GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Are you a shopper who loves the rush of the doorbuster deal? Or do you want to do your holiday from the quiet of your home? Either way, Carrie Rocha of Pocket Your Dollars has some useful Black Friday tips for you.
Here is what's new-
Stores are opening earlier than ever for Black Friday, plus online sales starting earlier than ever.
Kohls.com is launching its online BF sales at 12:01 am on Wednesday.
Why? Retailers are expecting consumers to spend 4% more than we did last year for a total of $586 billion. Everyone wants a piece of that pie. With stores opening earlier than ever some malls, like MOA, are putting age restrictions in place. This weekend kids under 16 need to be accompanied by an adult that's at least 21 years of age.
Walmart has a first-of-its-kind availability guarantee. If you are in line between 10 and 11 pm on Thursday, then you are promised that 3 doorbusters will be available. If the store runs out, then they'll order one for you and have it shipped to the store before Christmas.
So how do shoppers sift through all the noise? Here is Carrie's advice: Start with what not to buy.
Toys- Typically the best prices on toys happen a little closer to Christmas. Think of BF sales like the loss leaders that happen weekly at the grocery store. You go into the store for the deep discounts, then on impulse or to finish your shopping you buy toys, too. It makes the stores happy
Name brand HD TVs- Lesser-known brands are on sale at rock bottom prices, but name brands will be on deeper discount in January and February.
Jewelry/watches- The holidays and Valentine's Day are the worst times of year to buy these things. Demand is up and prices stay up, too. Instead, buy these things in the summer when you'll see much better discounts.
Help on things you want to buy-
Use an app to help if you want to shop.
Dealnews also has a Black Friday app for Android and iPhone that allows you to browse deals by store or category, do some price comparing, and then save favorites and even login later from a PC and view your favorites deals on your computer, where it may be easier to make a purchase.
ShopSavvy remains the mother of all price comparing apps. It is available for iPhone or Android. You see something you want to buy, scan the barcode and take a look at who else sells it and how much it costs. You'll get prices from local bricks & mortar stores as well as online retailers. You can also look up products by keyword and name if you can't access a barcode.
Milo is a great companion to ShopSavvy in that it helps you find the product locally. If you spot the best deal at a local retailer, then use Milo for iPhone or Android to see if it's in stock before you make a special trip.
Here are Carrie's money-saving tips:
Stay home. Last year at least 70% of the advertised BF sales were matched or beat online and I'd expect that number to be even higher this year. Shopping at home, online, by yourself keeps you away from the hype of the moment and you're less likely to impulse shop.
If you plan to spend a bunch at Kohls or Kohls.com stop at any Cub Foods location and buy $100 worth of Kohls gift cards. You'll get a coupon at checkout good for $20 off a future grocery purchase at Cub.
Plasticjungle.com sells legitimate gift cards at discounted prices including ecodes. Before you buy something online, go ahead and check for a discounted e-gift card since the redemption code will be emailed to you and immediately available for redemption.
For more information on Black Friday shopping, head to Carrie's Pocket Your Dollars website.