Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US, is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, and in the past five years, some stores have even begun opening on Thanksgiving Day. Bargain shoppers can find items for the lowest prices they will be all year between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, but it is necessary to carefully plan your purchases and price match strategies during this long shopping weekend.
Preparing for Black Friday shopping
To find the best price of your desired items, do some comparison shopping using the ad circulars that retailers release in the weeks before Black Friday. Some Black Friday-centric websites also have low price finder search tools, so you can see where each item you are considering has the lowest price this year.
The best price on different items will likely be at different stores, and if the pricing is very low it will be considered a “doorbuster,” which is often available only in limited quantities. If you can split your shopping plans with someone else, you may be able to coordinate purchases at different stores so that you are buying items that you both need at each store and trade off purchases later.
Pay attention to pricing terms
It is usually not a good strategy to buy items on Black Friday with the expectation that you will later return what you do not want. Some items will be sold as final sale, meaning they cannot be returned. Other items, particularly electronics, which are very popular on Black Friday, may be subject to a restocking fee, often 15%, if you return them.
Mail-in rebates are also popular on Black Friday, so pay careful attention to the ads to see if a rebate is required to bring the purchase down to its advertised price. If the item has a rebate, make sure the effort to redeem the rebate is worth it to you, and keep track of original receipts and proofs of purchase to ensure you receive the rebate.
Also, check for time limits and deadlines on items listed on sale. You may find the lowest price of an item is only valid during a certain period of time and that it reverts to its normal price after this period has passed. Make sure that your shopping plan ensures that you will have time to pay for the item before the deadline.
Black Friday price matching policies
Many stores offer different price matching policies during Black Friday (or the entire Black Friday weekend) than they do during the rest of the year. Over the past decade, these policies have generally become more restrictive, meaning that a purchase a few years ago might have qualified for a price match but would not anymore.
Many major retailers, including Target, Walmart, and Best Buy, will not match prices on local competitors’ ads between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, though some will still match online prices of their own or certain competitors’ stores. You may have better luck getting a price match at a smaller local retailer.
Protect your purchase
Though prices are usually very low during Black Friday weekend, you might purchase an item not on sale by accident or an item that happens to experience a price drop soon after you purchase it. If this happens, an online shopping web app like Moolah will protect your purchase so that you can file a refund if the seller offers price protection. Think of your Black Friday shopping plan as a two-step process: find the cheapest price of an item you want to purchase, and then have that purchase protected and earn cash back if the price drops even more later.