Black Friday � the day after Thanksgiving that
traditionally signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season
because stores offer deep discounts that draw large, deal-hungry
crowds � is just a couple of weeks away. Are you
If you're a Black Friday pro who lines up outside stores every
year before the crack of dawn to nab bargains, you're probably
already planning your strategy � and we can help.
If you savor your sleep and sanity, you're probably not even
thinking about stepping in a store November 25. But keep in mind
that you don't have to brave the crowds to take advantage of Black
These Black Friday do's and don'ts will help you score the best
deals � whether you want to shop from home in your
pajamas or venture out to the stores (perhaps in something other
DON'T rely solely on leaked ads to plan your Black Friday
Plenty of Web sites specialize in publishing Black Friday ads
before they appear on retailers' Web sites or in newspapers. You
can use these leaked ads as a starting point for planning your
purchases, but realize that you're reading gossip, says Dan de
Grandpre, CEO of
, one of
our favorite deal sites
. Inevitably, some of the information in leaked ads is wrong, he
says. Most legitimate ads aren't published until the Sunday before
DO expect some Black Friday sales to start on
Many retailers will start offering discounts online on Thanksgiving
day. And some, such as Amazon, will offer Black Friday deals
several days before November 25 -- so hot items may sell out
the big shopping day after Thanksgiving.
DON'T assume the best deals are in the stores.
It's a tradition for a lot of people to get up at the crack of dawn
and camp out in front of stores to scoop up deals. But de Grandpre
says a lot of doorbusters (those deeply discounted items retailers
use to get consumers in the door early Friday) will be available
online, too -- especially on big-ticket products. And if an Apple
product is on your gift list, you'll probably find it for less
online (at Amazon.com, MacMall.com or McConnection.com) than at an
Apple store -- and you may escape sales tax on your purchase.
DO brave the crowds if you're trying to snag an extremely
. You have a better chance of getting the deal if you go to the
store � and are first in line. Keep in mind, though,
that items that are marked down dramatically are cheap items to
being with � not top-selling, name-brand products, de
DON'T do all your holiday shopping on Black
Consider the Friday after Thanksgiving as one of several days to
find deals. The best deals on apparel usually appear on Cyber
Monday (November 28 this year), when retailers discount items
online. Toys will be cheaper the first two weeks of December when
Walmart and Amazon go to war with each other to offer the lowest
prices and clear out inventory before Christmas, de Grandpre says.
And the best deals on name-brand TVs and luxury items can be found
in early December, too.
DO check return policies.
Some retailers tighten their policies around the holidays. Some
charge restocking fees if you bring an item back. And some won't
let you exchange items that were manufactured specifically for
Black Friday (to be sold at a low price). So be sure to ask each
store what its policy is, and hang on to your receipts.
DON'T spring for extended warranties on big-ticket
There's a good chance that a salesperson will try to talk you into
paying extra for an extended warranty if you purchase a big-ticket
item on Black Friday. That's because revenue from extended
warranties helps make up for lost profits on discounted items.
Typically, you'll pay 10% to 20% more for an item to extend a
one-year manufacturer's warranty through the fifth year of
ownership. But most major appliances do not break down within the
extended-warranty period. Plus, you might already be covered if you
use your credit card to purchase an item (see
What You Need to Know About Warranties
AND FINALLY � DON'T wait until the week before
Christmas to shop.
Retailers often raise prices because supplies are limited and they
know that last-minute shoppers will pay more to purchase all the
items on their gift lists.
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