Thanksgiving Day may be the favorite holiday of gourmets and gourmands, but the next day – Black Friday – is arguably the most anticipated day of the year for those who get their biggest thrills from major discounts and bargain-basement prices. Many Black Friday ads have already been “leaked,” and this year looks like it’s shaping up to be a bargain-hunter’s dream, with plenty of discounts on an array of products, from electronics and toys to clothing and housewares.
If you’re developing your own Black Friday plan of attack to help you score some amazing discounts, here are a few tips to help you find the best deals – and avoid some of the dangers when heading out on the busiest shopping day of the year:
- Sign up for Black Friday deal websites to receive notifications of specials and to see previews of most ads long before they appear in newspapers or on the retailers’ own websites.
- Sign up for emails from favorite retailers for notifications of special Black Friday discounts as well as coupons that can help you save even more.
- Look for apps – there are several – that help you find deals on-the-go as well as compare deals between retailers while you’re shopping.
- Do your homework ahead of time so you can focus on the best deals, especially if you’re buying an item like a TV, laptop or tablet where there are plenty of models to choose from.
- Keep your spending on one credit card to make it easier to stay in budget as well as helping you spot fraudulent activity. Or buy gift cards and use those instead of credit cards. You’ll have a set spending limit and you can avoid the risk of fraud entirely.
- Be careful when using online coupons, especially those that arrive via email from unknown email addresses. Fraudulent coupons may contain spyware that can infect your computer or they may be used to capture your account numbers or other personal information.
- Also be careful when using ATMs. Thieves use tiny devices placed inside or over the ATM slot to collect card numbers and pins so they can fabricate a duplicate card and ransack your bank account.
Whether you’re buying gifts for others or for yourself, a little time spent preparing can help you keep more of your hard-earned cash in your own pocket – and who knows? With some careful planning, you might even be able to avoid those dreaded post-holiday credit card bills when January rolls around.