Shopping the after Thanksgiving Black Friday sales is a tradition that stretches back to the early 1970s. While the original phrase “Black Friday” was a not-so-nice term coined by the Philadelphia Police Department to describe the mob of post Thanksgiving Day shoppers, since the 1980s Black Friday took on new meaning as a huge sales day for retailers. It’s on this day that retailers start to show a sales profit, or go into the “black.”
While there’s no denying that a smart shopper can score some really great deals on Black Friday, it’s also important to understand that the point of Black Friday is to get customers in the store. Once you’re inside, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of shopping and make mistakes that can cost you money. These five tips will help you avoid some of the more common Black Friday shopping mistakes people tend to make.
Mistake #1 Accepting higher priced substitute. Stores can’t make money giving away $400 HDTV sets or $200 laptops which is why stores only carry limited quantities of these special deals. Once the “loss leaders” are gone, stores know that their customers will probably buy something else which really isn’t as good as a deal. If the loss leader item you wanted is gone, don’t make the mistake of buying a higher priced substitute.
Mistake #2 Purchasing a warranty. Many retailers have jumped on board the “warranty business” selling overpriced warranties as a hedge against damage. You might not know that most appliances and electronics already come with automatic 1 year warranties and even certain credit cards also offer breakage protection. You can save money on Black Friday by researching your warranty options before shopping.
Mistake #3 Ignoring layaway fees. Layaway is back in style as a great way to make payments on Christmas gifts interest free. There’s a catch, however, and the catch is that most stores charge a “set up” fee to process the layaway and a “restock fee” if you change your mind. If you decide to put a doorbuster on layaway, make sure that the fees do not exceed the discount or you’ll be losing money on this Black Friday deal.
Mistake #4 Forgetting about the little deals. Many Black Friday shoppers are so wrapped up in finding those incredible doorbuster deals that they often ignore the really good deals that may be going on at other stores. Standing in line for four hours to save $100 on a $200 digital camera isn’t a deal if it means missing out on $500 worth of family savings elsewhere.
Mistake #5 Ignoring the exchange policy. One peculiarity of a Black Friday sale is that you won’t be able to exchange one deal for another after the sale is over. For example, if you purchased a red luggage set at 75% off during a Black Friday sale, it can’t be exchanged for a black set the next day for the same 75% discount. The lesson to be learned here is that whatever you buy at a Black Friday sale, be sure it’s what you want since an exchange may lose you money.