This holiday season, it is important more than ever to read the fine print and make sure you are getting the deal you asked for. Many retailers have amazing “discounts” that are disguised as great deals, but are they actually? Upon further inspection, you will notice that most of these retailers have changed the price of items hundreds of times already this year. So, is Black Friday really all that it is cracked up to be?
Black Friday is a massive cash influx for businesses, even with shoppers being restricted from stores during the pandemic. Most of our shopping occurs online even still, which has prompted a relatively new marketing angle, “Cyber Monday.” Both are wildly successful for retailers, but what kind of true deals are you getting with your purchase? We’ve compiled a helpful holiday shopping guide to assist you in your deal search.
- Bring a calculator.
In bold letters and displayed as a banner on nearly every item, you will see a “discount.” But be skeptical in your approach. Some of these supposed heavily discounted items have most likely already changed price hundreds of times this year. If the TV was originally $500 in March but is labeled as 15% and is now $600, you are really overpaying by $10. This is why it is crucial to bring a calculator with you to crunch numbers.
- Research best times of year to buy specific items.
This one is no secret but seems to be forgotten when you are full of tryptophan and surrounded by loved ones. It can be all too tempting to wait to buy certain items that are actually much cheaper throughout various times of the year. For example, fitness equipment and cruises are the cheapest in January. Wedding dresses are most affordable in December as retailers make room for next year’s items.
- Start shopping now.
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be packed with deals, consider that these items may sell out. Popular items, such as gaming consoles, will be hard to find, especially on those two notorious shopping days. Another thing to consider this year is arrival time. Will the packages make it to your doorstep by Christmas? Recently, news has circulated everywhere recommending early shopping due to, “clogged ports, a stressed trucking industry, labor shortages, higher demand, and higher shipping costs.”
- Use technology to your advantage.
Shopping smart comes with watching competitors’ price adjustments to locate the best deal and leveraging any additional savings. The best way to keep up with this type of information fits in the palm of your hand. Technology is everywhere and is only intensifying its necessary use. Websites and apps are available that already filter through rival prices and track it daily without requiring users to even interact. ShopSavvy, Shopzilla, and PriceGrabber are very popular to help sift through the mess for the best deals.
- Create a budget.
Once you start shopping, it will be hard to track, let alone adhere to, any budget. Making your budget beforehand is a decision you will thank yourself for later. Start by making a list of your gift recipients and allocate an amount that will work with what you can truly afford. Stores, both online and off, have literally made their living off you either entering their doors or surfing their website from your couch. It is quite common that a shopper will prepare for a specific doorbuster only to have the item sell out before they ever lay hands on it. This prompts consumers do what they do best and purchase something alternatively while visiting a retailer or their site.
Be cautious of disguised deals and your budget this holiday season. Keep up with pricing and double-check your coupons and respective store policies. If you are looking to get your gifts on time, start shopping now. Don’t forget, Futurelink is always happy to help you or your little ones navigate the growing world of technology around us. We offer courses for adults, tutoring, and afterschool programs to bring your or your child’s skills into the 21-st century. Give the gift of knowledge to those you love this year!