Holiday Shopping Tips

Thanksgiving is more than just turkey and stuffing. It has become the kick off for the holiday season. Instead of Black Friday, deals are leaking into Thanksgiving evening (also known as the Black Friday Creep). If you are looking for a good deal, here is how to navigate the shopping season.

Black Friday/ Black Thursday

The day after Thanksgiving (or late Thursday) is the biggest shopping day of the year known as Black Friday. The day is named because it is the first day in the year that retail stores are in the black instead of in the red. Black Friday is not for amateurs. Here is how to make out like a bandit.

First, make a list of everything you want to purchase and who you are purchasing for. This will help you stay on task and, more importantly, stay on budget. Without this, you will shop aimlessly and will be doomed to overspend.

Next, check out the Black Friday ads. Ads are often “leaked” (sometimes by the stores themselves) a couple of weeks ahead of time. For the most accurate deals, check your local newspaper on Thanksgiving day. It will be tempting to visit multiple stores, but know that it takes careful planning. If two stores open around the same time, chances are you will only make it to one. So prioritize.

And finally, go early. The early bird gets the worm, especially since many retailers have a limited quantity of the doorbuster items. We’re talking 5 laptops at one store. If you want one of those, go early. But weigh out the options. Some people camp out days- if not a week- in advance, so figure out what it is worth to you.

And prepare to wait in line. After snagging your purchases, prepare for at least an hour wait to check out. Take a book or a friend.

Small Business Saturday

While big box retailers get all of the attention for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to support the little guys. The “holiday” began in 2010 to promote small businesses and to shop local. Heavy hitters like American Express and even President Obama have joined in to support the day. American Express offered cash back on small business purchases, while the President shopped at a local bookstore to gain publicity for the event.

Small businesses often can’t offer rock bottom prices, but you can get unique and special gifts. Not wanting to give the same sweater every girl is wearing this season? Get a one of a kind frock while buying local is a win-win.

Cyber Monday

Now the 9-5 set has something to occupy their minds on the day after the weekend. Cyber Monday is when online retailers pull out all the stops with deep discounts and free shipping offers. You can score great deals without ever leaving your couch. Huge bonus: some of the sales are just as good, if not better, than Black Friday sales. Check our your favorite store and Amazon for best deals on that day.

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