A dear friend moved this year to the United States and her bucket list of must-experience included the Black Friday sale.
The famous sale weekend follows Thanksgiving Day and takes place on Nov. 29, a Friday, and spills over through Saturday and Sunday. Formerly a US shopping tradition, it has spread to other countries and continents so you may have seen Black Friday sale signs around the Philippines too, competing with all the noise around the SEA Games.
Back to my friend, she was excited to join the queues and line up outside Macy’s or Kohl’s in the cold and be one of the first to enter the stores early in the morning. But when she arrived there in July, she quickly realized that sales happen nearly every day with different retailers. In fact, holiday shopping started early with Amazon’s Prime Day event which also took place in July.
Undeterred, after a Turkey dinner with family and friends, she headed out to the stores late Thursday only to come away disappointed the next morning. The deals were still great, but also available online. Turns out cyberspace shopping is actually better as most department stores carried limited stock and would refer shoppers to their website for sizes and colors they do not carry in their inventory.
No wonder Cyber Monday has eclipsed Black Friday in terms of sales beginning a couple of years ago. A marketing campaign designed to encourage people to shop online, Cyber Monday offers deep discounts of up to 90 percent off, resulting in sales of billions of dollars in just one day.
Comparing the two, Businessinsider.com says Black Friday is an in-store shopping holiday, while Cyber Monday is the day to shop online. Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items, and it is still the best day to shop in stores, though you can also shop online. But if you are buying tech deals and smaller gifts, hold on to your wallet until Cyber Monday.
Whichever your shopping preference, a personal trip to the mall or clicking for deals, here are some tips to make sure you walk away with true bargains from here and through the holiday shopping season.
#1 Do your research – it can be a jungle out there!
Never go into any sale with no plan. Stores advertise their sales ahead and you can already look at what will be on sale and how deep the discounts will be. You can’t be at two places in one time, and even in too many websites at one click so go for the ones that will really offer the best deal. It’s not just the price – look at free delivery, free installation, gifts with purchase, longer warranty and more.
#2 Make a list and stick to it.
With nearly everything on sale, you can be tempted to shop for other items too. That’s fine if your budget can cover it. If not, go for the items on your list first. You can have a Plan A, a Plan B and even a Plan C in case the items you really wanted are not available.
#3 Everything’s better with a friend.
Check with family and friends if they also plan to shop and see if you have similar items on the list. This way, you can take advantage of Buy One, Get One offers, whether the second item is free or comes with additional discount. Retailers want to get rid of their inventory so they are pushing bulk sales. If you are buying something you will need throughout the year, and have the space to store it, go right ahead and buy by the dozen.
#4 The early bird catches the best deals too.
While stores advertise Black Friday deals heavily, some items go on sale a day or even a week early. If you know what you’re buying and how much is the regular price, have a look around before Black Friday and you may just save yourself the hassle of crowded shopping centers, plus ensuring you go home with the item on your list.
#5 Check prices, not just once or twice.
Thanks to online shopping and some nifty apps, you can track the prices of items in your wish list. The trend may work in your favor, and keep going down. It can also go up right after Black Friday and you miss the window. But if you don’t mind waiting, you’ll know the best price you can get and then wait for it.
#6 Timing is everything too.
Not all items go on sale during Black Friday. If you’re buying furniture, better wait until January. Shopping for toys? If you can hold out, stores offer deeper discounts closer to Christmas and New Year to make sure they do not carry inventory into the next year.
#7 Use a credit card or virtual payment apps with purchase protection.
If you do and your item is stolen or damaged, you can be reimbursed for the cost. This is welcome especially when the store has a no return, no exchange policy set on sale items. Not all credit cards and payment apps offer this so check first before you swipe and click.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.