Black Friday is synonymous with chaotic shopping experiences, but that didn’t stop 130 million Americans from turning out last year, and this year could be even bigger. Between the busy aisles and rapidly dwindling inventory, it’s easy to just toss something in your cart and head for the checkout. But that might not be the best move for your budget.
Black Friday price tags aren’t always what they seem. Here are five assumptions you shouldn’t make while you’re out shopping.
Stores do their best, but it’s possible a retailer might incorrectly list an item’s sale price on the shelf or fail to update its records to include the new sale price. So what you see on the sign and what you pay at the checkout could be totally different.
You can avoid this by making a note of the listed price and verifying how much you’re charged for it at the register. If there’s a difference, bring it to the attention of the cashier so you don’t overpay for the item.
I once remember purchasing a dress online for $50. A few days later, I wound up on the same site again while it was running a sale and saw the dress I’d previously purchased listed for $40. But what was interesting was that the company now listed the “original” price for the dress as $60.
Companies sometimes do this to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal than you actually are. But you can avoid falling for this marketing trick by doing a little scouting in advance of Black Friday. Make a note of what the actual prices are for the items you’re interested in so that when the sale prices are announced, you know exactly what kind of savings you’re getting.
Black Friday is known for its great deals, but many retailers continue to offer specials throughout the holiday season because they know people are shopping for gifts. You might find coupons or other exclusive savings later that could make the item more affordable than just paying the Black Friday sale price.
If you’re on the fence about buying a certain item, consider holding off and monitoring the price to see if it drops further. Or check out other retailers to see if you can find it at a more affordable price elsewhere.
Doorbuster deals are products priced much lower than average to draw in customers. But often, these deals are only available for a few hours or while supplies last. If you don’t get there in time, you may not get the deal.
If you’re worried about this happening to you, it’s best to wake up early and plan your shopping strategically. Go for the highest-value items first before moving on to less important items on your list.
Even if something is a great deal, that doesn’t mean it’s always worth buying. Think about whether you really need the item first. And consider whether there are more affordable alternatives that could give you the same benefit.
Doing this will help you get the items you need without draining your checking account. And if Black Friday doesn’t turn up the deals you were hoping for, there’s always Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
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