Pre-Holiday Shoppers Be Wary

Are you looking for the best deals on holiday gifts by shopping before or on Black Friday for the insane sales? Well retail stores are looking for you too, and they want you to buy even if the price isn’t right.

Many holiday shoppers get so hyped-up about saving money that they lose their judgment and jump on the first advertised sale, purchasing most everything on their list, (and some things that are not on their list). They don’t take into account that a few weeks after Black Friday sales continue and some are more fruitful. To ensure a successful shopping expedition use these helpful tips to find the best possible prices and deals before, on and after Black Friday.

Know when to hold off: Don’t be hasty when it comes to buying gifts. Sometimes it pays to wait things out; be patient because many items can drop as much as 50% as Christmas fast approaches. Remember, shopping doesn’t end on Black Friday, and the retailers are well aware of that, so in order to keep people buying they have to entice them with additional offers and bonuses.

Avoid impulse sales shopping online: Facebook and Twitter will be all the rage when it comes to advertising “limited-time” deals online. As Amazon did with their “Lightening Deals” last holiday season, retailers will flash special announcements on sales and offer coupon codes to those who “like” their pages on Facebook. These supposedly one-time-only-sales will stream across Facebook and Twitter pages beguiling innocent shoppers.

It’s a marketing ploy that catches many by surprise, and in that moment shopping madness takes over and they buy without thinking, which is exactly what the retailers want. To be fair, some of these deals are excellent but they may not be the best possible deals so don’t buy impulsively. They also lead to buying just because it’s a good deal. A great deal may pop up but if you don’t need the product, don’t buy it just because it seems like a unbelievable price.

Understand Return Policies: This is an underrated point but a big deal. Family members and friends give special gifts to one another but they may not be the right gifts, say a digital camera that doesn’t have all the features needed to take certain shots. It’s a simple mistake, but can you return that camera for a new one? Some stores only allow thirty days to return gifts and Black Friday is 29 days from Christmas, leaving one day to return the gift.

There are other elements to also consider when returning items. If shipping is involved then sometimes it’s at the buyer’s expense; there could be restocking fees, and seasonal items may only be refunded at clearance prices. There’s usually a laundry list of exceptions and it can get confusing, especially when you find out the return policy on electronics may be different than the policy for appliances.

The main thing is to keep your guard up. Even in the quiet of your own home retailers will be striving to get you to buy, employing new tricks on Facebook and other outlets. But don’t get duped into buying unless you are absolutely prepared and have thought out your shopping strategy.

About the Author

The following post is from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.