The race is on to be first in line for this year’s best deals on holiday gifts: Black Friday is almost here. Every year, the stores open earlier in the wee hours of the morning, some even open at midnight after Thanksgiving Day, while other stores start the Black Friday sales on Turkey Day itself. If you’re going to get up that early (on a day off, no less), it is important to be prepared.
Don’t let the Black Friday rush get you down. Follow these tips to keep your day light on stress and heavy on deals.
- Determine a budget and stick to it. This will help you avoid impulsive spending in the heat of the moment. Do not forget to factor the costs of gift wrap and postage into your budget.
- Make a gift list. Create a list of all of the people that you need to purchase presents for. Include extra hostess gifts for last-minute invitations to holiday parties. That way, you won’t get home and realize you’ve forgotten someone.
- Compare prices online before heading out. Find out where to go to get the best prices on the items you want. That way, you can go to those stores first and avoid wasting time at several stores–or worse, missing deals!
- Pay with cash. Credit cards make it easy to overspend. Lock up the cards and pay using old-fashioned greenbacks. If you want to pay with credit to take advantage of rewards, be disciplined and put aside the cash to cover the credit charges. Don’t charge more than you can pay off immediately.
- Do not disregard discount stores. Stand-alone discount stores often offer the same merchandise as the major retailers but at a much-reduced cost.
- Buy group gifts for couples or families. A boxed set of DVD’s is a wonderful gift for a family to enjoy together. Give a couple a bottle of wine with a gift certificate to a restaurant. This saves you from having to find multiple gifts and gives the recipients an excuse to spend some quality time together.
- Outlet centers offer great bargains. Before starting your shopping, stop in at the office of the center to see if there are coupons on offer for extra savings.
- Craft stores have wonderful gifts at great prices. These stores offer more than just cute little crafting supplies; Check here for beautiful vases and accessories. Look online and in the newspapers for coupons and the savings can be tremendous.
- Warehouse clubs offer finds and deals beyond just bulk items. Discover electronics, toys, clothes and jewelry at discounted prices that make it worth joining the club.
- Buy in bulk for extra savings. If there are a lot of parties to attend or clients to share the season with, consider buying a case of wine or candy. It doesn’t matter if you’re giving everyone the same gift if that gift is great.
- Be prepared for the huge crowds. Make sure that the items you are looking to purchase are worth the hassle of fighting the masses to get the price you are looking for.
- Buy intelligently. Some items tend to be better deals than others on Black Friday. See the list below to make sure you’re spending time and money on the best deals.
Best Items To Buy
Sure, there are lots of sales on Black Friday, but what should you buy? There’s no sense rushing to find a deal on something that isn’t on sale. For the best deals, shop for these items.
- HDTVs: TVs are a hot item and everyone is looking for the thinnest and largest screens with all of the extras. Black Friday is not the day to get discounts on the cream of the crop, but great deals are available on LCD models and even some thinner LED TVs. You’re most likely to find discounts on lesser-known name brands, so plan ahead and do research on which brands are likely to have TVs that meet your needs.
- Laptops, tablets and e-readers: Although you may not find deals on the highest powered laptop, tablet or reader, this is still a good day to shop. Look out for older models and off brands. These could be the perfect gifts for people who do not require tons of memory or children.
- Smartphones: Free or very low-cost smartphones with new contracts will be available. As long as you are not looking for the newest of the new, you’ll find great phones.
- Game systems, Video games and DVDs: With new gaming systems coming out, there will be deals on the older models. While you’re in that department, look for gaming accessories and DVDs. Those should be on sale, too.
- GPS systems: Because smartphones now have GPS and navigation built, the costs for standalone GPS devices are dropping. Find fantastic sale prices on GPS devices, the perfect gift for someone who has not quite mastered the smartphone yet.
For more great holiday gift ideas visit YourHolidayHints.CBSLocal.com!MORE NEWS: 'Stay Home If You Can': Wolf Administration Urges Pennsylvanians To Stay Off Roads
Carol Ruth Weber began her career as a Theatrical Costume and Set Designer and segued into the world of Interior Design. As an interior designer she has twenty-eight years of experience in all phases of the business. You can read more of her work on Examiner.com and she can also be contacted at WeberLifeDesign.