Before Black Friday
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What to Do Now to Start Prepping for Black Friday
Halloween hasn't even passed and already retailers are setting their sights on the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday -- traditionally the single biggest shopping day of the year. Kohl's already has full Christmas decor up in stores and Toys R Us has mailed out its Great Big Toy Book to get little minds racing. For frugal consumers also looking to get an early start, we're kicking off our coverage of the best Black Friday deals, tips, and tricks with advice on what do before Black Friday in order to make the most of it.
Photo by sxc.hu/nosheep
Save Now.Okay, so there isn't a ton of time left, but you probably have a few more paychecks coming in before Black Friday. That means you can establish a budget now and stash a little cash away for the big day. Given the magnitude of some of the discounts, even as little as $30 per paycheck can go pretty far.
Make Your List and Check It Twice.Black Friday can easily turn into a cash-flow catastrophe. Seemingly everything in every store is on sale, tempting consumers to spend, spend, spend. Making a list before Black Friday can help you keep your spending under control. Start thinking now about who you need to buy for and what they might want. Then develop a sensible plan of attack as the Black Friday ads start rolling out during the next few weeks.
Sign Up for Alerts.Want to be among the first to get a glimpse of those coveted Black Friday ads? There's not much time to browse as the crowds descend, so sign up for mailing lists, like retailers on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter to see the deals in advance. With all those avenues of communication covered, you'll know what items to target long before Black Friday arrives. Another tip from the pros: Sign up for a Google Alert for the search query "Black Friday." Soon your inbox will be filling up with Black Friday ads and related coverage.
Shop Early.What was once confined to the Friday after Thanksgiving now spills into the whole month of November. That's right -- retailers offer some "Black Friday" deals way in advance. Amazon, for example, has already announced that it will release Black Friday deals and prices starting on Monday, Nov. 19. Watch for other retailers to jump on the bandwagon before Black Friday as well. Last year Walmart had a "Super Saturday" sale that featured Black Friday-like deals in early November.
Clip and Save.Here we're talking about competitors' ads. Even some retailers who don't match prices during the year put policies in place for the holiday season, which means you don't have to run around to so many different stores on Black Friday. Walmart and Target match print ads from competitors in the same market if the ad is current and features an identical product. At Walmart, you don't even need to present the ad at checkout.
The new thing this year is online price matching, with Target and Best Buy announcing plans to honor certain online competitors' prices ahead of the holidays. Check the fine print, though, and you'll find that both policies exclude Thanksgiving weekend.