While it might seem like only yesterday that you were giving out candy for Halloween, at this point, we’re deep in the throes of the holiday shopping season. And that means Black Friday will be here before we know it.
Not only that, but up to 81.4% of Thanksgiving Weekend shoppers make purchases on Black Friday. So if you’re hitting the stores, anticipate large crowds to go along with those sales.
That said, some of the “sales” you’ll see on Black Friday aren’t actually such great deals. And it’s important to not fall into that trap. Here’s how savvy Black Friday shoppers can distinguish true deals from gimmicks.
It’s common for retailers to partner up with manufacturers to have electronics made specially for Black Friday. These items are commonly produced with inferior components to allow them to be marked down significantly.
If you want to make sure you’re not getting a lower-quality version of the laptop or TV you think you’re buying, check the model number. If you can find it all over the place at other stores, it means a given retailer really is slashing its price. If you can’t find it elsewhere, it means it’s an item produced specifically for Black Friday. From there, you’ll need to decide if the lower price is worth potentially compromising on quality.
It’s not just electronics that are commonly produced for Black Friday purposes only. Other items, from toys to games to kitchen gadgets, may fall under that umbrella, too.
A good way to know if you’re getting a Black Friday-only item or not is to see if it’s available at other stores. If not, then it’s probably a one-time run. However, unlike electronics, you’re taking less of a risk in the context of things like kids’ toys and games.
Let’s say you’re buying your child a slime kit for $24.99. So what if it’s only produced for Black Friday? It’s hardly a long-term investment like a TV or laptop might be. The only reason you should care is in the context of price. So if you’re getting a slime kit that can only make 12 jars for $24.99 and there’s a kit for $29.99 that can make 24 jars, the latter is the better deal. (Of course, one can argue that there’s no such thing as a good deal on slime because it’s such an annoying mess, but it tends to make kids happy.)
Retailers tend to employ the tactic of artificial markups on Black Friday. What they’ll do is inflate the price of a given item and then discount it, so it looks as if there’s a big sale happening.
To avoid falling into this trap, research prices for the items you want ahead of Black Friday. If you’re eyeing a certain toy for your child, see what it costs 10 days before the big event. That way, if, come Black Friday, you see it marked down from $49.99 to $24.99, you might look at your notes and discover that the original price was actually $34.99.
Of course, in this context, you’re still getting a deal. You’ll just need to decide if it’s a good enough deal, or if you should seek out that item elsewhere.
There are some good deals to be had on Black Friday. But a lot of the so-called sales you’ll see advertised are not the bargains you’d expect them to be. Do lots of careful research to protect your personal finances and avoid regretting your purchases after the big event.
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