By: Andrea Woroch
Despite the push to start Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving, midnight Friday is about the earliest most shoppers are willing to hit the stores. Even midnight is pushing it for many of us, though Gap and Old Navy are doing their best to get people shopping on Thanksgiving Day.
If you’re the type who can’t resist a “doorbuster” bargain, you’re more likely to get true deals if you heed our advice and avoid the following seven Black Friday pitfalls.
1. Just Because It Says “Sale”…
…doesn’t mean it’s really a sale. For example, many stores are advertising blockbuster prices on the Kindle e-reader, but check with Amazon and you’ll find there’s no difference between the regular and so-called “sale” prices. Do a bit of research before you leave home by comparing the prices between clicks and bricks.
Do you fall into the frenzy of Black Friday? Everyone is grabbing and it’s so easy to feel you might miss out on a good thing. Remember that list people always tell you to make before heading out? Well stick to it!
3. Not Checking for Quality
Many sale items are of substandard quality. Clothes are a particular example this season, as the increased cost of cotton drove manufacturers to use less of the popular raw material. Many hems aren’t properly finished, sleeves are shorter than normal, and manufacturers are using gathered seams to save on fabric. Consumer electronics also are subject to this syndrome. Look carefully before you buy.
4. Ignoring Coupons
There’s a reason the Thanksgiving newspaper is the fattest of the year. All those fliers contain some really juicy coupons. If you don’t receive a paper or are looking for extra deals, check the Black Friday page of CouponSherpa.com for offers from your merchants.
5. Comparing Apples to Oranges
Naming no names, but some big-box stores order electronics and appliances with a slightly different model name or number, so you can’t comparison shop properly. If you want to price check an item, compare features, and not model numbers.
6. Forgetting About Extras
One of the best examples here is the computer printer. Manufacturers like to offer printers at what look like blazingly great prices. Unfortunately, the printer ink or toner will cost the gift recipient more than the printer cost you. The same goes with batteries for larger toys and electronics.
7. Setting Your Sites on Freebies
Babies R Us is offering a free $10 gift card on toy purchases of $75, leading you to add enough items to your basket until you’ve hit the magic $75 mark. Express gives you $25 in Express Cash when you spend $50, which means you’ll likely spend more than the $25 on other purchases. Sometimes free isn’t really free.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert, featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.