Is Pre-Black Friday shopping really worth it?
Pre-Black Friday sales arrive earlier each year, but how to spot a deal that gets your money’s worth?
Deals start as early as October
Big retailers on the market have already launched their Black Friday sales, such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart. Discounts on every item, from household appliances to videogames, have kicked off holiday season discounts. But that does not mean you should get running to their websites or the nearest shop.
Not all early discounts are actually good
With hundreds of appealing so-called deals being advertised to us every time we log on to our smartphones and laptops, it’s easy to get panicked and buy items on impulse. But are all these prices Black Friday quality? Not necessarily. There is still time to be selective and get the smartest deals out there.
Discounts get better as Black Friday approaches
Most deals advertised this early offer intermediate discounts. Prices are way better the closer we get to Black Friday. With shipping delays and increased logistical costs, is it worth waiting, even though retailers hope consumers start shopping early this year?
If you’re willing to buy products that are particularly advertised as “Black Friday-worthy” now, it can wait. Most early sale items have ample stock or limited interest among the majority of consumers, so they can afford to take a more cautious approach.
Global manufacturing trends show that some products that used to have huge demands in 2020 and early 2021, have reached a saturation point. That is the case for Chromebooks, for example. That means you should expect enough stock and no sellouts for certain items.
How to spot a good deal before Black Friday arrives?
If you do intend to shop early, look for retailers that have price-matching guarantees. For example, Best Buy and Target have policies that match holiday pricing, should the cost fall more than at the time of your purchase. Although that requires some follow-through from customers, it reduces stress and unnecessary spending. Best Buy will refund the difference for buyers automatically before November 26.
Some products might not have a solid decline on prices. They are most likely to have shortages, such as pandemic sought-after items, like game consoles. In that case, it is recommended that you buy them sooner if future availability is a concern. If you notice scarcity in items of certain categories, it is more than fair to purchase them earlier. If not, give yourself one or two days to think it over to avoid impulse buying.
Try and look for discounts on things you need
Make sure you have a shopping list. To avoid overspending at this season, separate your “wants” from your “needs”. You can write on a journal, take notes on your phone or try a checklist app.
It’s a good time to look for products you were already getting anyway. If they are discounted, you’ll save more money than you would at another time of the year.
Create a wishlist
Having a wishlist ready before the day of purchase is ideal to know when the prices on the items you want to buy drop. As we get closer to Black Friday, most websites will be flooded with sales on products you might not be interested in. Go straight for the items you have your eye on and avoid looking up one thing at a time.
Check the price history for the items on your list
Once you get the items you need down, set price alerts for them on different websites. That way, it’s easier to spot gimmicks and not so great deals. Some websites offer price histories for customer to follow through. Look them up on platforms such as Pricerunner, PriceSpy and CamelCamelCamel (Amazon only).
Subscribe to retailers’ newsletters
This is an easy way to stay on top of the latest discounts. Some of them have exclusive discounts for subscribers. To avoid flooding your personal email inbox, use a server that will keep them on a separate folder.
If you do find yourself wanting to buy an item that wasn’t on your shopping list, make sure to read the retailer’s returning policies. They are likely to change during the holidays. This is especially efficient for clothes, which may not fit the way you expected them to.
Beware of downgraded models
If you find discounts that seem too good to be true, make sure it’s a sale, not a downgraded item. Retailers may strip products of some of their features and sell them at a very low price. Before your purchase, look for all the features you need to make your experience worth it.
Only shop on secure payment websites
Consumers must shop on websites that protect their personal information with secure sockets layer (SSL) protection. SSL provides a safe and encrypted connection between the user and the website. That means that private data, such as your credit card information, is not compromised. Never enter your credit card number or any other private information on websites without it.
Look for reviews from other customers
While looking for the products you need, make sure to check the reviews from other consumers before making the final purchase. That way, it is more likely that you will avoid stress.
While shopping for electronics, know their lifecycles
Most tech items, such as smartphones, tablets and TVs are released on one-year cycles. Even though new releases from big companies are tempting to buy, last year’s models might still provide what you need, and are more likely to be on sale.
Black Friday is only the beginning of holiday shopping
If you can’t shop on November 26, you still have weeks to get the products you need. Cyber Monday is the next big opportunity for getting a good deal on a series of items, after the Thanksgiving weekend. This is the biggest online shopping day of the year in the US, and you still will get the discounts you are looking for.
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