Ah, the Holidays. A time for togetherness; for eating delicious food; for reflecting back on all we’ve accomplished throughout the year—and for shopping till we drop. While the 2013 Holiday shopping season isn’t expected to break any records, based on the more than 33 million people who will participate, and who will spend more than $500 billion, it is predicted to result in better than average numbers.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than one in four survey respondents claimed they will participate in the 2013 Black Friday shopping event. And if you’re one of them, how in the world can you remain in the Holiday spirit with so much competition? After all, you want to save some money too!
We understand. Just relax, take a deep breath, and remember the following:
1. Don’t Always Expect to Find the Best Deals
It’s no secret that the vast majority of “too good to be true” Black Friday deals come in extraordinarily limited supplies. In other words, if you’re hoping to score that 64” name brand LED TV for $100, or the latest children’s toy craze for 75% off, you should probably understand that there are only one or two in the store. And after they’re gone—which will be within seconds of opening their doors—you’ll be paying full retail price (or very close to it), just like everyone else.
In reality, most manufacturers and retailers begin discounting their goods after Black Friday has passed, many of which may continue into the new year. So if you don’t score the deal you were hoping for, keep in mind that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to save over the next few weeks.
2. Stick to Your Budget
This may seem like a no-brainer, but for many retailers, Black Friday represents a prime opportunity to use “bait and switch” tactics. After all, it’s early in the morning, emotions are running high, you’re psyched to find a great deal; which is something they know, and that they’ll use this to their advantage. In other words, these retailers will get you in the door based on one deal, and will then try to upsell you to a more expensive—and more profitable—product once you’re ready to buy. And if you consistently allow yourself to be drawn into these types of situations, you can blow through your Holiday budget fairly quickly.
Instead, it’s best to know how much you can afford to spend, and on whom, well in advance of walking into a store. A quick online search will reveal a wide variety of free budgeting tools, and even several mobile apps that you can update on the go while you’re running around like crazy.
3. Treat it Like an Extension of Thanksgiving
We know, we know; this has become an increasingly contentious issue, especially with the recent announcement that numerous large retailers are planning on keeping their doors open on Thanksgiving Day. But the truth is that over the last decade or so, Black Friday has slowly become less about scoring huge savings, than it has about venturing into the “wild,” and continuing a tradition of sorts. An increasing number of people-enjoy waking up at 4am, walking out the door in their pajamas, and seeing if they can win the retail lottery.
And if they don’t? That’s ok, because it’s often more about the social aspect anyway. Instead of looking at Black Friday as a competition, it might help keep you in the Holiday spirit by giving a stranger a warm smile, and remembering all we have to be truly thankful for.
What are your thoughts on Black Friday shopping? Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Don’t be a scrooge; let us know!
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