10 rules of Black Friday shopping
Sure, anyone can snag a discount on Black Friday. But the real pros walk away with some amazing deals and stay within their budgets.
What are their secrets? Research and planning help them make the right choices, coupons sweeten their deals and technology helps them beat others to the purchases.
Few shoppers will score one those "doorbusters" that are stocked 10 to a store, but those who prepare can land most of the better bargains.
"A good game plan goes a long way," says Michael Brim, who runs BFAds.net, a Black Friday deals site.
This year, the competition for those bargains will be stiff. As many as 152 million people are planning to shop Black Friday weekend, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch, up from 138 million who said so last year. Of those, 74 million say they will definitely hit the stores, jockeying for a shot at a $79.99 HDTV, a $179.99 laptop computer or other deals.
The rest will be scouring the web trying to nab some of these deals without queuing up in the cold. Here is MSN Money's step-by-step guide to landing some of the best bargains, whether you're shopping from your computer or braving the crowds:
1. Make a list
This sounds obvious, but it's critical. There are a lot of hyped-up deals and promotions working to get you to buy more than you really need. If you don't come up with a gift list and identify what you think your friends and family really want, you'll buy more stuff to hedge your bets. And chances are, these impulse buys aren't what the people in your life really want.
2. Check ads online
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, leaked store advertisements have started landing on such sites as Slickdeals and Black Friday@ GottaDeal.com. Find the items you're looking for — or something similar — in those ads, and compare prices among retailers. Many offer buying guides or price comparison charts for product categories such as TVs, cameras or laptops.
3. Compare upcoming sale prices with current prices online
Don't assume that the best deals are to be had only in the big ads on Black Friday. Compare prices on sites such as Bing, PriceGrabber and Nextag to find the lowest prices for your products leading up to Black Friday, and check deal sites such as Dealnews for retailers offering early Black Friday pricing on select items.
Also, read online reviews of the sale items you're considering. If one-star reviews are what you find for that brand, consider paying a few extra bucks for something that will function better or last longer.
MSN.ca Money's editorial goal is to provide a forum for personal finance and investment ideas. Our articles, columns, message board posts and other features should not be construed as investment advice, nor does their appearance imply an endorsement by Microsoft of any specific security or trading strategy. An investor's best course of action must be based on individual circumstances.
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