Friday, November 1

6 Steps to Making the Most Out of Black Friday Sales

We have all seen our share of holiday chaos on Black Friday where people push, scream and trample over each other in order to get the "best" deals. The holiday event has even made it to the big screen. "Jingle All the Way" is a holiday comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as two fathers frantically shopping for one special toy both of their sons desperately want for Christmas. What ensues is approximately two hours of Christmas shopping madness.

The reality is, this film is surprisingly close to the real-life experiences of Black Friday for millions of Americans. Black Friday has become synonymous with holiday chaos, as thousands of shoppers actually camp out the night before in front of their favorite department store. In a single day, consumer spending on Black Friday reached $52.4 billion in 2011, CNN reports. Follow these six tips to avoid Black Friday chaos and get the gifts you want for the holidays.

1. Scout out the Deals

Most of the deals this year will be released weeks before Black Friday in a media explosion. For instance, the deals on Black Friday at JC Penney will be displayed weeks before on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Research where the sales are and list your priorities, compare prices and draw up an action plan. Build up your coupon arsenal before you step into the retail store. Keep everything organized neatly in a binder.

2. Get You Reward Cards Ready

Having a reward card is a big advantage on Black Friday. Since you are going to be spending money anyway, why not get some of that money back into your pocket? Be sure to check with each credit card to see if there are special awards or points to be won if you use your card on Black Friday.

3. Look for QR Codes

In case you don't know, QR codes are black and white patches of randomly patterned squares. QR stands for quick response, and these codes were developed for print and online ads. For the purpose of Black Friday, these codes will let you know special offers and BBB Business reviews. You will need to install a QR reader app on your smartphone so your phone will be able to read the codes. After that, it is pretty simple: you fit the code into the lens of your phone, let the red line run up and down, and in a few seconds, you will be able to view your special Black Friday deal.

4 Check Exchange and Return Policies

The rules can change for Black Friday deals, and returns should not be taken for granted. Make sure you know what the return and exchange policy is on your Black Friday deal. Some deals are final sales, have a very short return window or offer in-store credit only, so do your homework.

5. Shop Safely

Remember what happened to Arnold and Sinbad's characters once they forgot the meaning of Christmas? Bad things. Getting a big deal is important, but it is not worth putting yourself at financial or physical risk. Shop safely by taking your time, and formulate an attack plan with a maximum number of hours. Be sure to get plenty of breaks when you need them, and drink lots of water. Also, a great way to ease the stress of Black Friday is to:
  • Make a priority list, including which stores you plan to visit and in what order.
  • Brings friends along for the ride, possibly taking two different cars to cover more ground.
  • Keep the receipts, and keep them organized in case you need to return things.

6. Don't Neglect the Internet on Cyber Monday

Don't neglect online deals for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. As much as 50 percent of today's gifts are bought online, The Washington Post reports. Make a list, and stick to it, keep an eye out for coupons and get on early for the best deals on Monday.
      

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