After the turkey, the football, and the one awkward conversation with your cousin that happened to get stuck at the card table with you at the end of the big Thanksgiving table, comes the second holiday during Thanksgiving week called Black Friday. The day’s name originated in Philadelphia where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term began by 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or “in the black.” (source: Wikipedia)
People often ask me if Black Friday really offers good deals. I have always responded with the answer, “It depends”. The reason is that if you aren’t careful with your shopping you could end up paying the same prices you would have paid for merchandise on a non Black Friday day of shopping. Here are some key things to watch out for if you venture out at 4 a.m. on Friday morning.
- Some discount or department stores may display a special “Black Friday” sale price on an item they discount that in actuality is not a lower price than the normal sale price they put on the item. It is entirely possible that the price they are showing is also the lowest price they have ever offered for an item, but there are other stores in town that offer a cheaper price on the same item. Make sure you know what price is really a good price.
- Since stores often draw you in by giving some ridiculous advertising prices on a few items that they stock with a low amount of inventory, be careful not to become an impulse buyer. Once you are in a particular store, you can easily be tempted to just tell yourself to ‘get it done’, and make bad purchases by buying items you really don’t need.
- Depending on the particular store, they may have off season or overstocked inventory that they are trying to get rid of during the holiday season. Keep your eyes open if there in a new model or upgraded version being released very soon. You might end up paying a lower price on Black Friday, but since a new release is around the corner you could wait 60 to 90 days and get the discounted price anyway.
- Be careful about the warranty pitch. Since electronics will be very hot this season, it is also easy to feel like you got a really good deal on the product so the $69 warranty seems like a good deal as well. Rarely will you see a Black Friday markdown on extended warranties. Make sure you separate the purchase of the electronic product and the warranty itself.
- Use a scanner app on your phone. This is going to be the easiest way to comparison shop on the internet. I recommend at least taking a second look on the internet with so many holiday deals around free shipping. Remember that FREE shipping day is on December 18th at www.freeshippingday.com.
Most of all, have fun if are going to brave the crowds on Black Friday. Part of the shopping experience is to enjoy friends and family, but most important enjoy the people watching! Go to www.oxygenfinancial.net to request a consultation with the leading personal financial advice experts for Generation X and Y in the country.