A few years back, deal-seeking Canadians rejoiced when Black Friday made its way north of the U.S. border in all of its discount-filled glory. Who wouldn’t want to score electronics, holiday gifts and even vacations for a fraction of a cost?
Like anything else, however, not all Black Friday deals are created equal – and if you’re not smart about it, you may end up actually wasting your precious pennies.
The most strategic thing you can do before putting on your Back Friday game face and fighting your way through the crowds is to plan ahead.
“The biggest mistake that shoppers make is that they don’t make a plan,” says Rubina Ahmed-Haq, a Toronto-based personal finance expert. “With Black Friday shopping – like Boxing Day shopping – the retailers are out in full force trying to entice you to buy more than you want to. I think we go with good intentions; you have a specific item in mind that may be deeply discounted, but you don’t prepare for the fact that there’s going to be seven other different things you see that you’re going to want.”
Ahmed-Haq advises to make a list of things you want to buy and to be mindful of your spending.
“There’s nothing wrong with coming across an unexpected sale item, but if you just kind of go without a game plan, you’ll probably buy way more than you expected because you won’t have anything guiding you, like a shopping list or list of must-haves.”
So, what makes the most sense to drop dollars on during Black Friday? In short, anything you actually (gasp) need.
“I always say to people that it’s not a deal unless you need it. So, even if you could buy 10 shirts for $10, but if you don’t need 10 shirts, you’re wasting $10,” says Ahmed-Haq.
“There’s not necessarily a specific thing that makes the most sense to buy; some people may say electronics, maybe you want to buy Christmas décor. I have already seen that a lot of the Christmas stuff is really discounted for Black Friday, so if you want to get your house set up for the holidays, that makes sense,” says Ahmed-Haq. “It all comes down to you planning ahead to get things you actually need and that are actually going to help you.”
In an attempt to be as savvy as a (cash-strapped) Black Friday shopper as possible, I dug a little deeper into the anticipated sales.
What Makes the Most Sense to Buy on Black Friday:
If you’re in need of new home items – whether it’s that big screen TV you’ve been eying, a gaming console you can’t stop thinking about, or a shiny new kitchen appliance, take full advantage of the Black Friday sales (if you can afford to).
In terms of electronics, quality brands like LG and Samsung always have deals worth denting the credit card for. Smart home items are also hot items thanks to their hot deals.
According to a survey by BlackFriday.com, 30 per cent of shoppers said they hoped to purchase smartphone gadgets on Black Friday.
Similarly, large, pricey home appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators and stoves make sound Black Friday purchases, according to the experts. In fact, such items are commonly marked down at least 40 per cent. – something that can make a major difference on the wallet. Another smart – but often overlooked – Black Friday strategy involves buying discounted vacation packages. For example, Sunwing is offering up to 35 per cent off vacation packages across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and Florida.
What Doesn’t Make (As Much) Sense to Buy on Black Friday:
If you’re in the market for outdoor furniture or accessories, you may want to wait until the end-of-summer sales roll around next year, when it’s all discounted more than you’ll likely find on Black Friday.
Similarly, if you’re looking to slip into some sexy new lingerie, the best time to buy pretty bras and undies is post-Christmas when the Boxing Day sales start.
In fact, the same can be said for most clothing items; there’s nothing too special about Black Friday clothing deals (especially when you consider the high probability of impulse purchases), as most retailers offer sales throughout the year (accompanied by a less hectic shopping experience than that offered on Black Friday.
Similarly, if you’re searching for new bedding, you should probably wait until January. The lowest prices for bedding and linen typically happen in early in the New Year. Finally, while smart home items make sense to score on Boxing Day, the same can’t be said for smartphones, unless you’re okay with getting an older model.
In general, just be weary of wearing “sales goggles” when Black Friday shopping (yes, I just made that term up).
“That is my number one piece of advice: just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it, want it or should have it,” says Ahmed-Haq.
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