For many people, their holiday shopping begins on Black Friday. Cyber Monday, which falls after the Thanksgiving weekend is a great way to order gifts online- especially if you do not like crowds. Many retailers will lure shoppers in on Cyber Monday with free shipping deals. UF IFAS Extension offers some great tips for keeping your personal information secure when shopping online, as well as advantages and disadvantages of using prepaid cards. Between Brown Thursday (businesses that are open for shopping on Thanksgiving Day), Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are a few tips to help cope with the phenomenon after-Thanksgiving shopping has become.
- Plan ahead—many retailers will have their ads out for the season well before Thanksgiving to allow for consumers to plan ahead and see who is offering which item at the best price. Planning ahead will help you have a fun experience.
- Set a budget—this is a vital step to any shopping! You have to decide how much total you plan to spend or you will have to eat bread and water all December and January! Seriously, set a budget and stick to it. Make your list and remember, if you said $20 each person, you really mean $20 limit for each person. There is some wiggle room with this if you find a great gift for one person on sale, the extra $5 or $10 could go to someone else’s gift.
- Check the ads—know what retail cost is before you fall into a trap. Retailers may taught a great television at only $150, however, what is the regular retail for that brand? Is it really a $175 television? The internet can be your friend with consumer reviews and the information is already out for the ads. Check out www.blackfriday.com for the deals and do some research ahead of time.
- Form a team—this sounds strange, I know. I have a group of friends that are a Black Friday Team. We get together and look at the ads. If I am interested in bed sheets that are on sale at one retailer and my friends wants some tools at a completely different retailer, we will divide and conquer. I will go to the tool store and she can pick up my sheets. We are able to both get what we want and essentially be in two places at once!
Holiday shopping can be leisurely and enjoyable. That is not shopping that is done on Black Friday. The shopping that is done on Black Friday is more like a sport. It’s fast-paced, very exciting and can also be rewarding. Follow the tips above and have fun shopping, oh yeah, and drink some coffee. It’s hard to get up at 3:00 in the morning and face the crowds without some coffee!
For more information on smart strategies for seasonal savings, read this factsheet. If you have a passion for smart shopping, consider coaching a 4-H Consumer Choices Team. This 4-H event helps prepare youth to make smart and informed shopping decisions. For more information about this and other 4-H money management programs, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http:/florida4h.org.