Every year, retailers boast Black Friday and Cyber Monday that often seem to good to pass up. Flash sales and midnight doorbusters have become an annual occurrence, and even though eager shoppers find themselves camping out in front of malls and department stores to get gadgets at low prices, the question remains: “Are these sales good or bad for budgets?” We spoke with some experts to get their take.
Glen Craig, of the FreeFromBroke.com, offered some perspective. “Black Friday/Cyber Monday can certainly go both ways for the consumer. On the one hand you can get great deals that you won’t find the rest of the year. On the other hand retailers want you to buy as much as you can and the temptation to get a great deal can really wreck your budget.”
Make Black Friday & Cyber Monday Work For Your Budget
To protect your bank account from the potential negative effects of these Thanksgiving sales, and still get the items on your list, keep the following tips in mind.
Take Advantage of Electronics Deals, But Beware of Luxury Items and Clothing.
Style coach Tiffiny E. Dixon agrees that the electronics deals are often worth the trip, but she advises staying away from the clothing deals. “Usually there is a catch somewhere in there for you. I recommend that my clients stick to the list and get the best quality pieces so they will last longer. For those looking to build a wardrobe, beware — its just another cardigan marked down $2.”
Do Your Research Beforehand.
“These days you can usually find out what Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are coming out,” Craig says. “Research what you want to buy so you don’t have to spend time trying to decide what to buy. This way you know you are getting the best value for your money.”
Beware of Flash Sites.
Karl Quist, President of Priceblink.com advises using a cautious eye when browsing flash sites. “Be careful of Flash Sale sites. Many of them now are offering luxury products at full price- with no discount at all. Others are only offering 25% off. Look for the deals that are 65-80% off on these sites.”
Don’t Forget About Drugstores.
Stephanie Nelson, founder of Couponmom.com says CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are worth your time, too. “They have unbelievable sales that week, and you can get all kinds of free things from medication to lotion to personal care items.”
Make a List.
Go the list route, Quist advises. “It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the crazy sales and deals this time of year and end up buying something you don’t really need. Make a list and stick to it- and know what the items should cost you…so you aren’t tempted to splurge on items you really don’t need.”
You Don’t Have to Spend.
Craig reminds everyone that you don’t have to spend. “We feel this big rush of satisfaction when we snag a deal but the truth is no deal is worth it if we’re already in debt or if we don’t really need the item. One way to eliminate all the stress of the weekend is to not take part.
And if that doesn’t work, consider paying with cash.