Around 76 million Americans will shop in stores or online this Black Friday–to score great deals on electronics, toys, and more. Many will even start their shopping right on Thanksgiving.
Approximately 44 percent of adults brave the crowds in the hopes of scoring a great deal. And consumers may spend over $13 billion in a single day, similar to previous years.
But while companies advertise once-in-a-lifetime sales, Black Friday may not really be all that special. In fact, retailers will often go to great lengths to convince you that you’re getting a bargain so you’ll spend more money.
Black Friday myths and tricks
If you want to better manage your spending and choose your purchases wisely, here are a few Black Friday myths you should be aware of before shopping.
1. Avoid the fear of missing out (FOMO)
Retailers prey on consumers’ FOMO to encourage them to spend more. Companies will latch on to the idea of scarcity and urgency by advertising one or two “doorbuster” deals.
And while these deals will often sell out within minutes, that’s usually because they only stocked a handful of discounted products in the first place. And while you may not get that exact model, you can likely get a comparable version for the same price.
Moreover, if there’s an in-demand item, stores go out of their way to keep them in stock. So if they sell out on Black Friday, they will likely restock as soon as possible to take advantage of the rest of the holiday shopping season.
2. Be wary of limited editions
It’s amazing how many “limited edition” products get released in time for Black Friday. But if you take a closer look, you may find that limited edition set is not as exclusive as you originally thought.
Many limited edition sets are items that are available all year round, with the addition of a small novelty item.
For example, a dish set that retailers sold in August will become a “limited edition” offering with the addition of a plastic napkin ring. Or maybe they’ll package makeup brushes with a cheap primer as a special holiday package.
Toy stores often go even further. For instance, action figures and other toys often have small additions like a new accessory or sticker and the stores market them as an exclusive collectible.
Overall, be aware that limited editions are often not limited at all. They are usually available before and after Black Friday for purchase anyways. Therefore, it’s often worth skipping the special offer to get the best price after the shopping frenzy.
3. That great price has a disclaimer
It’s easy to get sucked in by glossy ads boasting high definition televisions at a huge discount.
That’s because stores tout their Black Friday deals and prices as the cheapest ever. But while that is technically true, there’s a small disclaimer you should know.
The reason the prices are the “lowest ever” is usually because the stores are trying to get rid of last year’s models to make way for new, more expensive versions. That low price on a television or laptop is because it’s the 2015 model, not the latest one.
While Black Friday’s prices may be the lowest yet, the pricing is likely to stay the same until all of last year’s stock is gone.
Therefore, there’s no need to rush out and snag merchandise off the shelves. Do your research and select your purchases carefully before braving the aisles for Black Friday deals.
Scoring Black Friday deals
If you enjoy Black Friday shopping, it can be a great way to kickstart or finish off your holiday shopping.
However, there are many Black Friday myths and tricks retailers use to manipulate you into buying more. By understanding their tactics, you can shop a lot more effectively.
4. Make a list and check it twice
Many people end up getting sucked into the excitement and crowds and grabbing up Black Friday deals, regardless if they really wanted the items or not.
Plenty of people head home with televisions or electronics they never intended to buy, but the offer seemed too good to pass up. Unfortunately, that’s a surefire way for overspending and ending up with buyer’s remorse.
Instead, check out the ads ahead of time and think about what gifts and items you really want to purchase. Write down what you intend to buy and stick to your list in the store.
That way, when you get tempted by a $10 rice cooker or other doorbusters, your list can remind you to stay on track and within budget.
5. Don’t forget about price matching
Price matching can save you the time and effort of having to drive to multiple stores.
Check out ads for a range of stores and bring them with you while you shop. While some stores have odd requirements about price-matching guarantees, others are very lenient.
For example, Walmart has one of the most generous price-match promises around. If you buy a lot of items at Walmart, but find other stores have better prices on some items, Walmart will typically honor competitor’s pricing, saving you a trip in the process.
6. Stretch your budget
Black Friday can be a great way to stock up on wardrobe basics and other must-have items. Besides getting great gifts, you can also purchase essentials for yourself and your family.
Take advantage of the sales and stretch your budget by using discounted gift cards. Buying secondhand gift cards can give you an additional 10 to 30 percent off sale prices.
Spend wisely on Black Friday
It’s easy to get carried away with holiday shopping on Black Friday.
However, make sure you’re getting as great of a deal as you think you are. Do some research ahead of time, narrow down your shopping list, and compare offers to ensure you get the best Black Friday deals possible.
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