Seasons greetings, retail revelers! It’s once again time for another Black Friday bonanza. Avoid the maddening crowds by shopping smart and staying sane.
This holiday season will be marked by even more cyber-shopping, where the smartest shoppers are sure to get the best deals. If you use the power of the Internet as your guide, you will live long and prosper.
Some 60% of U.S. shoppers will be taking advantage of Black Friday deals, spending an average of $300 each, according to Balboa Capital. Here are four things to keep in mind:
– 1 in 3 online shoppers will use cell phones for Black Friday purchases. But make sure the sites you’re dealing with are secure. You don’t want your credit card information stolen!
– 41% of retailers will use technology to enhance the shopping experience. By all means, search for sales from other retailers while you’re in the store, if you choose to go out at all. Check out Deal News or indivdual retailer sites for sales.
– In-store beacons can send special offers, reviews and advice to shoppers’ phones. These wireless advertising blasts send messages directly to your cellphone while you’re in the store. To get set up, download your retailers’ apps. If you are annoyed by this feature, don’t download the app!
– Retailers can change prices based on real-time demand and predictive behavior. Prices will change depending on sales volume, so don’t jump at the first deal you see. But you’ll have to be vigilant to get the best deal. You may have to wait until after the holiday.
Of course, all of these cyber-shopping strategies are designed to get you to buy more goods when the most-frenzied buying is taking place. This amped-up environment can get you into trouble, though.
How do you protect yourself? Here are three solid ways to avoid problems:
1) Have a budget for every person on your list. We tend to spend more on grandparents and kids, but you need an overall limit or else you’ll get into trouble.
2) Cover your bills. Once you have a budget, match it with your income for next month. In other words, don’t spend or charge more than your ability to pay cash for your shopping next month. Remember that balances rolled over into following months rack up finance charges.
3) Be patient. The best deals may not be offered on Black Friday. There’s always CyberMonday, the rest of December and January! Retailers want you to buy now, but you may see better deals later. There will be numerous sales after the first of the year.
I know this sounds like a cliche, but make a list and check it twice. Stick to your budget. Don’t think that you’ll miss out on anything if you sit out Friday and Monday. The most patient shoppers get the best deals.