So its that time of the year again.
The annoying jingling everywhere, elevators’ music in every commercial, tons of promotions and catalogs stuffed in your mailbox, and the thought of the Black Friday coming.
What can you do about all that? How to deal with the shopping craziness that possesses us in November?
Well, here are some tips. These are all from my previous experience, and some are just the common sense that people seem to be losing when the shopping season starts.
1. Know what you want. That’s the basic. Don’t buy on impulse just because its shiny or seems to be cheap. You have to have a list of all the things you need, want, might need and might want, and only buy things from that list.
2. Research prices. During the Black Friday you won’t be able to think about it, compare prices, and consider if you can afford it. Because if you do – someone else will grab the thing you while you’re standing there doing your thinking. Do it now. For all the items on your list (from tip #1) – research prices, options, promotions, rebates, cashbacks, and taxes/shipping additions and savings now, so that when you come to the store you’re ready and will know exactly how much of a deal you’re getting (if at all).
3. Try. That’s true especially for clothes. Go to the store now, and measure things, try them in the fitting rooms, check that they fit well, you like how they look on you, that the things you want to buy will fit in your storage/room/kitchen/car, and generally will look as appealing as they do on the promotion cards for you. During the Black Friday shopping you won’t have chance for any of that. Fitting rooms will be full of people with hours long lines, and while you wait there you won’t be able to go somewhere else and will lose the precious time. If you know exactly which sizes for which clothes in which stores you need – all you’ll have to do would be get into the store, get the stuff you want with the correct sizes and colors, and get out, no time wasted.
4. Check the published deals – not every store publishes its deals, and not every deal is published. But checking the deals stores publish ahead of time may give you a sneak peak of what is going to happen. It will allow you not only estimating how many people will rush into that store, but also what else they might have in mind.
5. Consider buying now – you can return it later, but if you need something and you’re considering buying it during the Black Friday – consider buying it now. If you get a better deal later – you can return (verify the return policy and fees), but otherwise – you may get stuck with even higher prices later. Remember, some stores extend the return periods well into the next year during the shopping season.
6. Get help – have friends to go with you and share the load of standing in the lines to the cashiers and fitting rooms. Then (all of) you can do the shopping and stand in line at the same time, replacing each other at the post.
I’ll have more on this later, in the mean time – enjoy your shopping planning!