actually getting the goods that you want.
Make detailed lists that include the item, pricing and any additional information that is relevant to the product or service in question. Some specials are time-limited (literally for example, from 10-11, buy one, get two free!).
Plan your transportation, parking and include time in your planning for lineups and clerk assistance in stores, as it could be busy.
Your Shopping Trip Begins Before you Leave Home
It is common sense, but make sure that you take steps to make sure that you are comfortable when you go shopping. Eat and drink well, and wear comfortable clothing. Pack snacks and water to consume during your shopping excursions.
Your comfort, especially in crowds and line ups will impact your decision making, which will in turn impact how closely you stick to your plan-and to your budget.
The Ball is in Your Court
Before hitting the stores, embrace couponing with particular passion. Retailers are being aggressive in advance of the Black Friday weekend, recognizing the retail power of this shopping window. As a consumer, you have an equal amount of power, because you have the choice.
Stretch your dollar by seeing what retailers are doing to bid for your dollar. Start by targeting your favourite stores with print coupons (likely in flyers) and online. Check deal sites for specific items and specials that match your list.
After that, see if anything particular catches your eye, and include coupons in your shopping kit. If you don’t see what you are looking for, you can always approach your favourite retailer with a price match, or a similar offer.
Read the Fine Print
Even on Black Friday, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Read all the details, both in advertised promotions and on receipts. Make sure you understand the inner workings of sales (do you need to buy multiple items to get the discount benefit etc.).
Check out return policies (a deal is nullified if the product doesn’t fit or is inappropriate- and sits useless in your closet).
This is a good opportunity to shop with a friend-both to help hold places in line, divide and conquer when it comes to covering ground, as well as have someone to help you take advantage of multiple buy offers, and split the savings.
Having a friend along in tow can also help in offering a voice of reason, to steer you from impulse buying.
Don’t Buy for Yourself
If you are truly on a budget, and are trying to accomplish your holiday shopping, avoid the tremendous temptations that exist during these deeply discounted days to line your own closet shelves or pick up new gadgets.
Or, if you really can’t resist, set strict guidelines and monetary limits. Impulse purchases like that, while seemingly innocuous in the moment, have a way of really denting your overall budget.