The shopping season has come, and we are gearing up for the holidays. One thing’s for sure: Everybody likes a GREAT deal. From carefully scouring the sale fliers and e-mail ads, to getting most of your shopping done on Black Friday, it’s good to plan out where the ACTUAL shopping deals are.
First, every successful shopping season starts with a realistic budget, including who to buy for, how much you have or want to spend, and all the extras (like entertaining, cards, travel, etc.). A great way to plan so you have enough green to spend is to set up a special savings account, like a Tower You Name It Club account. What did you spend last year? Take this amount, more or less, divide by the number of paychecks you receive each year, and have the money transfer automatically to your Club account each pay period. It’s a great way to ensure that holiday money will be there when you need it the following year.
If you didn’t have time to plan ahead, there are still many ways to reign in everyday spending to save money for special gifts. Check out some money-saving ideas here.
So, is Black Friday your ONE chance to score great deals?
Black Friday used to be the premiere shopping day of the year, but now several hot shopping days are planned throughout the holiday season, along with the run-up to Thanksgiving. Each year, as digital shopping options grow, it can be confusing to know when and where to find the best deals, or even whether to do some or all of your shopping online.
Here’s what’s in store for Holiday 2018:
Thanksgiving Day: Major retailers – like Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy—have discovered many people get tired of eating and watching football on Turkey Day and will eagerly jump on pre-Black Friday deals. You can get some of the best prices of the season this day on electronic items like HDTVs, smartphones, and in-demand toys.
It’s best to do your homework by looking at sale fliers (you can get these online) to see what doorbusters will be on sale during any given hour. Plan accordingly, eat some apple pie, and then hit the road!
Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving): For some, this day is simply about tradition and the experience. Once you head out, plan to wait in a few lines, but after 10 a.m., the lines tend to thin out. Some of the best doorbuster deals may have gone to the early birds, but good deals still abound.
Some of the most popular items traditionally on sale for Black Friday include: TVs, smartphones, video game consoles, outerwear, shoes, boots, designer bags, and sweaters, pajamas and kids clothing. Some items, like toys, are best purchased closer to Christmas, when prices are anticipated to drop even lower.
Many retailers throw in a gift-with-purchase or free gift card when you buy a popular item—why not re-gift that to another person? These stores are famous for having the best deals on this epic shopping day: Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, Target and Kohl’s. And if you’re not keen about braving traffic and crowds, great deals can be found online, too, with Amazon leading the way.
Small Business Saturday (Saturday after Thanksgiving): Support your local small business merchants on this day. This holiday encourages you to find shopping incentives at local brick-and-mortar stores and small online shops. Check your local paper or social media for in-town events—like Sip and Strolls, Trunk Sales, One-Day Only Coupons—to support your community.
Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving): Even though online deals can be found throughout the shopping season, it’s still a good day to snag deals on video game consoles, laptops, TVs, and more. Cyber Monday is an especially good day to take advantage of airline specials and hotel reservations.
Giving Tuesday (day after Cyber Monday): You’ve spent enough on the other days—you might be feeling motivated to give back to your favorite charity or nonprofit. Watch for fundraising challenges and enjoy a breather from shopping.
Free Shipping Day (Mid-December): Many retailers will offer FREE Shipping on this day to entice you to splurge, and will guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. For a full list plus other discounts, go to FreeShippingDay.com.
Super Saturday (Saturday before Christmas): If you’ve put off shopping until the bitter end, don’t despair: retailers have invented this special sale day for YOU. Super Saturday is the biggest shopping holiday for last-minute shoppers. One-day sales and extended hours are sure to bring crowds to the malls and big box stores, so you won’t be lonely in your last minute quest for gifts. Save some time for celebrating the season with family and friends by having your gifts wrapped on the spot.
Finally, whatever day(s) you pick to shop, keep in mind a few tips:
- Some websites give you the early scoop on the sales, including bfads.net, bestblackfriday.com, and dealnews.com.
- Snag every discount possible by signing up for cash back websites, like Ebates and BeFrugal.
- Compare prices with the help of sites like Pricegrabber.com.
- Be loyal. Your favorite retailers may reward you with coupons and cash incentives on items you’ve purchased throughout the year.
- Keep your budget in mind and try not to bust it. Using Tower’s debit card will help keep you on track while offering cash back rewards at many retail establishments. And, if you wish to pay with a credit card, stay away from high-rate store cards and use Tower’s low-rate Gold Mastercard® credit card instead and enjoy 1% cash back!
Above all, have fun. Don’t let the craziness of the holidays stress you out—simplify and enjoy!
Resources: Money Talks News, US News, DealNews.com, NerdWallet, Investopedia, TheBalance.com