Local shop-a-holics are waiting with baited breath for annual “Black Friday”: the single, post-Thanksgiving opportunity for incredible savings, a plethora of consumer goods, and businesses nestling into a comfortable profit margin. In fact, most retailers achieve the greatest percentage of their annual sales goals during the four-week holiday bustle demarcated between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Meanwhile, comparative deals, double discounts, and special coupons greatly facilitate shopping transactions, giving consumers with larger purchases the premier opportunity to significantly save.
So as to navigate this weekend's shopping frenzy efficiently, you'll want to have a well thought-out plan and a few savvy tips at your command. Many large retailers have already begun their holiday sales, with daily offers and free shipping on those purchases of fifty dollars and up. Check out Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, Kohl's and Walmart for bargains both on-site and online. Target's sales meanwhile remain true to Black Friday tradition, however, if you're in the mood for some top electronics, cruise their exclusive online deals.
Ready, Set, Shop: Negotiating one's way through the holiday spree can be daunting if you're not prepared with some advance know-how. Consider this “Black Friday Guide” as your passport to a concise, more rewarding shopping experience:
1. Check Out the Ads: The Albuquerque Journal's Thanksgiving day paper, available November 24th, will be crock full of ads, coupons and circulars. Consider it your premier source to city-wide savings; also it can help you map your sequence of desired retail sites, as discounts tend to be time-specific.
2. Do Pre-Friday Research: If you're tending to make large-item purchases, definitely perform some research prior to the big day. You can log onto sites like PriceGrabber.com for product options and price comparisons. After all, being knowledgeable regarding the vast array of sound discounts versus cheap giveaways will assist you in avoiding poorly-made items, which is never a good deal no matter what the savings. About.com is another site full of professional advisement regarding a large variety of popular goods. Other excellent comparison-shopping sites include:
These sites allow you to determine options included with the product, or see whether retailers are lowering the price by offering a stripped-down version of the item you really desire (in which case you are charged extra for necessary parts that allow the product to perform as promised. A good example of this is often seen with super low-priced computer printers that come without the cable cord or printer ink).
3. Check “Early Bird” Discounts: Due to the depressed economy, many stores are offering considerable, select discounts to those shoppers that arrive early. Stores offering early-day shopper specials usually run the deals from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. and with no "rain checks," which means once they run out of products, you are out of luck. Scanning the ads and routing your trip based on your buying priorities will be important with the time-sensitive deals offered.
4. Avoid Crowds with “Night Owl” Discounts: Internet shoppers have the option of preempting 'early bird' sales by availing themselves of online specials, pre-dawn Black Friday. Many retailers post Black Friday specials, which you may order online and pick-up at locally. Also, some special "Web only" deals will also be available as early as Thanksgiving eve. Many of the the aggressive outlet malls and factory stores will be opening Thursday at midnight, in hopes of capturing customers before the competition has opened.
5. Start Tweeting: National and most local businesses have twitter and facebook accounts, keeping their followers abreast of trends, new products, and exclusives. Sign up with to follow your favorite stores and avail yourself of this proprietary information, including printable coupons. Track sales with your Iphone using an free application available for download by www.dealnews.com; it will list both Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends of which to remain abreast.
6. Bring Ads and Keep Receipts: while certain stores may give a reduced price guarantee, patrons may be asked to provide an ad for the product in question—and it must be an exact match or no discounts are applicable. Perhaps you must provide evidence of a lesser price offered elsewhere to receive discounts, so be prepared. Also note that although a product may be offered at one price on a retailer's website, the on-site retailers won't match it. Make certain to retain receipts, noting refund policies in case you find the same item for less elsewhere, or your gift recipient desires an exchange.
7. Understand Store Policies: Nowadays, the period of holiday return or exchange time post-purchase is reducing, so those businesses with better return policies are a better bet. Some retailers even include a 'restocking fee' upon returns so read the fine print on the back of your receipt. In addition, the major chains are now demanding receipts for return, where greater leniency had been the policy of the past, so don't lose purchase receipts: better to keep them in the same bags as gifts while storing them away, and then transferring the slips to a specific envelope to file. Since retailers continue reducing prices once Black Friday is over, the difference between payment and return prices can be significant. Including the gift-receipt insures a less problematic return experience for customers.
Any educated consumer can cut through the clutter of advertising mediums and re-shape it into a streamlined shopping process this Black Friday. With research and a smart plan handy, you will recognize better deals, avoid the crowds, and hold to your purchasing priorities.
And one more thing:
Thanks in advance for my gift!!!
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