Thanksgiving weekend marks the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season; Consumer Reports offers advice to help you get the best deals the day after Thanksgiving and all throughout the holiday season. Use these Black Friday shopping tips to help keep frustration – and overspending – to a minimum.
- Start early. Black Friday has transformed into a whole month of deals and savings with online retailers updating prices throughout the event. To judge how good the day after Thanksgiving sales really are, keep track of deals leading up to Black Friday.
- Do your homework. Don’t head out on Black Friday unprepared. Get ready by studying the ads – in print and online – the week before Thanksgiving.
- Compare prices. There are a growing number of apps that let you scan bar codes to compare prices. But direct-comparison shopping isn’t always easy. Large retailers may apply their deepest discounts to items with a specific model number, which makes it difficult to do an exact comparison.
- Be loyal. Many stores have loyalty programs that offer exclusive sales to members and then let them earn rewards on their purchases. Signing up for Black Friday shopping alerts can give you an advanced notice on promotions, coupons and discounts.
- Create a budget. Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on your Black Friday shopping spree and stick to it. Do your best to resist impulse buying, especially if you’re not sure how good a deal really is.
- Get social. Your favorite retailers’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are a great way to learn about deals and promotions. Retailers will often reward customers who like or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts.
- Check store policies. Review the return and exchange policies in advance to make sure the store won’t charge a restocking fee for any items you return. Read the fine print, as some retailers may suspend their price-match guarantees during Black Friday weekend on certain items.