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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Black Friday Planning Tools

Day 298

For my Black Friday planning, I use bfads.net. It's free and easy to use. Continuing from yesterday's post, planning is the key to successful Black Friday shopping. Here are some of the features that will help you plan:

  • Sale ads are released early. You can look at scans of the ads or a line by line list. You can start getting an idea what the "hot" items will be.
  • Stores open at many different times, midnight, 4 a.m., even some as late at 6a.m. There is a great a "Store Opening" section dedicating to organizing opening times.
  • As you scan through each ad, you have the option to add items to your own shopping list which will remain organized by store. Excellent feature! Printable, too!
  • There are many good articles featuring comparisons and reviews. I find I can get a bit confused, especially in the electronics arena, and a little time spent in these articles has helped enormously. Showing up at KMart on Black Friday morning and not knowing which megapixel you want will lead to disaster. 
  • Online shopping is huge and it's all covered here. From ongoing "hot deals" most days to Cyber-Monday (the Monday following Black Friday, but that's another article), bfads.net will guide to in your online shopping complete with a timeline. 
  • New this year: There's an app for that! I haven't tried it yet but I see an iPhone app available, not sure about an Android app yet.
What will you be shopping for? Here's the thing, if you have kids, my experience has been that the Christmas list will change many, many times between now and Christmas Eve. I'm not even sure we know what this year's "Cabbage Patch Doll" (hot toy of the year) will be. For this reason:
Know the store return policies.
Every store is different, ranging form a week to return to forever. For most, there is a more generous return policy for the holidays. If something appears to be "hot" you may consider buying early and returning if a better deal comes up. Beginning now, keep your receipts together and organized. It will help with returns and all be a visual aid that your purchases are possibly ramping up too much. I use a simple envelope kept on my counter. As this envelope begins to bulge, I know to take stock. I tend to hide my purchases in different areas and leave them in bags. I have had to revive my husband in past years when the actual mountain of gifts is revealed. 
Just because it's a good deal it doesn't mean you need it. 
But it was only $299! As my husband reminds me, this does not mean we need, or even want another television. Retailers create a frenzy with ads blazing super-low prices and electronics are favorites. I have even entered a store with no intention of buying a television but when I see a crowd of people grabbing for them, suddenly I want one, too. Beware: some Black Friday deals have a fine-print disclaimer: return it and pay a re-stocking fee, especially true with electronics. 
But, maybe you do need it!
If I am feeling like we really could use another television, dvd player, small appliance, etc., I definitely wait until Black Friday if I can. Even though not technically a gift, prices are very good and worth the wait. This is where planning is key. Know what you need and plan around it. The better your plan, the better your chances of avoiding frenzy purchases.
Examples of my frenzy purchases:
DVDs: We rarely watch DVDs except to rent one yet if I see a crowd grabbing for movies, I want some, too.
Small Appliances: Cake Pop Machine. Enough said.
Fleece Blankets: Sound like such a steel at $5 but we have more than we could ever use.
Popcorn Tins: Don't eat it. Don't need the tin. Buy them anyway. Weird.

If you are not sure what you will be gifting, perusing bfads.net can also be a source of inspiration. According to TIME: $2 Billion in gift cards will go unused in 2012. I know that gift cards are the go-to gift but those figures are shocking. Makes me realize that I can put a little more thought in my gift selections now and hopefully snag a great deal. 

That's it for today, more later!

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