When you have a long list of holiday gifts to buy, it can really pay off to spend time looking for deals on those gifts. Every deal you find is more money you get to keep in your pocket or spend on someone else. However, finding the deals and knowing when to buy can take some of your time and attention. Start preparing now so you are ready to shop when the deals start rolling in.
From Black Friday to Cyber Monday
It used to be that Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, was the biggest shopping day of the holiday season. Stores offered huge sales to bring customers in the door and, for many stores, bring their calendar year sales from the red into the black. Online merchants have focused their attention in recent years on Cyber Monday, offering great deals the Monday after Thanksgiving.
In the last couple of years, though, stores have expanded their sale window to extend through much of the week surrounding Thanksgiving. Deals start popping up the day before Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving afternoon and evening, and during the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Therefore, you'll need to be on alert for the whole week to really get the best deals on your holiday purchases.
Strategies for Maximizing Your Savings
- List what you are looking for and how much you want to spend. You can look up the lowest prices for similar items last year so you know when you see a good deal this year. Keep an eye out for all the items on your list, and try to not get distracted by sale items you don't actually need.
- Pay attention to limited quantity deals in stores and have a backup plan in case they sell out. If you are really set on getting a deal, you will need to arrive extra early, perhaps forfeiting some of your family time on Thanksgiving. Consider how much your time is worth to you and whether the deal is really worth it.
- Know the store layout so you can get in and out quickly. If you plan to try for limited quantity deals at several stores, you will need to be efficient to make the most of your shopping opportunities. Visit your store ahead of time to find out where the items are located so you can find them quickly and check out before most people are done shopping.
- Shop online when possible to save both time and money. Driving to stores costs you time and gas money, whereas online retailers are easy to access from home and often have free shipping offers during the holiday season. Factor in these costs when making your holiday shopping plans.
- Know the best day to buy each type of item. In the past, laptops and computers, kitchenware, and data storage have had their lowest prices on Black Friday. However, you will probably be better off shopping on Thanksgiving Day if you want video games or a new smart phone. Cyber Monday is typically the best shopping day for clothing, and the weekend after Thanksgiving boasts great deals on large appliances and tools.
Through all of the holiday shopping frenzy, maintain a big-picture perspective on your spending. Yes, you might be able to get a great deal on an item, but if that item still costs far more than you were planning to spend on a gift for that recipient, you may be better off skipping the purchase. Sometimes a thoughtful or homemade gift is just as good, and far less expensive.