Here’s a wonderful article about how to survive Black Friday from our very own Smart Women’s Coach, Michelle Hutchinson.

It seems retailers were pushing the holidays on us before Halloween.  I always find it interesting when I can buy a pumpkin and Holiday wrapping paper at the same time.  Annoying as it may be you can and should take advantage of the deals they’ll be pushing on you in the next few weeks.

As Black Friday looms there is a huge spike in on line shopping.

So before you start your on line shopping spree make sure you do your research to get the best deal. Schedule the time – it could save you lots of money!

Here are a few tips:

Don’t always assume you’re getting the best deal
Check other e-trailers (electronic retailers), do your research, and check sites like pricegrabber.com to find the best prices. Your 20% discount sounds great but it may be available at 40% somewhere else. It’s worth the time to research to save that extra money.

Make sure you’re going to use that discount
Watch out for the flash sales that offer discounts if you buy a coupon for merchandise by a specific date. Groupon and Living Social are great sites but make sure you’re going to actually redeem them to get the deal. 22% of these coupons are never redeemed.

It’s not the right size? Buy it anyway
This tip applies to retail or e-tail shopping. You’ve worked hard and finally got that great deal only to find that it’s not available in the right size or color. As long as they have a good return policy, buy the item. You can return it when they have the right one in stock and you’re still getting it at the great price.

Use social media to your advantage
Make a list of the stores where you’ll be doing your shopping and then “like” them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and yes….get on their mailing list. You’ll be notified of any specials they have going on.
Tip: If you don’t want to flood your personal email with these, then set up another free email account just to sign up for ads.

Watch for leaked sales information
Sites like blackfriday.com are known for leaking sales information. Sometimes that’s just the heads up you need.

Check out Smart phone apps
Tgi Black Friday, deal news and other apps give you updated sales information for major retailers.

Keep watching the deals
Even after you’ve made the purchase watch for the store ads. Most stores will give you a price adjustment up to two weeks later.

Now that you’re ready to make the purchase there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Is it really free shipping?
Some Websites offer free shipping but be sure to read the fine print. Some sites require that you spend a specific amount to receive the free shipping. It may be cheaper to pay for the shipping then try to spend more money to get the “free” shipping.

Visit free shipping.org to find stores that offer no cost shipping or shop stores that let you order on line and pick up the item in the store.

Also check those shipping dates. As it gets closer e-trailers run low on stock. Ensure you order in plenty of time.

What is their return policy
Before buying that item make sure there isn’t a return fee or re-stocking fee. Sometimes stores can add up to 25% of the items cost. Also it’s a good idea to find out how long you have to return the item. If you buy it now to save money will you be able to return it after Christmas?

Only shop on secured Websites
Before you enter any personal or credit card information on a Website always look for the security icon and make sure the Website’s address begins with https instead of http. The “s” stands for secure.

Avoid shopping in a WiFi hotspot
It may be tempting to shop while sitting at that coffee place but be aware that shopping on those public WiFi networks makes your information vulnerable and can be hacked.

Don’t order through live chats or email
Never enter your credit card information into a chat or email. It’s not protected and the information can be easily hacked and shared.

Paper or plastic?
By this I mean cash or credit. If you’ll be shopping on line then using a credit card is typically your only option. This is good because you are given that added security to your purchase. PayPal is a great option because the Website never sees your credit card information making it even more secure.

However, if you’ll be visiting the retail store considering shopping with cash. Studies show that people who go shopping with cash spend, on average, 20% less. And the return policy using cash is usually much easier. It means that if the gift recipient returns the item they will receive the cash and not a store credit.

Don’t forget the Small Businesses!
 Many in our Smart Women’s Coaching community are small business owners so I want to stress the importance of supporting your local small businesses. These businesses usually have more unique items then the chain stores making the gift even more special and you’re supporting a fellow business owner. It’s truly a win-win.

“For every $100 dollar spent at local small businesses, $68 returns to the community.”  Civic Economics

 

So get out there and shop, shop, shop but don’t forget to save, save, save while you’re at it!  We hope these tips have helped.  If you have any to add please feel free to post below.  We love to hear them!