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Phoenix Forward

7 tips for getting Black Friday deals

Black Friday deals

If you think waiting outside for hours in the cold to beat hundreds of other people to the best deals sounds like a good time, then you’re probably excited for Black Friday. The busiest retail day of the year does bring amazing deals, but evaluating them takes a bit of preparation. Here are seven tips on how to seek out the best Black Friday deals:

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Plan ahead.

When it comes to finding deals, it’s best to prepare, says Melodi Guilbault, an independent market research consultant and marketing instructor in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix School of Business.

She recommends making a list of whom you are buying for and what you want to buy. “Having a list of items that you want prevents you buying things that seem like a good deal,” she says.

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Comparison shop.

Another part of preparing is paying attention to how much an item costs throughout the year. “Oftentimes when you see an item on Black Friday, you might think it’s the cheapest, but that may not be the case. Knowing the price history of the product will help you get the best deal,” Guilbault says.

Most companies have a preview of their Black Friday sales in a circular or online, so do side-by-side comparisons to find the lowest prices on the items on your list.

“You can even find blogs that do the comparisons for you,” Guilbault adds. Websites to check out include blackfriday.com and dealnews.com.

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Sign up for information.

Guilbault suggests signing up for stores’ email lists since many retailers, including Best Buy and Walmart, send out emails about Black Friday sales.

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Look for coupons.

Keep your eyes peeled for coupons, both in circulars and on deal websites, such as bfads.net, which specializes in Black Friday bargains. Check store websites as well.

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Use a QR code app.

If you’re a smartphone owner, consider downloading a QR code reader app, like Quick Scan or ShopSavvy, that offers descriptions of product features. When shopping, you can scan the bar code of the item you want to buy and “see if another store has a cheaper deal on the same thing,” Guilbault explains.

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Watch for bait and switch tactics.

This is a form of fraud in which consumers are “baited” into a store with an advertisement of a great deal and then “switched” to a costlier product when they learn the item advertised is unavailable.

“True bait and switch is illegal,” Guilbault informs, but you should still be on the lookout for stores that advertize products with small numbers in stock, since advertisements must say limited quantity if there’s a chance the item will be sold out.

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Investigate return and warranty policies.

“There may be stricter return policies and limited warranties because of Black Friday,” Guilbault cautions. Sometimes Black Friday sales are final sales, meaning the item can’t be returned, and sometimes items have a shortened return or exchange policy or one in which you can only get store credit rather than a refund.

Additionally, “the models offered during Black Friday may be special models, and standard warranties may be altered so the term is shorter or the repair provisions are different,” Guilbault says.

Pay attention and ask sales associates about return policies and warranties, especially when it comes to electronics. If an item is cheaper but has a limited warranty, it may not be that great of a deal.

Interested in furthering your education?