Tuesday, 1 October 2019

As time-honored a tradition as turkey and stuffing, post-Thanksgiving sales have found their way into the hearts (and wallets) of families across the country.

When the feast and football games are over, shoppers set out in anticipation of the coming holiday season and looking for deals.

On Black Friday, the budget-minded and brave embark on midnight missions to malls and department stores, looking for the best deals on everything from stocking stuffers and the year's hottest toys to big-ticket items like flat-screen televisions.

And thanks to Cyber Monday, anyone can join in the holiday shopping excitement and score great deals without ever leaving the comforting glow of the laptop.

But whether you join the crowds in the malls or online, you need a plan of attack and some savvy shopping tips.

Here are five tips to shop like a pro this Black Friday:

  1. Make a list of must-haves and stick to it. In order to save the most money, let your list dictate what you purchase on Black Friday and avoid impulse buys.
  2. Scout early for the best deals. Look now for online versions of Black Friday circulars and sales. Waiting until Thursday's paper arrives to look for deals can leave you far behind much more seasoned shoppers.
  3. Do your research and compare prices. With your well-made list and advanced knowledge of on-sale items, you can research the products before you shop. 
  4. Prioritize and map out your Black Friday driving route. Group items by store and then decide which ones have the most must-have items. Compare the opening hours and locations to figure out which stores you should visit first.
  5. Get social. Follow your favorite retailers and big-box stores on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for special promotions. Some retailers will offer deals or discounts for "likes" on Facebook and Twitter. Also, some retailers announce markdowns and price-drop alerts via Pinterest.

And here are five Cyber Monday shopping tips:

  1. Watch the web address. Make sure the website offering the unbelievable bargain isn't a fake. Check the URL of the website. A secure site will have a URL that starts with "https://" and includes a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
  2. Be on guard. Make sure your laptop's antivirus program is up-to-date. Be wary when a website requests sensitive information, like your Social Security number, and don't make purchases on public PC terminals. Another tip: pay by credit card to take advantage of the extra protection these cards tend to offer consumers against fraud.
  3. Remember your budget. Make a budget and and keep track of spending. It's easy to lose track of how much you have spent when you aren't actually taking money out of your wallet in a checkout line.
  4. Take advantage of online coupon codes. Check sites such as RetailMeNot or coupons.com for discount codes on your wish-list items.
  5. Don't wait until Monday. Start checking websites the week of Thanksgiving for special deals and grab them if you can. Sometimes if you wait until Monday, that must-have pair of boots may already be out of stock.

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