Money Mondays: The Myth of Black Friday

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  • Thanksgiving is right around the corner and for a lot of people that means family and turkey. But for others it means just one thing…shopping.

    Yes. Shoppers go CRAZY for Black Friday—seeking the uber-hyped deals the day after Thanksgiving—with some people even camping out overnight to be the first shoppers in the store the next day. This is NOT a productive way to spend Thanksgiving night. And as much as you might actually like a break from Cousin Irene, I’m here to tell you that Black Friday is an urban legend. It’s a complete myth. A lot of the sale merchandise has actually already been on sale for even less at another time in the year.

    If you’re making a big purchase, it’s important to do your homework if you really want the best price. When it comes to toys, the deepest discounts will be just before Christmas.  It’s the opposite if you’re after a particularly hot toy—in that case, your best bet is to buy it right this instant before supplies run lower, driving the price up. If you’re on the market for a new HDTV, the best prices are generally between December and February.

    Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t kill yourself thinking this is the only way you can find good prices. Best Buy and Target have Black Friday price matching programs in place, and Amazon.com is an online retailer who will also lower their prices to match a Black Friday deal.

    While it’s true that some retailers do offer the deepest discounts on popular items on Black Friday, the inventory is often low, so your odds of scoring are slim. These “doorbuster deals” are a ploy for retailers to get you in the store with hopes that you’ll purchase other items that may not be on sale.

    What about “Cyber Monday?”

    Online shopping has changed the entire landscape of retail. A lot of shoppers decide to bypass Black Friday in favor of Cyber Monday, when retailers offer online deals. While you might see some special offers online, it’s best not to wait for Cyber Monday. The most popular merchandise will likely have sold out by then. By all means, avoid the crowds and shop online—one study found that 70% of in-store Black Friday deals were also available online for the same price or even less—but don’t wait until Monday to do it. Online deals are pretty much a 24/7 business, with retailers offering all sorts of flash sales and special discounts all through the year.  In addition, the savvy shopper can subscribe to blogs and use apps to compare prices and get the very best deals. So maybe it’s best just to let yourself relax and digest Thanksgiving dinner this Black Friday.

     

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