Black Friday: Not Always a Deal

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

The day after Thanksgiving is notoriously the biggest sales day of the year, when retailers are guaranteed to be ‘in the black’ on their profit statements.  There’s no question that Black Friday is a great financial opportunity for retailers, but what about shoppers?  In the excitement of holiday shopping and the search for the best deals, many shoppers end up spending more than necessary, even on items they planned to buy.  The assumption that every item in a Black Friday sales ad is ‘on sale’ or at its best possible value isn’t true. Here are some common categories featured in Black Friday sales and how you can save by not placing them in your cart the day after Thanksgiving.

Electronics are a popular item in Black Friday sales ads, ranging from televisions to gaming consuls and tablets.  While many televisions will be featured in sales ads, the majority of them will be non-major brands. Some of these brands compare in quality to name-brands, while others don’t. If you want to take advantage of a cheap television, do your research. Check Consumer’s Report and other reviews to guarantee you won’t just be replacing it in 6 months.  As for new consuls (Playstation 4, anyone?), market prices are unlikely to go down before Christmas since the demand is so high.  If you want a deal, purchase a gaming bundle that includes  bonus games or controllers. You won’t be saving on the consul, but you could be saving up to 50% on the accessories and games. So, if you’re going to buy the consul anyway (even though you won’t be saving any money on it), snatch up a Black Friday bundle deal.

With all electronics, beware of purchasing items that out-date or upgrade frequently, because new models typically come out in January. If you care about having the most current technology, you might as well wait until the new year. If this year’s models suit your needs just fine, you’ll still want to take advantage of the  best prices, which will show up later in December when stores are clearing their inventory for the new merchandise and manufacturers are purging their old stock.  Newest generation tablet and e-readers aren’t likely to dip that much in price this winter since they’re so new, but keep your eye out for deals on equally impressive older releases.

Seasonal Gifts
Retailers don’t make a lot of money on their door-busters, many of which are being sold at or below cost; they make it on all the other stuff customers throw in their carts on impulse while they’re in line for the door-buster. Don’t be gullible and fall into this category on Black Friday. Items such as Christmas decorations, home decor, bedding, towels, apparel and gift sets are not always at their lowest price the day after Thanksgiving. If you can wait, these items go on sale in late December or January, when you can buy last-minute gifts or stock up for next year.

Jewelry is a very popular Christmas gift category, but not because of the deals. You won’t find many good deals on jewelry during Christmas because it’s the category’s #1 holiday.  With a high demand for jewelry regardless of the cost (jewelry is harder to comparison shop, too, since it’s more unique), there’s little motivation for retailers to offer good deals. If you need to purchase jewelry, focus on clearance merchandise or shop online, where’s it’s easier to compare jewelry items and prices.

Toys? Yes, Toys
Toys represent a significant portion of most families’ Christmas shopping. Naturally, you’ll want to find most of your savings here. One little-known secret is that toys, even hot-item toys, are at their absolute rock-bottom prices the few weeks before Christmas (and of course, January clearance). So be careful what you purchase on Black Friday, or you’ll be regretting it when you see the same items significantly discounted a few weeks later.

When you shop this Black Friday, keep in mind that not everything is a good deal, and let this guide your decisions so you can save the most money on your holiday gifts.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

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