Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts continue to beckon shoppers with the promise of bargains galore, but great deals can escape you if you don’t do your homework before crunch time. Avoid mistaking not-so-hot prices for fantastic savings, or you could wake up after the excitement fades and realize you’ve overpaid. You don’t have to do your own comparison pricing to make sure the deals are really good. Black Friday websites and shopping apps will do a lot of the work for you, and retailers are happy to help by sending out deal alerts. Here are six tips to help you score the best prices of the year during the Black Friday rush.
Do your homework early.
Prepare like a shopping pro and scan the print and online ads the weekend before Thanksgiving. Compare pricing at retailers Best Buy, BJ’s, Costco, Dell, Target, and Walmart to scout out the best Black Friday deals. Also keep an eye out for leaked ads on Black Friday websites such as BFAads.net, BestBlackFriday.com, DealNews, GottaDeal and TheBlackFriday.com. There are dozens of these websites that will alert you to deals if you sign up with them.
Let websites and apps do the heavy lifting.
Track multiple retailers using websites such as Google Shopping as well as services PriceGrabber, Pricewatch, and Shopzilla. Many of these websites as well as major retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart offer their own shopping apps. With Amazon’s mobile app, you can compare prices online by scanning products with your smartphone camera. Try other smartphone apps such as BuyVia, Shopkick, ShopSavvy, and Shopular to scan bar codes or QR codes. It’s a quick way to compare prices, get coupons and score discounts. Check out the Consumer Reports website for their product ratings. You’ll find for lists of current prices from multiple retailers for.
Stores offer loyalty programs to encourage you to shop with them. Signing up for a store’s loyalty program can make you eligible to earn rewards on what you buy. Stores often reward members with first crack at sales and promotions. Get on the list for Black Friday shopping alerts and you’ll be the first to hear about coupons, discounts and promotions. Some retailers will save you money on shipping by alerting you to whether your purchase is eligible for picking up at the store after buying online. You may even be able to find out if the product you want is in stock.
Follow your favorite retailers on social media for info on their promotions and exclusive deals. Like them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you may be rewarded with alerts to their Black Friday incentives.
Know the fine print before you go.
Check out a store’s return and exchange policies before you make that Black Friday purchase. You’ll want to know if the store charges a restocking fee for items you bring back. Read the fine print to see if a store is temporarily discontinuing any price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend. The popularity of price matching specific online and in-store deals has been growing steadily, and more retailers are expected to price-match this year. Almost all the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, but don’t count on it without checking.
Start tracking prices now.
It’s not too early to start following prices with Black Friday fast approaching. Black Friday now extends into a whole month of deals and savings, and Cyber Monday lasts for an entire week of specials online. Expect to see updated prices from online retailers throughout the sales extravaganza.