Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Insider Tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Repeat after me …. I will not fall victim to the holiday frazzle. I will not fall victim to the holiday frazzle ....

How so? Follow these tips to save time, money and sanity, while still checking off all the goodies on your children’s’ wish lists this Black Friday, November 25, 2011 and Cyber Monday, November 28, 2011:

Conquer Black Friday
Yes, you will have to wake up ridiculously early and deal with headache-inducing crowds. But to put it bluntly – deal with it! This is one of the most effective ways you’ll save money this holiday season.

The Friday after Thanksgiving offers the best bargains you’ll find all year with big box stores typically discounting at least 50% with some reaching 70% off or more. Keep your cool on Black Friday by doing the following:
  • Shop on Thursday instead of Friday. Believe it or not, many stores are offering their Black Friday sales beginning on Thanksgiving day. Just another example of Christmas creeping earlier and earlier into the year! After you prepare turkey dinner, clean up said turkey dinner, and take a tryptophan-induced snooze, you can head out to nab some bargains before the Friday crowds. We salute the Wonder Women who are brave enough to take on this challenge! We'd love to hear if the Thursday deals were any better than the Friday deals. 
  • Do your homework. Track down ahead of time which stores are offering each gift you need at the best price. Take the traditional route by scanning through newspaper ads, or make life simpler using online resources, such as Black Friday Ads and Black Friday Info. Both categorize all sales available by store, making comparison shopping super easy. They also have apps to help with organizing on the go.
  • Make a game plan. Once you’ve determined where you’ll be buying, lay out an itinerary for the day, even if you’re staying within a 5-mile radius. It sounds silly, but a little organization can really go a long way. Plan to hit up the stores that sell the most in-demand gifts you need first. Reserve items that aren’t likely to sell out for later in the day.
  • Bring a friend. A “divide and conquer” approach is the best way to save time. While you head to electronics, send your partner in crime to the toy aisle. Or if there’s a long line, have your pal jump in as soon as you get there. By the time you’ve collected your gifts, it’ll be time for checkout.
Avoid In-Store Shopping Altogether with Cyber Monday
For the most part, you know what your munchkins want. They’ve spelled it out for you in their Santa letters after all! Do you really need to see it in person to buy it? Nahhhh. So sit back, relax, and let your network connection do the work!
  • Become a subscriber to your kids’ favorite stores. In exchange for your email address, retailers will let you in on perks exclusively available to subscribers. Not only will you often hear about sales and new products before the general public, but you’ll also be privy to discounts available just to fans. Most online outlets also offer their subscribers free shipping, which usually can save about $10 or more and makes your purchase no different than buying in-store.
  • Take advantage of Cyber Monday. The Monday following Thanksgiving is the online version of Black Friday. Gobble up what was already sold out on Friday, or eliminate that outing altogether, shopping from the comfort of your own home. Just keep in mind that while Cyber Monday sales are great, they won’t score you the same huge discounts Black Friday will.
  • Always click on the sale link first. You never know. The item you’re looking for, or a very similar version, might already be discounted. Pair that with the 20% off promotional code you got by being a subscriber, and voila! You’re saving big bucks.
  • Become a member of flash sale sites targeted to kids. Flash sale sites are free to join and they provide you with heavily discounted designer clothes, toys and services that are only available for a flash—usually 24 to 48 hours. Set up your account to receive email alerts so you can quickly scan deals available each day. This year many are offering even steeper discounts in conjunction with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here’s a compilation of our favorites:
Now that you’ve read through Economoms’ insider tips, you’re well on your way to making your new holiday mantra come true (I will not fall victim to the holiday frazzle! I will not fall victim to the holiday frazzle!).

Do you have additional tips to share with our moms? Post them in the Comments section below.

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