Should You Wait Until Black Friday?

I must admit that I am guilty of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. While not a true trooper (I don’t spend the night), I do wake up super early and try to hit the stores shortly after they open. Basically this means that those $100 computers will be out of reach for me. But there are other deals to be had.The real question is whether it is worth waiting in line for the cheap computers, otherwise known as “doorbusters”. These doorbusters are deals that are too good to be true and are only available in limited quantities.Before the explosion of the internet and eBay in particular, regular folks actually had a chance at getting one of these good deals. After all, people in line were getting something for themselves. But now online auctioneers are out in droves on Black Friday. Getting a great deal on the Friday after Thanksgiving. If they can get a good deal and resell at a profit then why not wait in line?So what does that mean to the rest of us? Should we just give up or should we try and brave the crowds? What I have found is that the big ticket items with the biggest discounts are sold out quickly. But items of lesser value are more readily available later into the day. I usually find some great prices on technology media like memory cards, mini dv tapes, cd’s , dvd’s, and the like. Deals on clothing, and non-technology items are also easier to find.A little prep work goes a long way in getting what you want. Making a list ahead of time of the stores you want to visit, and the items that you plan to buy from each store is essential. Also deciding the order in which you will visit stores will help keep the morning organized and running smoothly – this is especially key if you are shopping with other people as they will have their own list of priorities.One little known secret is that many online retailers also try to get in on the hype and offer their own sales. So if you would rather shop from the comfort of home then hit the internet running and you may find a few steals while everyone else is at the mall. And this is even before Cyber Monday.As for me, I honestly enjoy the spirit of comraderie and competition that I find in the wee hours of the morning on the busiest of all shopping days. And the best part is heading out for a hot breakfast after we are completely tuckered out.

Holiday Shopping in a Tough Economy

In today’s tight economy, more consumers than ever are looking for alternative ways to stretch their Christmas shopping dollar. The key to saving money when shopping retail is to find the deals in advance and stick to your budget. With proper planning, you won’t be tempted to pay full price for any of your gifts.The early arrival of Black Friday this year offers consumers more time for holiday budget planning. It seems that the traditional day after Thanksgiving mega-deal day, has been turned into an entire season. Some stores started as early as Halloween with their ‘Black Friday’ savings.Along with Black Friday, shoppers can also look forward to Cyber Monday online shopping deals. Many websites list stores and their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for your convenience. When ordering online, many payment screens have a space to input a coupon code for additional savings. Many times, you can quickly pop onto a coupon forum website and find a valid coupon code. I did this recently when making airline reservations and ended up with an additional 10 percent savings. These same coupon sites also have printable coupons for in-store shopping trips.An additional way to save is to consider handmade or low cost gifts. With a little creativity and planning ahead, inexpensive gifts can become classic favorites.Small gifts for babysitters, gift exchanges, neighbors, and friends at work could include the following:Ornaments. Whether you make them or purchase them, ornaments are a perfect gift. Most women love new decorations for their tree, and the person who receives this gift will think of you every year when trimming the tree.Recipe Cards. A sweet personalized gift, you can use pretty recipe cards and write five or six of your favorite recipes on them. Leave the rest blank so they can be filled out by the receiver of the gift. Fabric and craft stores generally have decorative recipe cards and matching boxes for one or two dollars each.This gift can also be presented with one or more of the recipes (such as cookies or fudge) wrapped in a tin.Calendars. Target and other stores have cute calendars and planners in their dollar bins during this time of year. They are very attractive and practicalGift Baskets. Gift baskets are a perfect way to be both creative and personal. If your friend likes golf, put together a small basket using golf balls, tees, and a few homemade club covers. If they knit, give them a new pair of needles along with a few skeins of yarn. Another inexpensive gift basket for a couple could include two coffee mugs along with some hot cocoa or decorative tea.Other Gifts that could be given to family members or close friends:Quilts or throw blankets. If you like to sew, blankets are the perfect gift, especially for young people who have recently moved out on their own.Decorative pictures or framed photos. Use your computer and decorative fonts to print out motivational or meaningful quotes, poetry, or Bible scriptures and frame them. Frame favorite photos and give them as gifts to grandparents, aunts, or uncles.Aprons, potholders, or placemats. Depending on your sewing skills, these can be quick and inexpensive presents for loved ones who love to cook.There are many more, but these should spark your imagination. Christmas shouldn’t be something that you later regret because of overspending. This holiday season, make it a memorable, meaningful and stress free time.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

It was Thanksgiving evening, the turkey was almost done and I was looking at all the ‘Black Friday’ ads in my local newspaper. Not exactly what the pilgrims and Indians had in mind but there I was none the less. Best Buy’s ad caught my eye as they were having a special on a Western Digital External Hard Drive, 250 GB, for only $69.99. These things often sell for over $175 so I was impressed. I needed one to not only back up my web site,, but I could also use it for my families digital pictures and my music collection. Best Buy opened at 5 a.m. on Friday morning and I decided I would try to get there when it opened and make my move on this external hard drive.5 A.M. – What Was I Thinking??So I get there a little after 5 a.m. and what did I find but a line all the way around the Best Buy store of customers just waiting to get in. I thought this is crazy, I got out of bed in the dark for this? I contemplated getting in line for a total of 10 seconds, but my warm bed at home was so inviting that I fled the scene for some more sleep!Moral Of This Story?You may be asking what is the moral of this story? Well, it was an interesting learning experience because what I found out was that many of the people waiting to get into Best Buy were only going to turn around and sell their merchandise on ebay. I did a search on ebay right after ‘Black Friday’ and much to my surprise there were a ton of my Western Digital hard drives up for auction. And the good news is they were only selling for around $85 due to the increased supply. So essentially I could buy my hard drive for $15 more than what Best Buy was selling it for and I had to stand in line for a total of ZERO seconds. Now I do have to pay for shipping which is around $10, but it is still a lot less than the average retail price. Try this technique next year; you may be as surprised as I was.What Is ‘Cyber Monday’?Also, the Monday after Thanksgiving is now referred to as ‘Cyber Monday’ and is said to be one of the biggest online shopping days of the year as folks go back to work and use their “Free Time” to do some shopping on their computer. What I discovered was online retailers really picking up on this ‘Cyber Monday’ idea and have some amazing deals on their web site for one day only. Best, for example had some great online coupons and deals for flat screen TV’s and digital cameras. Also, I noticed that Lane had a 30% off coupon, a couple rare JCPenney coupons good for free shipping or 15% off, and there was an American Eagle Outfitters coupon good for 15% off, all of which were only available on Cyber Monday. I say next year sleep in on Thanksgiving weekend and do your shopping online in your PJ’s with a cup of coffee. Not only will you avoid the long lines and crowded parking lots but you may be amazed by the savings and coupons online retailers are handing out.© 2007, Kyle James

