Lessons From Black Friday

Black Friday is now behind us. Love it or hate it, it’s a huge part of American culture. But one thing is certain, we can all learn a lot from the bargain hunting mentality that surrounds the day. By focusing in on getting deals and saving money, the lessons you learn from Black Friday can be used all year long.

First of all, you need to know that a deal, may not be a deal at all. Many retailers hang up a “bargain” sign  just so that they can rid themselves of their old stock. Others actually raise prices before heading into a sale so that the sale looks better than it really is.  The Wirecutter estimates that only about 0.6% of deals are actually any good at all.

So before you start shopping, you need to do some research. You need to figure out what a good deal really is. Go to the site CamelCamelCamel to research price trends. This is an excellent service that tracks the price of thousands of products. You can quickly see the lowest listed price of specific products over the last 12 months. If you know the lowest price, then you’ll know what bargain price really is.

Next, make a list. Try not to buy things on a whim. If you shop without a list, you may end up buying things you never use or end up with terrible deals.

Also, if you know you’re going to do most of your shopping at one place, start out by looking into buying a discounted gift card from sites like Raise or GiftCardGranny. The average discount on gift cards is about 10% to face value, so if you buy one of these cards you’ll already be ahead when you begin shopping.

If you’re going to head out to shop, make sure you’re armed with an app like ShopSavvy. This app allows you to scan a bar code in store and immediately see if there is a better price elsewhere.

If you stay at home and shop on-line, then open a separate window on your browser and load up PriceGrabber. Every time you think you find a good deal, drop the product into PriceGrabber to compare the price to those at other sites. They also have an app you can use while shopping in-store.

And if you insist on shopping without a list, make sure you start at a site like The Wirecutter and The Sweethome. They only post listings that they consider to be good deals. If you use these sites as a starting point for your shopping, you’ll know that you are only looking at good deals.

Also know that many of these price tracking sites allow you to upload or track product lists so you can be notified when a price drops. So don’t feel pressure to buy something right away. Better deals may come up in the near future.

And when you’re ready to check out your purchases on-line, make sure you have the Honey extension installed on your browser. It automatically looks for coupons that can lower your checkout price.

And even after you’ve checked out, you may still be able to save. Look at a service called Paribus. They track the prices of products you have purchased and will apply for rebates from specific vendors if if price drops below what you paid. According to feedback we’ve seen, the service works.

But one big warning about Paribus. The service works by looking for receipts in your emails. So you have to give them access to your email account. Only use Paribus if you have a dedicated email account just for transaction receipts. You DO NOT want to give them access to ALL of your emails!

So take charge of your shopping! Make sure you’re getting the best deals. There are a lot of tools out there that can help you. And the more you save, the more you have to invest for your future!

Happy shopping!

Team GoldBean


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