Heading into a ‘normal’ Thanksgiving weekend we would usually be consumed with food, family, fun (and shopping). Unfortunately this year, there is the added stress and sadness of a country (and world) overwhelmed by Covid-19. So, of course, shopping seems out of the realm of important. And, yet, it’s the little things. The daily routines. These are the things that help get us through hard times. So we are jumping in with Black Friday tips and shopping discounts to add a bit of levity.
There are a few things that are different this year. For instance, if you are planning to hit those Black Friday deals …start now. Because of the growing infection rates and the potential of shipping slowdowns, deals are going to come earlier this year. And you’ll also want to give yourself a couple of additional weeks to receive packages on time. Delivery slow downs will get worse as the days and weeks go one.
All of us tend to be blinded by discounts but we have the Black Friday tips and tricks that will allow you to make the right decisions, so see below for those ideas. And if you are looking to just get at it…well here are those deals!
Finally if you are looking for gift ideas…check out our Holiday Gift Guide. Happy Shopping!
How To Get the Most Out of Holiday Shopping: Black Friday Tips
Make that List and Check it Twice
List making seems obvious enough. But it’s rarely done! Because once those deals show up we often can’t stop ourselves from taking a ‘Supermarket Sweep’ approach to stocking up. So enter… the list. Because giving some early thought to what you need and who you want to shop for is the key to maximizing your budget. And it’s not just from making bad purchasing decisions but also to ensure you don’t forget Aunt Jean and Cousin Phil. And it doesn’t have to be overly detailed, it can be personal ‘parameters.’ We’d suggest adding the ‘who’ and budget guidelines per recipient. Rough ideas per recipient helps too (e.g., Grandma likes candles). It will give you a sense of where to be sensible and when to splurge.
Don’t Let the Stars Blind Savvy to Sensible Shopping Discounts
We have this strange and collective predisposition to blindly follow the % off signs. The bigger the number, the more we trust retailer economics. But the truth is savvy companies do the math on their inventory and often employ marketing savvy to line the numbers up. That is not to say that there is widespread chicanery. But alas a deal is not always a deal. So, here’s what you need to do. Search around and see what you’d buy if you had the chance. What is a ‘normal’ discount? What is the price range online?
Sometimes a brand sells an item at a slighter discount than a third-party reseller. For instance, we found a bag that was originally $128 discounted to $99 on the brand’s site and $36 on a wholesaler website (definition: anyone from Macy’s to Shopbop and Net-a-Porter is a third-party wholesaler). Also be sure it’s not an inferior product (e.g., some brands have low-cost sister versions). So doing a bit of advance research will go far to making you an expert Black Friday shopper.
Focus on ‘Basics’ to Maximize Budgets
One of the biggest challenges when faced with deep discounts is ‘bright shiny things’ syndrome. Everything 70% off looks like that thing you NEED now. And then a few weeks later you realize why it was on sale…chartreuse, for instance, can be an acquired taste. Which is the crux of it all… if you can find something in black at 50% off, it’s often a great deal. Because you can never go wrong with tried and true. It’s also the biggest bang for your buck during a sale. Because sale items by definition are often goods from a previous season. And more likely a style or color that seemed a good idea at the time but didn’t sell through. So it’s a rare and wonderful thing to find something ‘timeless’ that is still a great deal. So get hunting!
Grab Small Items to Build a ‘Gift Closet’
Here is where things start to get really fun. Once you’ve done the due diligence above you can go a bit rogue. And the way to do this is to build a ‘gift closet.’ If you have the room to store items then to keep a collection of delightful gifts makes future occasions a breeze. Give yourself a budget of, say, under $20 per item and a maximum you are willing to spend to have gifts on hand. Then stock up on universally pleasant gifts, such as candles or stationery. Just refer to tip #2 and try to find items that are neutral in color and (if candles…neutral in scent). The more lovely but generic, the longer these items can live in the gift closet.
It’s a Wrap: Don’t Forget the Season End Treasure Trove
Usually in the last days leading to Christmas or Hanukkah you start to see those 30-50% signs and, immediately after, it may even drop to 70-80%. And bet you’ve walked on by without batting an eye in the past? Well, no more. The look and feel of holiday cards, wrapping paper and associated sundries never really change. And it’s not the most exciting purchase, really. But you should stock up. It makes life so much easier in the year that follows. No more of the ‘do we have paper?’ questions. Or even that last-minute recognition that you forgot to give a card to your mail carrier or doorman. So, again, IF you have room. And IF you have left over budget, you can’t go wrong in stocking up on wrappings and associated items.
Even if we are talking Black Friday…don’t lose steam and forget this last opportunity a month later.
Finally, a good plan, even if it diverges from the above is the same of the game. Also, get started pronto. Fulfillment has already started to slow down nationally. And shipping will no doubt be at a snail’s pace. From early November brands and retailers are starting to role out incentives. So get started! Search for your favorites. Visit sites like FromAtoSHE and sign up for brand emails to get the best deals on the best products this year.
Happy Shopping! Stay Safe!