While our Thanksgiving weekend is merely a turkey-flavoured memory, our neighbours to the south are quickly approaching theirs, and with it comes that most venerable of shopping days, Black Friday. In an effort to keep Canadian snowbirds from flocking to border cities with their holiday shopping dollars, recent years have seen many large local retailers come up with their own Black Friday sales, offering substantial discounts on popular products for one day – or one weekend – only. The perils of rampant consumerism and ballooning household debt aside, Black Friday is an ideal time for the organized and disciplined shopper to quickly take care of his Christmas list quickly. Here are a few suggestions to make your Black Friday experience a little less stressful.
Have a plan
The sheer volume of deals available can be overwhelming and paralyzing, which can result in regret second guessing about opportunities missed and decisions made. As the Scouts say, “Be prepared.” Have a list of everyone for whom you plan to shop, and some ideas of what those people may like, then start planning where to go to get those items. Research the promotions being advertised in the days leading up to the sale, and prioritize the ‘lightning deals’ that may sell out quickly.
Make a budget
Confronted with an abundance of savings, those without a pre-established budget may fall prey to overspending on things they neither need nor planned to buy. It can be easy to think an item is so discounted you just can’t pass it up, but remember: a purchase is only a deal if you were planning to buy it in the first place. You won’t be saving money if you just buy more stuff.
Consider online shopping
As online shopping became more popular, Cyber Monday became an unofficial companion to Black Friday: a day when retailers cleared out leftover stock through their websites. While Cyber Monday sales persist, most larger stores offer their Black Friday deals online as well, and places like Amazon.ca can be one stop shopping for some. With free shipping and generous return policies abound, Black Friday shopping online can be considerably easier, quicker, and less stressful than standing in lines at bricks-and-mortar locations. Just be careful that your items will indeed be received in time for gift giving, and watch that something you intend on purchasing isn’t ‘in-store only’.
Have some perspective
Popular items are going to sell out, especially when they’re heavily discounted and promoted, so there’s a good chance you will experience some disappointment in the middle of Best Buy. Don’t take it out on the staff, or fellow shoppers.The reality is, many stores continue sale prices throughout December to try and drive consumer spending, and discounts will surely be the norm this year as unemployment weighs heavily on Christmas budgets, so you just might be able to get the same item at the same price in a couple of weeks.
I don’t know about you, but for me there’s nothing quite like the feeling of saving money thanks to clever shopping and a little patience. Completing your Christmas shopping and saving a few bucks at the same time is reason to celebrate, so plan a lunch stop with a friend during your shopping day, or at least add some Bailey’s to your coffee if you’re shopping at home in your housecoat. Checking out the deals, and being in the midst of a mob of like minded shoppers can be fun with the right attitude, so lean into it!
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