Black Friday – What You Should Know

Black Friday is a day we are all familiar with, some may not be familiar with the name, but it is that wonderful day of the year that people drag themselves out of bed for sales that start before daylight. You guessed it; it is the day after Thanksgiving sale. The term black Friday has its origins in the early twenties when this shopping day of massive frantic crowds was likened to the mass hysteria of the stock market crash of 1924. In later years, the term was used by police officers and pointed to the traffic jams and masses of people rushing the stores. It was not until recently that the term came to mean the day on which retailers were in the black or turning a profit. At any rate, it is one of the busiest days of the Christmas buying season and as such, retailers will have massive sales aimed at drawing crowds into the stores as early as four in the morning.In order to get into stores, people have been known to camp out overnight so they can be the first ones in. To make matters worse retailers will often only receive a limited number of big-ticket items that have been drastically reduced. This can lead to a free for all of people scrambling to get their hands on an item before they are sold out. There have been incidences of angry people turning violent to get the latest gadget or gizmo that there were only three of in the whole store. Barely controlled chaos is what many retail workers will call this day. Sounds like a whole lot of trouble for very little benefit if you ask me. Generally, I stay away from the store the entire day but one year I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. I found out that many of the items on my list were still available and on sale several hours after the initial rush and the items that were not there were very few and no chance of reaching the front of the line. Electronics were the worst, in our tiny department I bet there were nearly one hundred people all vying for one of five laptops that were on sale. Needless to say, that was the last year I got up at three in the morning to go shopping.With all the publicity and craziness people, tend to forget that there is another way to shop. Traditionally the Monday after Thanksgiving was thought to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, earning it the name Cyber Monday. This was probably because few people had broadband internet in the early part of 2000 so many would wait until returning to work after the holiday to do their online shopping. Things have greatly changed in the last few years and online retailers are now offering online sales on Thanksgiving Day! What could be better than relaxing at home with a hot cup of cocoa and doing your Christmas shopping in your pjs? That is a great start to the Christmas season if you ask me.

How to Shop on Black Friday 2009 Like a Pro

As Black Friday 2009 approaches, shoppers are gearing up. People are clipping ads, and maybe even getting out the camping tents in preparation for a night in the parking lot. If you don’t want to stand in line for five hours and come home empty handed, follow tips below to make you shop like a pro on Black Friday 2009.Step 1:Do the research. Websites posts black Friday ads weeks in advance. Know what is on sale and what you want to shop for, so you can pick your favorite stores. Pick a shopping mall that has multi stores of interest. Stores don’t open at the same time, thus make a plan to shop as the first wave at different stores.Step 2:Arrive early. You will still have to face a line but it won’t be nearly as long as it would be a couple of hours into the sale. If you arrive later, you might end up standing in the line for five hours, yet get nothing.Step 3:Plan the path. Go to your favorite store beforehand to find out where everything is, and plan the best path. The path has to start from the front door, to your most favorite department, second most favorite etc. Your organization will give you an advantage over other shoppers. Sometime, 10 seconds can help you grab the last available item.Step 4:Shop online. More and more stores begin to offer similar or even better deals online too. Check black Friday ads 2009 now, and you might end up grabbing a deal with your computer and have a good dream instead of standing in the line. Some stores won’t release the online deals until Thanksgiving night. Keep checking after your Thanksgiving dinner and you might have surprises.

Top 5 Black Friday Shopping Survival Tips

It’s the hugest, silliest and craziest shopping day of the year and it’s almost here. This time of year is exciting & thoroughly exhausting all at the same time. There will be aisles jammed with steal mongers and long lines leading to department stores’ cash registers to purchase those once a year bargains. Follow our top 5 survival tips for Black Friday shopping (you’re going to need this):1. Catalog and web plus size retailers (such as Woman Within and Roamans) do pay attention to both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so that usually means a whole weekend of great deals on plus size apparel. Watch for some amazing coupons as our insiders say this Black Friday will be spectacular! Visit Plus Size Steals for sale announcements.
2. Avoid midnight department shopping. Stores love to use sales starting at midnight as marketing stunts but often times those sales disappoint. We want to make sure we have a good night’s rest for early morning shopping.
3. Have a game-plan. Start by mapping out the store the day before Thanksgiving. Let’s say you’re looking for a limited stock 45 inch TV- it’ll be useful to know where the electronics department lives within the store.
4. Create a ‘grocery list’ of items that you’re targeting. Having a hand written list is always helpful with time management.
5. Bring friends. Shopping is a social experience so why not enjoy it with friends? Besides, you’ll need someone to complain to about the pushy people and long lines!Follow these tips and you’ll have a clear advantage on Black Friday.