For some families, preparing for Black Friday is as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as pumpkin pie or oyster stuffing. If this sounds like your family, you know that sales are launching earlier each year, so now’s the time to get your plan together. Or, maybe this is the year you start a new tradition and do your shopping online. No matter how you shop, here are some practical ways to save a bundle in the days following your big turkey dinner.
Anymore, instead of covering the floor with ad circulars or catalogs, savvy shoppers are using their smartphones or tablets to make their shopping lists. Apps and online ads are a great way of understanding the details of the deals, and they give you the advantage of checking out some reviews, too. For instance, you may think that TV is a steal but that low price is for the lowest-quality plasma TV you can buy. Suddenly, that great deal isn’t that great after all. https://blackfriday.com/mobile
Your smartphone isn’t just handy for wish lists; there are also apps for price matching. Wal-Mart, Amazon and Smoopa apps will check out the best deals for you with a quick barcode scan. Can’t find your store on the app list? It doesn’t hurt to check out the price match policies of the stores before going in so you’ll know what to expect or what questions to ask.
Waking up early – and then going right back to sleep – on the morning of Black Friday is made all the better by knowing that three days later you can get similar, or even better, deals on Cyber Monday. Last year we did all our holiday shopping online and in our pajamas and didn't have any lines to stand in. We’re planning to do the same this year.
Just like the brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers will be announcing their deals early to get customers excited (and give you the chance to compare prices). Browser extensions like Honey http://www.joinhoney.com will search the Web for promotion or coupon codes for you, but it never hurts to stop by the RetailMeNot website. You can save some money or get free shipping with these codes so don’t check out until you swing by. http://www.retailmenot.com/
No matter where or how you do your holiday shopping, don’t forget to establish a budget beforehand. Savings are only savings if the purchase is planned and accounted for in your monthly spend, and you’ll also do right by your wallet if you make a list of gift ideas (and check it twice) so you don’t waste time with distractions or succumb to any impulse buys.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.