Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the prime shopping days of the entire year, with each day catering to different kinds of shoppers. If you want to survive this year’s Black Friday and subsequent Cyber Monday without falling off the budget train, then this is article for you.
Black Friday vs Cyber Monday
Whether you're trying to cross holiday shopping off your list or you're just in the mood to buy new stuff, Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers opportunities for big discounts and sales. This time of the year is when both shopper and retailer can really score big. Knowing what and when to buy it will reward you with big savings from your gift-giving needs. But is one holiday better than the other? We try to map out the pros and cons of each.
Black Friday is no longer a one-day event as it has stretched over Thursday and Friday with sales and bargains scattered throughout the days. Earning its name because in the past it was the day when retailers started to earn the profit for the year. Accountants used red ink to write losses, and black ink for profits, hence, the “black”.
Pros: Black Friday offers serious savings on items like home goods. It offers the opportunity that the shopping experience does like seeing products in person before purchasing them. No shipping fees if you shop in-store. Black Friday sales are mostly unavailable online. Shop in person and take advantage of deals that Cyber Monday cannot to match.
Cons: Waking up before dawn isn't for everyone. Plus, there’s obviously the cold, crowds and chaos.
For those who'd rather shop from the convenience of their computer and let your fingers do the shopping, Cyber Monday offers a cosy alternative to waiting in line before dawn. So, if you don't want to wake up in the middle of the night to battle crowds and wait in long lines, check with your favourite stores to see if you can do it all from the comfort of your home.
Pros: It's way faster, and more convenient. Shop from anywhere, even at work. Cyber Monday sometimes mean more retailer-wide discounts, versus the product-specific ones at Black Friday. Serious discounts – if a retailer has products for Black Friday and didn’t sell, there could be a bigger discount on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is also a good time to purchase intangibles at discounted prices like cruise or airline tickets.
Cons: Majority of deals hit stores on Black Friday, meaning some of the best savings may have already been sold out by Monday. Online stores can be just a tab away on your internet browser. There’s always the con of online shopping wherein you won’t be able to see or touch the product you’re acquiring.
If you're into adventure and the thrill of the overcrowded market, Black Friday is right up your alley, but if you'd rather cook dinner rather than battle those crowds, Cyber Monday is more for you. Of course, you don't have to swipe your card on Friday or Monday to save. Retailers continue to offer price drops and mark-downs before and even after the two big days. Generally speaking, Monday is perfect to buy electronics, Saturday is the day for books, and Sunday for home appliances.
But if your still decide to brave through the storm, here are 14 tips to save you time, effort, and money for the 2-day combo.
1. Set goals, have a plan, and know what you need to do beforehand. Be clear on your purpose before you set-out on your shopping spree. Keep in mind what you wish to purchase, who you’re buying it for, and stick to it. Find out what time a store allows you to start to line-up. Bring food and beverage for the line. Hitting more than one store? Plan your route in advance to avoid going back and forth. Waiting in line is tiring enough.
2. Do your research. Accurately compare costs by studying the shopping prices online. Make sure to check for taxes, exchange rates and shipping costs before you pay. Look up a product’s ratings online. Knowing what you want to buy will allow you to stick to a budget. Follow your favourite retailers online and sign up for their newsletters for sweet deals. Don’t forget to download shopping apps.
3. Make a list, check it twice. Compose a list of exactly everything you plan to buy and for whom. It’s easy to get lost in all the flashy bargains you’ll see. Without a list, you may find yourself spending on all sorts of useless stuff because of the prices. Don’t blow all your money on impulse buys. If you plan to shop online, make a rough draft of the retail stores or sites you want to hit. Bookmark websites in advanced and set reminders for sales.
4. Create a budget. AND STICK TO IT. Define exactly how much you want to devote for each item. This is the next step after making a list. Without having precise numbers, you can find yourself going over-budget and spending more than you can afford. Remember that you don’t need to give EVERYONE a gift.
5. Bring cash, leave the card at home. Shopping with cash is a great way to limit your spending and avoid impulse purchases. You wouldn’t want to dig your own debt-grave. Remember that a great deal is only great unless it puts you in debt.
6. Coupons are a shopper’s best friend. If you’re shopping online, consider savings like discount gift cards and online coupons to slash-off costs even more. Go to the company’s website and start an online chat with a customer service representative. You can ask for updates on a product’s details, a coupon, a discount or get any questions answered.
7. Bring friends, form a team, split-up, and cover more ground. It’s fun to shop with friends. Gather your friends and divide the list. Assign one person to toys, another to cosmetics and another to electronics so everyone gets everything done on the list, quicker. Plus, having a friend or family along allows you to get a second opinion on an item you’re unsure of.
8. You can buy more than holiday gifts. Most people think of buying holiday presents during this time of year, but it’s also a great time to buy that S-5000 Griller you’ve always wanted. Stock-up on items you might be needing next year, or even buy a TV for your dad’s birthday.
9. Chill. Don’t stress too much. Thanksgiving dinner was stressful enough. Take deep breathes. Expect long lines and short tempers. Traffic may be terrible, and parking could be impossible. There will undoubtedly be rude people, don’t be one of them. If things are going a turn for the worst, stop and take a breather. Going crazy or getting in a fight isn’t worth 40% off.
10. Have Fun! If you've made it this far, it only means that you thrive on big discounts, waiting in line, haggling, and the thrill of a bargain. Take your time and savour the smell of writhing through crowds. Didn’t get that item you wanted? There’s always next year.
Bonus Tip: The secret to saving 100%? Don’t Shop
Here’s the deal, though you might be tempted and have the urge to spend on these bargainful days, the truth is that you don’t have to. Just as abstinence is the best method for contraception, not spending is the best way to save money. Most think that just because the items are on sale, one needs to take part. But if pockets are shallow and you don’t have the patience to deal with people, then stay at home and just enjoy your pumpkin-spice latte.