The news is full of hype about this year’s phenomenal Black Friday sales, but after some preliminary surfing at my favorite stores, I’ve decided the sales are lame, at least for what I want. Which, come to think of it, isn't much, since I spent most of the last few years buying anything I could think of that might come in handy this decade.
Some might call that overspending. Now that I'm broke, I’m going to call it foresight. If you have money to spend this season, and if you haven’t spent the last few years scouring the Internet for bargains, I have a few tips that could keep some extra moola in your pocket this year. (Well, not really, since we all know that to get bargains, you have to spend money, and if you find too many bargains, you can obliterate your savings, which I did years ago.) We also all know that you can save way more by making do, delaying purchases, trolling thrift shops, giving love instead of gifts, etc., etc.
OK, you already knew all that and you're shopping anyway. In that case: Shop online. Really.
I know, gas is cheap now, but there are other reasons. How many times have you actually gone to a store where they had the sale item you wanted? Your odds are much better online. You can also find your size without hunting through racks and shelves. Also, you are unlikely to run into unpleasant sales people, which I seem to do. What about getting to the cashier and realizing that you left your coupon at home? Getting hungry in traffic and stop for a $40 lunch? Getting into a fender-bender in a crowded parking lot? All of which I've done.
Read Reviews. I’ve spent hundreds of bucks on stuff that is crap and have been too lazy to return it. Save yourself the experience by reading reviews. You can find plenty on Amazon.com or by typing “review” and your product name or “best stroller” etc. into Google.
Find the lowest price. Amazon is not generally your low-price source, though they can be if you buy a lot and pay for Amazon Prime, their shipping service that costs $79 a year. With it, you get two-day shipping on many, many items for a year. A better place to find low prices is dealnews.com, which is great place to go if you don’t have a particular item in mind. Or try dealtime.com, where you can plug in your product’s name and see comparison prices from a million stores. If you’re planning ahead, try Price Protectr (yes, it’s really spelled that way), which allows you to track changing prices of items you want to buy, and offers price protection on some items after you buy (more on that later).