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Best Ways to Prepare for Black Friday Deals in 2015

Author: Michael Harris

While it may seem like you just put the wreath and tree back in the attic, the holiday season once again looms around the corner. For most people, this means reconnecting with family, eating way too much and, of course, lots and lots of shopping. For hardcore shoppers, the entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is basically a swirling miasma of trips to the mall, scanning the sale ads and responding to alerts from favorite online retailers. However, one day on the calendar reigns supreme amid all this madness: Black Friday, the shopping mega-event that begins as soon as the Thanksgiving table is cleared.

As much as Black Friday seems like a required activity in American culture, many people intentionally avoid the madness, and it is hard to blame them. News reports surface every Black Friday of melees, stampedes and even violence. Frustrated shoppers rise at 4 a.m., fight the cold and the crowds, only to return home empty-handed because stores stock such limited quantities of the great deals they advertise.

For some shoppers, however, nothing short of an apocalypse can keep them at home on Black Friday. If you fall into this camp, follow these tips to prepare for Black Friday in 2015.

Do Not Take Ads at Face Value

Retailers are masters at making their Black Friday deals sound too good to be true. However, what your mother told you is accurate: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

For example, mall jewelry stores are known for the deep discounts they offer on Black Friday. It sounds like a no-brainer when you hear about diamond bracelets marked down by 40%, but here is where the subterfuge comes into play. Because demand is so seasonal in the jewelry business, with the holiday season by far the most popular time of year to purchase diamonds and gold, most jewelry is marked up substantially before these amazing discounts are applied.

Often, it is less expensive to purchase the same jewelry item in July or August, when prices are naturally low to reflect reduced demand, instead of waiting until Black Friday, even if it appears you are paying full retail.

Have a Plan

Driving around aimlessly from store to store, hoping to stumble upon the best Black Friday deals at each, is a guaranteed exercise in futility and frustration. The shoppers who have the most success on Black Friday are the ones who map out their day well in advance.

Prioritize the items on your shopping list. If buying your child the latest Apple product is your most important objective this year, put yourself in a position to procure this product at a Black Friday discount, even if it means neglecting items further down your list. Remember, most retailers offer big discounts the entire month of December, so it is not imperative to snag everything on your list on Black Friday.

Have a Backup Plan

Again, you might not be able to buy everything you intend to buy on Black Friday, particularly if you spend an inordinate amount of time securing a particularly high-demand product. This is okay. Before Black Friday rolls around, do some research and figure out which items on your list you can likely save just as much money on by waiting until Cyber Monday, the online shopping day that follows Black Friday, or by purchasing closer to Christmas.

For example, Cyber Monday often confers better prices on certain items, such as travel packages and high-end cameras, while other items, such as toys, get cheaper the further you get into December. Do not automatically assume that not purchasing something on Black Friday means overpaying for it.

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